Open Data: the budget of the Municipality of Faenza

Although leopard-colored, the op-ed mode of openness dates to the boot.

Far from being a widespread practice in government – whose issue will return with thoughts targeted – qualcheduna of variations of open data is also becoming a requirement of some local authorities, by virtue of that triad ” Transparency, evaluation and merit” that the Italian legislature has laid down the general principles to be informed of the administrative activity.

And along with transparency, another figure in e-Gov is participation. One of the nonsense points of municipal administrative action is that of the budget. Investments, spending cuts, family income support, education, expenditure on goods and services, public transport, state and / or regional funding, purchasing power of wages and so on are key elements to facilitate a comparison between Administration and citizen, especially with respect to the constraints of the Stability Pact

On the budget, the Municipality of Faenza has raised the open date challenge by publishing on the institutional site a first set of data:

We got the challenge and started off by publishing open comments and tables about the last two approved budgets, the 2011 forecast and the 2010 statement – Claudia Zivieri’s Budget Appraiser, states – aware that we can improve a lot because we are moving our first steps in an innovative context like Open Data, but determined to invest because we are convinced that today’s free access to and re-use of data is a necessary step for the renewal of institutions in the direction of openness, transparency and participation .

Publication of text data is online on a web page, while the number data is on exported spreadsheets in csv format. The license to use is just that IODLv1.0.

It is possible to view the Summary Scoreboard divided by Titles, Revenues, Expenditure, Investments, and Financial Economic Indicators, with an appreciable level of granularity.

The open question is on the CSV format and the dual format of data publishing.

As other times pointed out , la category of non-technically experienced but interested citizens randomly lists users who have no interest in downloading a csv containing hundreds or thousands of data listed: they just search through the data set to see if a data for them whether they are relevant or not, or they want to sort the set based on a certain indicator (frequency of participants, subscribers, insured persons, visitors etc). The needs of this group are more fulfilled when data is made available online in a consistent order, or downloadable but in an interactive format that allows searching, filtering, and viewing data. Downloading a mass of data in CSV is a useless access barrier for a significant percentage of citizens.

The advantages of choosing a suitable format are visible not only to the consumer, to any category he belongs, but also to the publisher of the data. There are a large number of devices, machines, programs and websites through which people can directly and indirectly consume and use government data. The more governments make it easier to connect, incorporate, share and socialize their data in these devices, machines, programs, and websites, and more generally people will have access to data – perhaps without even knowing it. CSV publishing reduces the likelihood that data will be discovered or shared; that people discuss, collaborate, or reusable your data or that people create views – tables, charts, and maps once the CSV has been downloaded, What happen? Nobody knows. Would not it be interesting for the publishers to know who, how and where are their data used?This is the missing link for civic engagement! Of course, you can see the number of pages viewed and count the number of downloads, but that’s all you know. It is not possible to measure any of the indirect activities. How many times have the data twitched? How many times have you been discussing on Facebook? How many times have data been added on all kinds of websites and blogs on the Internet? How many applications are they incorporating?

Not to mention cost savings. There are real costs associated with sharing public data. Two of the direct costs are the cost of storage and bandwidth cost to provide data. When an agency publishes a CSV, it supports the transmission cost to deliver the entire file to anyone downloading it, even after downloading and finding the required value, then throwing away the file. By allowing consumers to access data selectively, only records they want will reduce the amount of data transferred, reducing bandwidth costs. How can people be allowed to selectively select registers? API activation enables applications, widgets, and controls, providing data streams in small  chunks or in response to explicit search requests or filters.

Public data must be online, interactive, integrable, and linkable.

Linked Data missing.

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