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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Go Gophers! Minnesota Joins the Pull for Open Data Formats

I suppose I should be embarassed when someone based halfway around the world brings me news in my own backyard, but thanks anyhow Simon! Glad to see that my own state has joined the fray on open formats. I'm no lawyer, but I like the sound of the proposed amendments. Need to follow up with the state CIO to see if there is a citizens council or something... ;-)


At 9:34 AM, Blogger Robert McIlree said...

Uh oh. A good idea, but this becomes problematic in a number of contexts, much like the various data and identity protection laws state are implementing to combat identity theft.

The two key problems are: ambiguity, although the proposed MN law looks to be quite specific on first reading; and what specific standard is to be adopted? And would all states utilize identical standards?

States trade data between themselves (tax, motor vehicle, etc.) and the federal government all the time? Which standard(s) would apply and what to do if State A uses a different standard than State B?

Governmental mandates like this are proposed for good reasons. However, implementing them successfully is another matter entirely. Thanks for the heads up on this.


At 7:04 AM, Blogger scott said...

Bob -

You're definitely right that it's easy to sit on high and propose something like this, yet another to implement it. I haven't worked in govt, but I imagine the interop issue is way more headache that in the business world due to funding, slower pace, etc. This does have a little ivory tower smell to it.

But I do like the fact that they did not mention specific formats, but rather values such as publicly available and human readable specs, royalty free implementation and extension in perpetuity, and no restrictions on creation of software to read and create the format. They have at least proposed some built-in litmus tests. And I certainly appreciate the values they are expressing in those statements.

Will be interesting to see where this goes - thanks for your thoughts!



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