Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

After a Shaky Start, Slovakia's Open Gov't Portal Succeeds With Help from Open Contracts

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, November 8 2012

Earlier this year the government of Slovakia launched a portal that was supposed to make all public contracts and invoices available online. But as Sunlight Foundation International Fellow Matej Kurian recounts, there were serious problems from the outset: The site "...was half-baked, missing full-text search, documents preview or space for comments. While the policy produced more data (“transparency,” if you will), it left accountability untouched."

Kurian goes on to detail how Open Contracts "came to the rescue" and turned the portal into a success story.

Open Contracts provides full-text search ability (after the data had been crunched by Tesseract OCR) to sort the data by 12 dimensions such as vendors/contractors, amounts, duration of contracts, or number of pages in the contract that can be recombined to narrow down the search. A user, say a medical supplies vendor, could create an RSS feed and receive notifications when a state-funded hospital buys equipment from its competitor.

The article includes a valuable list of lessons learned from the experience (takeaways) - e.g., the discovery that crowdsourcing is not always an effective means of gathering information.

Click here to read the whole thing.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network for its generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

First POST: Responding

The aftermath of Ferguson continues to reverberate; how one Senate campaign took advantage of Facebook's micro-targeting tools; the new Congress' tech agenda; and much, much more GO

tuesday >

First POST: Sad Reality

How social media changed the course of the Ferguson story; Ready for Hillary's 3-million-member email list; why Mark Cuban opposes net neutrality rules; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: All Against All

Why Uber isn't "the future" of cities; why journalists lost control of journalism; how Sean Parker is spending his political money; and much, much more. GO

friday >

First POST: Power Frames

The differences between "old power" and "new power"; Uber as a new/old power hybrid; debating Clay Shirky's feminist cred; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Creeping

Senator Al Franken's tough questions for Uber's CEO; how the NSA could make its phone metadata program permanent; global privacy groups launch a personal spyware catcher called Detekt; and much, much more. GO

Recreation.gov and other Govt Projects Move Toward Embracing New Digital Approach

A draft request for proposals for the revamping of Recreation.gov will include a requirement that reservation availability data be publicly accessible and that all proposals detail how they will enable third-party sales, as two members of the United States Digital Services have joined the government team overseeing the RFP, meeting some key demands of civic technologists and consumer oriented technology companies. GO

More