Gov20, government, ideas, New York, open data, open-source, politics, presentations, reinventing government

Fall Speaking Schedule

I’ll be giving a number of invited presentations this Fall, focusing on what we’ve learned by executing our Open Senate initiatives in New York State, and how these lessons apply to the potential to open up and streamline other government entities.  Broadly relevant themes and lessons learned relate to use of Gov 2.0 technologies, open-source software, cloud computing, open data publishing standards, and more efficient management and sharing of information assets intra- andinter-government.

Sept 10th, Startup Weekend NYC, “Start Gov 2.0 Startups!

Oct. 15th, TEDxGotham: “Mesh Government to the Rescue

Oct 26th, Open Data Working Summit, “Open Senate”

Oct 27th, GOSCON, The Government Open-Source Convention: Executive Open Data Round Table: The State of Open Government (keynote)

Oct 27th, GOSCON, The Government Open-Source Convention: “How to Root Your Agency

Nov 3rd, GovLoop New York City “GovUp

Nov 5th, New York City Technology Forum: “Crowdsourcing and Social Collaboration Tools

Nov 7th, The Great Urban Hack: “Let Them Eat Data: Creating Civic Benefit from Open Government Data

Nov 9th: Drupal Business Summit, New York: “Using Drupal to Open Up the New York State Senate

Nov 16th: NYS Forum Cloud Computing Working Group Kickoff Meeting (co-Chair)

Nov 17th: US GSA International Open Data Conference: “Open Government Sites – Where Have We Been and Where We Are Going

Nov 18th: Drupal Business Summit, Washington DC: “Using Drupal to Open Up the New York State Senate

 

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Open Senate Overview

A lot of people are asking us these days for a comprehensive stem-to-stern overview of how we accomplished our open government work in the New York State Senate, which made me realize that we’ve never published the entire story in one place So, in hopes that it is useful to our peers inside and outside of government, here goes:

New York State Senate “Open Senate” Initiative

Open Senate is an online “Gov 2.0″ program intended to make the Senate one of the most transparent, efficient, and participatory legislative bodies in the nation. Open Senate is comprised of multiple sub-projects led by the Office of the Chief Information Officer in the New York State Senate, ranging from migrating to cost effective, open-source software solutions, to developing and sharing original web services providing access to government transparency data, to promoting the use of social networks and online citizen engagement. Participatory websites were developed for all 62 Senators and more than 40 Senate Committees, and integrated with social networking tools; data portals for publishing and receiving public comment on all administrative and legislative data were deployed; use of open-source software, open data standards, and cloud-based-hosting services minimized the cost of these innovations. Open Senate won Best of New York “Visionary” and “Project Excellence” awards in 2010 from the Center for Technology in Government.  Key elements of Open Senate include:

NYSenate.gov – NYSenate.gov serves both as an accessible repository of all legislative and institutional administrative data, and well as a leading “Gov 2.0″ portal comprised of websites for all 62 Senators and more than 40 Senate Committees that support citizens in interacting directly with their elected officials and the legislative process.

Open Administrative Data – Prior to 2009, most legislative and administrative data either needed to be FOIL’d or had not been available at all. Examples include live and archived video of committee meetings and public hearings, payroll and expenditure reports in spreadsheet format, committee votes, and floor votes.

Open Legislation – “OpenLeg” is a website and an Application Programming Interface (API) that makes legislative data available to the public in a way that it can easily be searched, commented upon, and shared socially with others. Some of this legislative information, such as Committee Votes, was not available anywhere online (not even on the Assembly website or in the paid version of the Legislative Bill Drafting Commission’s Legislative Research Service) until its publication on the Open Leg website, pursuant to new Senate Rules passed in July of 2009. All data is available in industry standard open formats as “feeds,” and the publicly accessible API allows the data to be integrated directly into web applications by third-parties. The data that is available on the OpenLegislation website is also leveraged for internal software applications. CIO-STS is currently working to leverage that information in internal legislative applications to help both central staff and member offices.

Mobile — NYSenate Mobile, comprised of custom applications developed specifically for iPhones, iPads, and Android phones, as well as a full Senate website optimized for any mobile web browser, is the first mobile application in the nation developed by a legislative body. These apps pull together information from across the Senate – all 62 Senator offices, all 32 Legislative Committees allowing citizens, staff, and journalists to search for bill information, contact Senators, review event calendars, read Senator’s blogs, watch archived video of Senate Session, Committee Meetings and Public Hearings, and even submit Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests. Those with devices that have built in GPS can even use the application to identify the Senator that represents the region that the user is currently in while running the look up.

Open Source — NYSenate.gov and Open Legislation exclusively use open-source software, so the Senate does not owe any license fees for their maintenance; furthermore, all software code for the projects is published online and freely available under open-source BSD and GPLv3 licenses for re-use by peers in government and any other third-party, thus increasing the anticipated ROI of our investment in these projects.

Open Standards & APIs — All data and other content used in NYSenate.gov and Open Legislation is also published as data feeds in open standards formats such as XML, CSV, and JSON, and there is also a freely available Application Programming Interface (API). This empowers third-parties to do much of our work for us, developing applications that provide access to Senate data in a variety of value-added forms such as interactive voice response (IVR) telephony, at no additional cost to the taxpayer, thus again increasing the anticipated ROI of our investment in these projects.

Open Content — NYSenate.gov has also garnered national attention for its progressive content licensing policies, as the first State website that has copyrighted its content under a “Creative Commons” license, which affirms the public right to freely reuse content under the stipulation that it not be used for political fundraising purposes.

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Gov20, government, ideas, New York, open data, open-source, presentations, reinventing government

Interview on Twit.tv with Leo LaPorte

Video of Leo Laporte’s Gov 2.0 special on Twit.tv last week; I’m interviewed starting at the 24:00 minute mark about our use of Gov 2.0 technologies for transparency in the New York State Senate.  Other interviewees are Tim O’Reilly, Jen Pahlka, Carolyn Lawson, and John Wonderlich.

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CapitolCamp 2010

More than 150 people convened in Albany on August 19th and 20th for CapitolCamp 2010, to conduct an open and frank full-day discussion about how to build a more transparent, efficient, and participatory State government by leveraging “Gov 2.0” technologies. Co-hosted by the New York State Senate and the Office of the CIO of New York State, CapitolCamp 2010 was broken into two days: a developers summit and an unconference.  Here’s video of the morning introductory session for the CapitolCamp unconference; my remarks about CapitolCamp and the work of the NYSenate CIO Office start 59:30 minutes in:

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Spring & Summer Speaking Schedule Re: Technology for Transparency in The New York State Senate

The New York State Senate gets a lot of bad press.  There is, however, a great deal of work going on behind the scenes to help make the Senate as an institution more transparent, efficient, and participatory for the long-haul.  This Spring, we’ll be telling that side of the #NYSenate story to audiences ranging from New York City high school students to Federal government executives.

March 4th: Presentation to Senator Liz Krueger‘s High School Civics Class at the Julia Richman Education Complex

March 10th: PACE University Political Science lecture

March 19th: Panelist for “Meaning of Open Government in the Digital Age” at the Open Government In the Digital Age Summit (organized by the New York State Office of the Chief Information Officer / Office For Technology)

March 24th: Presentation at Web 2.o For Government (organized by The New York Forum Emerging Technologies Working Group)

March 26th: Keynote Address at Open Gov West (organized by Knowledge As Power); archived video here

April 5th: Lecture at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government

April 9th: Presentation at PSFK New York

April 21st: Keynote Panel at Drupalcon San Francisco

Aprul 22nd: Government CRM talk at Civicon

April 28th: Government Transparency talk in the Capitol to staff of the Armenian Legislature (US State Dept International Visitor Leadership Program and International Center of the Capital Region)

April 29th: “Open Government” Panel at the 2010 CIO Academy (Organizing and Moderating)

May 4th: NYS Forum Government Cloud Computing Presentation

May 25th: Presentation at Gov 2.0 Expo; preview video here

June 10th: Presentation of Open Legislation at the Personal Democracy Forum

July 23rd: Organizing “Getting to We.gov” panel at Netroots Nation

August 20th: Presentation at the second annual CapitolCamp in Albany

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