Open Government
Collaboration, Transparency, and Participation in Practice
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: February 2010
Pages: 432

In a world where web services can make real-time data accessible to anyone, how can the government leverage this openness to improve its operations and increase citizen participation and awareness? Through a collection of essays and case studies, leading visionaries and practitioners both inside and outside of government share their ideas on how to achieve and direct this emerging world of online collaboration, transparency, and participation.

Contributions and topics include:

  • Beth Simone Noveck, U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer for open government, "The Single Point of Failure"
  • Jerry Brito, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, "All Your Data Are Belong to Us: Liberating Government Data"
  • Aaron Swartz, cofounder of,, and, "When Is Transparency Useful?"
  • Ellen S. Miller, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, "Disrupting Washington's Golden Rule"
  • Carl Malamud, founder of Public.Resource.Org, "By the People"
  • Douglas Schuler, president of the Public Sphere Project, "Online Deliberation and Civic Intelligence"
  • Howard Dierking, program manager on Microsoft's MSDN and TechNet Web platform team, "Engineering Good Government"
  • Matthew Burton, Web entrepreneur and former intelligence analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency, "A Peace Corps for Programmers"
  • Gary D. Bass and Sean Moulton, OMB Watch, "Bringing the Web 2.0 Revolution to Government"
  • Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, "Defining Government 2.0: Lessons Learned from the Success of Computer Platforms"

Open Government editors:

Daniel Lathrop is a former investigative projects reporter with the Seattle Post Intelligencer who's covered politics in Washington state, Iowa, Florida, and Washington D.C. He's a specialist in campaign finance and "computer-assisted reporting" -- the practice of using data analysis to report the news.

Laurel Ruma is the Gov 2.0 Evangelist at O'Reilly Media. She is also co-chair for the Gov 2.0 Expo.

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


Where Web 2.0 revolution is taking us

By JD Lasica

from SF East Bay

About Me Founder Socialmediabiz


  • Accurate
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    Comments about oreilly Open Government:

    We've known for years how social media and Web 2.0 have been transforming the way political campaigns are run, the way we interact with big institutions, the way news is reported and distributed — indeed, practically all facets of modern society. So it comes as no surprise that social technologies are slowly transforming the way government works.

    What is surprising is that editors Daniel Lathrop and Laurel Ruma and O'Reilly Media have managed to make a potentially wonky topic like Government 2.0 accessible, fresh and actually interesting. "Open Government"is a big (432 pages), beautiful book, from the gorgeous, sumptuous cover to the breadth of ideas and angles inside. In its collection of 34 essays written by thought leaders and practitioners in government reform, the book offers dozens of examples of a new approach to government: open, democratic, distributed, bottom-up, shareable, data-driven and focused on making "we the people" a reality again.

    Tim O'Reilly, CEO of O'Reilly Media — the best computer book publisher in the world — carried the same message in a webcast today that proved so popular my browser crashed four times. O'Reilly has been at the forefront of the open government movement and contributes the key second chapter, "Government as Platform."

    In the book, the editors have assembled some of the top names in the government reform movement: Ellen Miller, Micah L. Sifry, Mark Drapeau, as well as Fernanda Viegas, Dan Gillmor and dozens of others. You'll learn about the potential of, the initiative to create a simple framework to share public information, and Open Secrets from the Center for Responsive Politics, used by to correlate congressional voting patterns and campaign contributions. The chapter on Tweet Congress details the efforts to get members of Congress to use Twitter — even today, Republican Congressmen out number Democrats on Twitter by something like a 2-1 ratio. Other chapters lay out countless other examples of how open government has moved from a geek idea to the mainstream.

    Writes O'Reilly in a key passage:

    Government 2.0 is not a new kind of government; it is government stripped down to its core, rediscovered and reimagined as if for the first time. … There is a new compact on the horizon: information produced by and on behalf of citizens is the lifeblood of the economy and the nation; government has a rsponsibility to treat that information as a national asset. Citizens are connected like never before and have the skill sets and passion to solve problems affecting them locally as well as nationally. Government information and services can be provided to citizens where and when they need them. Citizens are empowered to spark the innovation that will result in an improved approach to governance. In this model, government is a convener and an enabler rather than the first mover of civic action.

    If you roll your eyes at that and think government is the problem, buy the next Ann Coulter hatchet job. But if you believe that government belongs to us, and we can collectively convene to solve some of the great issues of our day, then get "Open Government." Buy one for any of your friends who work in a government agency. Change can happen one small miracle at a time.

    (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


    Preview Review: Very Compelling

    By PowerSparks

    from Honolulu, Hawaii

    About Me Developer


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    Comments about oreilly Open Government:

    Title: Open GovernmentAuthor(s): Daniel Lathrop, Laurel RumaPublisher:O'Reilly MediaReleased: February 2010Cost: [$]I have just started reading "Open Government" and I am already thinking I need to buy this book for my friends in government and expense it. I really would like to see a lot of comments on this book, before I finish it, because I don't completely want to believe the author's take on where US is going. However, I will just post before really getting into this book, I might need to retract my comments. So please read on with this in mind.As the book starts off in the first person, I hear Mr. Lathrop, and then another author chimes in, then another as this is a collection and a discussion of ground breaking ideas.However, I am on the edge of my seat as the young and talented authors expression and thought pour out of these pages. I am suspicious on where this is going and what he/she is selling.... which is to get me to think of Government as a Platform.My perspective, I don't really like what happened during the dot com bubble and I am disappointed with all of the start ups promising glory and the investors who seem to have been suckered. I am not an expert on any of it, but during this time I really was wondering why the old timers where buying into the kids selling cracked ideas. While so many of us Spatial IT types where cutting amazing ground, but there was less interest in pulling in grounded concepts than the high world changing smoke and mirrors.Okay, I am jealous, but I have heard of so many stories of Computer Science grades with zero experience, spending a week or two, creating a webpage and a database, and selling it for millions. I suspect the whole event was more of a hacking of wall street, through the ingenuity and genius of the DotCom'ers. I can't put it down, I need to know where this is leading, it sounds like great ideas, but still I am not sure. This better not be Cool-Aid.Gov 2 point O? I am already believing he might be right, maybe he is.We need to be clear, we need to test this, we need to debate this before buying in.Radical Thoughts, Life Changing Ideas.I hope US is ready.Regards,Harley Powers Parks

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