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Evaluating Data Standards

Data standards provide publishers with a framework or structure in which they can share information.  For open government data, fostering data standards is crucial to helping to widen its availability and use.  Discovering these standards can be a challenge; there is not yet a comprehensive and widely known list. To overcome this, we plan to expand our civic data standards list into a full-blown library. Our goal, at least for the first pass, is to elevate awareness of data standards that governments should be using to exchange data with the public. In the case where multiple standards exist, for example GTFS realtime and SIRI, we’d like to help potential data publishers and consumers decide which is the best option to leverage.

To take these next steps, we’ll need to research and collect information about each standard, using a combination of observation and outreach. Our next step in this effort is deciding what information to collect about each standard (metadata!). Since we want this library to be helpful to both publishers and consumers, it’s important we learn what information is valuable. What details would you want to know about a data standard?  If you’re trying to decide how to publish data, what factors might influence your decision about which standard to use?

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