Data Governance Criterion #1: Maintaining a Detailed and Comprehensive Data Inventory
Here’s our friendly monthly reminder of What Works Cities’ (WWC) 45 criteria for best practices in data governance, performance analytics, evaluation, stakeholder engagement, and more. This month’s featured criterion examines how cities are set up to have discoverable and accessible public data with Data Governance criterion #1: “Your local government maintains a detailed and comprehensive data inventory that makes its data more discoverable and accessible.”
This Data Governance criterion provides the internal foundation for open data and greater transparency. It encourages cities to develop a documented methodology for establishing and updating a data inventory covering all departments and for publishing it online. A data inventory is like a card catalog for the City’s data. It spells out what data the city has, where it is kept, and how to access it, thereby fostering greater transparency and engagement amongst City staff, partners, and the community.
A data inventory is essential to meaningful collaboration between bureaus in today’s age of information and technology. After all, if City data is shared with the public, it makes sense to share it between different parts of the organization as well. For example, starting with a data inventory, cities like Jackson, MS and Gilbert, AZ have optimized a performance management program, and made a lot of progress in their open data program, respectively.
Beyond the benefits of collaboration, transparency, and public engagement, increasing understanding of and access to civic data has led to a diversity of innovations. As these initiatives are institutionalized, they can spark progress both internally and outside governments through new products and the improvement of processes.
So, does your bureau maintain a discoverable and accessible data inventory?
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