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1/26/2012
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Feds Add Education Community To Data.gov Site

Page delivers education-minded data sets from various federal agencies, visualization tools, classroom resources, applications, and developer tools.

Federal Data Center Consolidation Makes Progress
Federal Data Center Consolidation Makes Progress
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The federal government continues its efforts to help users more easily locate information through its open-data repository Data.gov with a new community for government education data.

The new Education Data Community is a central location for education data sets from various agencies, visualization tools, classroom resources, and applications with specific pages intended to help teachers and students find useful information.

The page also has a section for developers who want to create new software using the data, and specific pages for challenges and events related to the education community.

Data on the community is broken down in a number of categories: career and technical, early learning, higher education, international, pre-K to 12 education, and special education, to help various audiences better identify information that is pertinent to them.

The community also includes special features that highlight research and information that could be of interest to the education sector. Featured on the community currently is the "Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey 2009-10", which provides a listing of all schools and agencies providing free public elementary and secondary education, as well as basic statistics on each institution.

The feds launched Data.gov in May 2009 as a central repository for data sets of government information in a transparency move mandated by President Obama. They have been expanding and enhancing the site steadily since then.

[ Explore more information now available online thanks to the Administration's transparency directive. Read Top 10 Open Government Websites. ]

One of the ways the White House has been working on the site is to make data easier to find and use, as early criticism of the site was that it was difficult to navigate.

Creating pages like the education community--which joins other topic-specific pages for ocean, energy, health, and law data—are one way the administration has attempted to help solve that problem.

Over time, the site also has added better ways to visualize, reuse, and map data, and developers have built an entire set of new applications using data from the repository.

The site also will soon move out of a federal data center and get a new back end, as the General Services Administration has awarded a nearly $21 million contract to CGI Group to move the site to a public cloud.

InformationWeek's 2012 Government IT Innovators program will feature the most innovative government IT organizations in the 2012 InformationWeek 500 issue and on InformationWeek.com. Does your organization have what it takes? The nomination period for 2012 Government IT Innovators closes April 27.

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