Most public-sector officials are quite familiar with the movement toward increased transparency in government operations, known as the “open government” movement. Most could also probably rattle off a list of the kinds of data now commonly being published for public consumption.

But the Center for Technology in Government (CTG) at the University of Albany, in conjunction with international software company SAP, wants to develop tools for the public sector that will help it leverage open government to improve relationships within government, and between government, community groups and citizens.

"Government's ability to develop appropriate policies and practices to make the best use of information lags behind the rapidly increasing power of information technologies," said CTG Director Theresa Pardo in a news release. "This project will contribute to the development of better research, consulting and government practice models to address the policy, technology and management challenges in our increasingly computational and data-intensive world."

The CTG recently hosted a group of international experts representing the public sector, education and business to contribute to the discussion, and provide feedback on its recently released white paper, titled Modeling the Informational Relationships between Government and Society. The draft paper will be revised based on feedback and other information gathered during the June workshop.

The CTG’s analysis considered the case of New York City’s website that was created to put restaurant inspection reports directly in the hands of Manhattan diners. An early open government effort that started in 1999, it brought together diverse stakeholder groups with an interest in the information.

CTG Senior Program Associate Natalie Helbig explained the inclusion of the New York City case study this way: “The information relationships between government, restaurant inspectors, the restaurant operators, citizens and mobile app developers, changed in complex ways that have led to greater openness, transparency and accuracy of information.”

More information on the Center for Technology in Government’s Open Government Thought Leadership Program is available here.