The launch video features Lindsay Tanner, Minister for Finance and Deregulation and chair Dr Nicholas Gruen in an enthusiastic presentation, outlining two key themes the government is keen for the taskforce to pursue.
- Transparency and Openess. Using technology “to maximise the extent to which government information, data, and material can be put out into the public domain that we can be as accountable as possible, as transparent as possible and that this data is available for use in the general community.”
- Community Engagement. Improving “the ways in which we engage with people in the wider community; in consultation, in discussion, in dialogue, about regulation, about government decisions, about policy generally.”
Examples of early government innovation include:
- The Australian Bureau of Statistics which has gone from selling its data behind a closed model to now releasing the bulk of its content under a creative commons licence. This means that provided ABS is acknowledged as the source of the data then people are free to re-use, build upon and distribute that data, even commercially.
- The ABC has initiated its pool project with a range of community based things going on again under creative commons licence.
- The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney was the first Museum in the world to release a range of photographs on Flickr. The Powerhouse has also been innovative in its use of semantic web technology to auto-tag its collection database.
On 1 September 2009 the taskforce announced that it was Open for business commissioning six projects and inviting interested parties (individuals or companies) to submit quotes to be received by 9 September 2009.
Early leadership in Semantic Web
Of particular interest is the Early leadership in Semantic Web project. The project deliverable is to be a report which includes:
- a guide for use by Australian Government agencies that will assist them with proper semantic tagging of datasets;
- identified Australian Government datasets that could benefit from proper semantic tagging;
- and a case study on the process and any issues from of applying proper semantic tagging to an indentified agency dataset.
Both this and the fact that government departments such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics are moving to release data under a creative commons license is another encouraging sign that an open web of linked data is in the process of evolving.