But even for expert researchers, journalists, and government transparency groups, tracing a bill’s lineage isn’t easy—especially at the state level. Last year alone, there were 70,000 state bills introduced in 50 states. It would take one person five weeks to even read them all. Groups that do track state legislation usually focus narrowly on a single topic, such as abortion, or perhaps a single lobby groups.
When it comes to building the infrastructure of open data – putting in place the pieces of technology that users will leverage to find and use government open data – very little thought seems to be given to what users – data consumers – want or need.
The answer – and it’s not a new concept – is filter bubbles. As we spend more of our online lives on social networks where we’ve chosen the people we follow or friend, there’s a risk that our belief of what “everyone” thinks will be disproved when the real-world everyone goes to the polling stations.
"The goal is that if you have a dream, if you have a vision for building and investing in Boston, that this becomes a tool that helps you realize that, rather than an obstacle that you have to get through," he said. "The goal of this was to help streamline that process to help all of those people with tools that make it easy to do business with the city and frankly, our goal is to make it as easy to do business with the city of Boston as it is to do business with the best private companies online."
The city of Long Beach, Calif., is about to launch a set of municipal projects for which it is requiring that few -- if any -- technical specifications or prerequisites for bidders be included in advance.
Instead the city is opting to pursue a new “problem-based” approach to procurement, which asks both city managers and potential vendors to shift their focus away from products and technologies the city needs to buy and instead focus first on the problem it needs to solve.