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Show Us the Data!

Today, CDT and launched Show Us The Data: Most Wanted Federal Government Documents, a website created with lots of help from our friends at Sunlight Labs. CDT and are setting out to identify the ten most wanted government documents, reports or data sets that should be on the Web – but are missing because the government hasn’t put them on the Internet.

In the last ten years, the Internet has come a long way- just check out the website for our first Ten Most Wanted survey. The federal government has made great progress in their use of the Internet too, but we know that they still aren’t putting the information that we want online as proactively and as usably as we would like. Last year, we talked about how hard it can be to find government information through search.

We’re hoping that you, as part of the open government community, can help us make a list of the unclassified information that you’d like access to online. We want to know about documents, data sets, databases, and raw information that you can’t find or you can’t use the way you’d like to, and what the government could do to make it easier. The Internet offers an easy way to distribute public information- for free, and in open formats. The data could be used by interested third parties to make incredible mashups and use the information in ways that the government doesn’t.

To bring pressure to bear on the government to make better use of the Internet, CDT and are asking for information that would significantly benefit researchers, reporters, communities and individuals- but that isn’t online. Send us your nomination: a report written by a federal agency, maps or data sets created through government research projects, or judicial decisions and court proceedings that are available on paper but not online.

What you can do: Check out Show Us The Data, and vote on your Most Wanted document- or nominate a new one! We’re taking nominations and votes until March 9th, 2009.