CS 349 Contemporary Issues in Computer Science
Alan Cline

Elaine Rich

Open Government


We will be discussing the information economy and information as a commodity and how that commodity manifests in government--specifically through initiatives like the Open Government Directive and the Data.gov initiative.  The underpinning readings include the following:

Yochai Benkler, Wealth of Networks:  Chapter 1 is the most relevant reading for our discussion.  You should read it.  You can find it here:


For more information, the whole book is located here:

http://www.benkler.org/Benkler_Wealth_Of_Networks.pdf (Link to whole book, PDF) or http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/wealth_of_networks/Main_Page (Link to book wiki). 

You can watch Benkler on Open Source Economics (video):


We will be talking about the Open Government Directive.  You can read about them here:

The Open Government Directive:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/memoranda_2010/m10-06.pdf
and the current Open Government page: http://www.whitehouse.gov/open

We will be doing an in-class activity in which we look at a government issued challenge and then try to deal with some big data.  The relevant sites:

            Data.gov: http://www.data.gov/
            Challenge.gov: http://challenge.gov/

If you want to explore further:

Optional Readings, Videos, Data

From E-Government to I-government: http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/chapters/0262134837chap1.pdf

Beth Noveck, Wiki Government Overview: http://www.democracyjournal.org/7/6570.php?page=all

Clay Shirky on Institutions versus Collaborations (video): http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/clay_shirky_on_institutions_versus_collaboration.html

Lawrence Lessig, Code is Law: http://harvardmagazine.com/2000/01/code-is-law.html. (longer and interactive version: http://lessig.org/)

Steven Johnson, Emergence: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/books/chap1/emergence.htm

Howard Rheingold on Collaboration (video): http://www.ted.com/talks/howard_rheingold_on_collaboration.html

Bowling Together (response to Putnam Bowling Alone): attached and PDF: http://www.catedras.fsoc.uba.ar/rusailh/Unidad%207/Coleman%20and%20Gotze%20Bowling%20Together,%20online%20public%20engagement%20in%20policy%20deliberation.pdf

Steven Johnson, The Web as City (video): http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/steven_johnson_on_the_web_as_a_city.html

Strata Conference on Big Data: http://m.readwriteweb.com/archives/bankers_go_bonkers_over_big_datas_future.php 

Government Data and the Invisible Hand: http://www.yjolt.org/files/robinson-11-YJOLT-draft.pdf