Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gov2.0 and Open-Source - a response

Cross-posted from and lessons from the open-source world at the Gov2.0 Taskforce blog.

My biggest worry is that the government's response to this initiative will be the announcement of some $multi-million grand-gesture. Big press-conference; Minister announcing the 'grand vision'; and the possible benefits we could see, lost in the maze that is large-scale government procurement.

The key insight of CatB is the extent to which redundancy is a benefit in exploratory development.

For the moment, we have no idea of the correct model for Gov2.0 - we have some understanding of what has worked outside of government, and a few promising avenues of approach, but no actual answers.

So I think we want to recommend that different Agencies experiment with different approaches and that the OIC be tasked with:

  1. Examining the success/failure of the different attempts, and eventually start to help agencies improve the success rate.
  2. Ensuring that the legal and regulatory requirements for aggregation and interoperability of/between these different services is standardised, as these are the issues that will derail bazaar development.
  3. Acting as a central clearing house where agencies/organisations/individuals can choose to self-publish interface descriptions, custom schema, metadata element schemes, vocabularies etc
  4. Providing a collaboration and mediation service to allow the reconciliation of conflicting interface/schema/scheme/vocab's.

The result would hopefully be a myriad of exploratory projects, some of which would fail, most of which would be ho-hum, but many of which would succeed.

The OIC would act as an institutional memory, learning and recording the lessons learnt; an institutional coordinator, making sure that people wanting to aggregate/integrate the different data-sources aren't forbidden from doing so; and an institutional mediator, assisting the different projects in finding and working together when they would like to.

Please post any comments to the gov2.0 site listed above, not here