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!

Bernard Rudny