Updated Data.gov Relies Heavily on Open Source

A beta version of the site, now available for user testing, features open source tools including a search platform, data management platform and content management system.

by / July 17, 2013

The federal government's Data.gov is getting a makeover -- one that should not only  help agencies comply with a  White House executive order to make government data machine-readable by default, but also  make it easier to view and reuse government data.

The site's beta version -- at Next.Data.gov --  is available  for user testing, and features more visualization of government data, an expanded section for communities of interest, and a stream of examples of government data usage by third parties, ComputerWorld reported.

And its development team will rely heavily on open-source software: The redesigned site will use the Apache Solr search server software to improve the site's search capabilities, and agencies that post their metadata in the Common Core Metadata Schema will have their data sets indexed by Data.gov, according to the news outlet.

For the data catalogue, it will use the CKAN (Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network) data management platform, and the WordPress   content management system will be used for content and the community sections.

The other piece of open source being  used? The fonts. The new site will use the Abel and Lato Google Fonts. (Though some argue that these fonts aren't truly open source.)

Even still,  John Wonderlich, policy director for the Sunlight Foundation, says the overall use of open source is a "reassuring sign" that Data.gov is moving further in line with the White House's preference to maximize the use of open-source software.