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Civic Hackers’ User Experiences and Expectations of Seattle’s Open Municipal Data Program

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Title:Civic Hackers’ User Experiences and Expectations of Seattle’s Open Municipal Data Program
Authors:Young, Meg
Yan, An
Keywords:open government data
civic hackers
data use
effective use
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Date Issued:04 Jan 2017
Abstract:This study examines the challenges and the expectations that civic hackers bring to the use of open government data, building on Gurstein’s theory of barriers to effective use. Civic hackers are hobbyists who use open government data for social good applications. Drawing on individual interviews and a focus group with fifteen total civic hackers in Seattle, Washington, we synthesize findings on their experiences using open government data, including their expectations for the kinds of data formats, metadata, API functionality, and datasets that should be provided on the city’s open data portal. Respondents report challenges using the data, including low data availability, outdated datasets, limited API functions, proprietary formats, lack of metadata, and untidy datasets. These acted as barriers to their effective use of open data. Respondents expect higher quality data and more usable data portal functionality, in part because of their professional experience in the technology sector. In our discussion, we examine the organizational structure of the open data program, and the constraints it poses for the achievement of respondent expectations. Our analysis points to a demand for an additional, third party civic institution (like a local newspaper) to host cleaned data for wider use. \
Pages/Duration:10 pages
Rights:Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Appears in Collections: Open Data, Information Processing, and Datification in Government Minitrack

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