Archive for September, 2011

It’s Right to Know Week

On September - 28 - 2011

This week is Right to Know Week. Recognized across Canada since 2006, Right to Know Week is a way to raise awareness of people’s right to access public information held by governments and other public bodies. It’s in this spirit that the Ministry of Labour, Citizens’ Services and Open Government would like to encourage you to exercise your right to know.

Over the past years, the province has made significant progress towards being more open with the information people have a right to access. More information and data is available, and it’s easier to find. The shift has begun as B.C. strives to be more open with the information it collects and proactive in releasing information people have a right to see.

With the launch of DataBC, British Columbia became the first province in Canada with an open data website that allows people to use the data. On the website, you can find nearly 2,500 datasets that were previously spread out all over government, making them hard to find. We’re always looking for new data to make available, and in fact, we’ve added about 50 new entries since launching the website in July.

As well, the Province has begun posting information requested through Freedom of Information (FOI) online on the new Open Information website. The website is fully searchable and updated regularly, as frequently as daily, as new FOI requests are released.  It’s on this website where you can also find Ministers’ and Deputy Ministers’ monthly travel expenses.

In the spirit of Right to Know Week, we encourage you click around and find out just how much of the information you may be looking for is currently available. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, contact us or leave a comment and please let us know. The important thing is to exercise your right to know, become more informed, engaged and help make government better able to serve you.

In the spirit of Right to Know Week, it is equally important that individuals take the opportunity to use the information and data; generate new ideas, spark discussions and find uses that create value for citizens and enhance the quality of life in our province.

Learn more:

Read the Province’s new Open Information and Open Data Policy.

Learn more about British Columbia’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The DataBC Beta and You

On September - 12 - 2011

 

It’s been more than a month and DataBC is still in ‘beta’ mode – why?

 

In the development world, ‘beta’ is a type of testing done using everyday conditions that helps refine a product. A beta release creates an opportunity for the eventual users to collaborate  and make something better. Interestingly, some software is kept in perpetual beta; new features and functionality are continually added without ever reaching a final release.

 

Here at DataBC, we like the sound of perpetual beta. We’re open to tweaks, enhancements, improvements, revisions to improve your experience. A better end result comes when more people contribute. We just don’t foresee a day when we’d say, “That’s it, the site is done!” The evolving needs of users and the dynamic nature of data means that there will always be room for improvements.

 

The important thing is that it centres on you – your input, feedback and requests for data help drive the changes and shape what DataBC becomes. Your feedback so far makes us think that we’ve made a good start, but we need your help in realizing its fullest potential.

 

Over the next few weeks we’ll be talking about  the Open Government License, B.C.’s open data policy, and what they mean as the Provinces matures it open data practices. As we launch into that, we thought this would be a good time to ask, “What’s on your mind?” We’re open to discussion, dialogue, chat, debate, review, analysis… anything to help us get better.

 

Meet you in the comments…