Finally, Government Websites May Stop Sucking

Reversing the torturous abuse of information that had been standard practice in the Bush/Cheney era was one of Obama's first official presidential acts today.

“Starting today, every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known.”

The words "seek to make it known" are key -- it's not just that President Obama would like you to have information if you ask for it. It goes much further than that -- he is actively requiring government agencies to improve the way they communicate information via the internet.


Government websites are a researcher's El Dorado. So much data; if you squint, you can see it shiny and golden just on the horizon. But you never reach it, due to bad interfaces and poor page hierarchy design.

I can't tell you how many times I have cursed for being clunky, unintuitive, and just plain sucky. Most government sites I have encountered are similarly terrible.

This is bad news for those database vendors who make money by taking the government's terribly-presented free data and repackaging it so that's it's accessible and pretty -- but it's great news for researchers and other curious seekers.

Amanda Jarman2 Comments