Data standards and plumbing

Photo by Ben Williams via Flickr.

Photo by Ben Williams via Flickr.

The Canadian government is running an online consultation on its open government plan. We’ve submitted a proposal: to implement a new open data standard for federal grants and contributions.

Data standards are like plumbing: they’re not the most exciting thing to talk about, but when they're working properly it makes all the difference.

There are plenty of simple questions — for example, how much federal funding goes to youth programs in Toronto? — that are very difficult to answer right now. The information needed to do so is scattered across a dozen locations in many different formats.

With a common data standard, answering questions about the social sector becomes easier. Stakeholders and researchers would have a rich data source that gives them a much clearer picture of how resources are distributed across Canada.

If you think this is a worthwhile idea, why not comment on the proposal here? Anyone can read the proposals and provide their input online — but only until Sunday!