February 23, 2010 - At a time when President Barack Obama has declared that he is committed to creating "an unprecedented level of openness" in government and political candidates at all levels rush to place themselves on the side of "transparency," what is open government? What are the tools and new perspectives needed to bring it about? Open Government: Collaboration, Transparency and Participation in Practice, edited by Daniel Lathrop and Laurel Ruma (O'Reilly Media, 2010) addresses more than 30 critical issues related to bringing government into the Web 2.0 world and giving government back to the public. Berkeley, California’s MAPLight.org and its unique contribution to the Open Government revolution in political transparency are featured in the book, presented in detail by its executive director, Daniel Newman. In 2009, MAPLight.org made news nationwide when it took California state government to court and won access to state government data, setting a trend across the country to fight for and win public access to data and records. Using a case history approach, Newman discusses
- MAPLight.org's founding;
- the development of its landmark transparency mashup that puts together three data sets on campaign money, votes and special interest positions on bills;
- barriers to transparency and the need to move onward to change the system.
The chapter written by Daniel Newman can be read at 'Open Government': Case Study - MAPLight.org (8.8MB) Newman may be reached for comments at MAPLight.org at 510-868-0894 and through Communications Director Michele Horaney at 510-868-0894 and at firstname.lastname@example.org