Citizen Access to Government Statistical Information
Modern electronic technologies have dramatically increased the volume of information collected and assembled by government agencies at all levels. This chapter describes digital government research aimed at keeping government data warehouses from turning into data cemeteries. The products of the research exploit modern electronic technologies in order to allow “ordinary citizens” and researchers access to government-assembled information. The goal is to help ensure that more data also means better and more useful data. Underlying the chapter are three tensions. The first is between comprehensiveness and understandability of information available to non-technically oriented “private citizens.” The second is between ensuring usefulness of detailed statistical information and protecting confidentiality of data subjects. The third tension is between the need to analyze “global” data sets and the reality that government data are distributed among both levels of government and agencies (typically, by the “domain” of data, such as education, health, or transportation).
KeywordsInformation Summary Disclosure Risk Swap Variable Toxic Release Inventory Data Quality Issue
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