In what could jump-start agencies' steps toward open government, a two-day Codeathon event for the developer and IT communities will be held this weekend in Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by Microsoft and the League of Technical Voters (LTV) -- a nonprofit group that aims to motivate and assist technical experts to improve lawmaking and governmental processes -- the event will display examples of improved citability on government Web sites.

Citability supports making public government documents and data available online and citable so they can be easily referenced for public debate, commentary and analysis, according to the event Web page. This requires that archived versions of documents be stored and linkable so that changes can be easily spotted and reference links remain intact.

"This is a great way to spend time with a lot of other smart, interesting techies while putting your skills toward something good in the world," according to the Web page. "We will make the implementation of citability free and easy for government employees by providing modifications to free open source software, new free software and extensions to existing proprietary systems."

The citations can be as simple as linking a specific paragraph in a policy by a blogger or as complex as a group of attorneys and judges debating a regulation, Microsoft officials stated in a press release.

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Karen Wilkinson  | 

Karen is a former staff writer for Government Technology magazine.