Open Data Policy Collection

Lincoln, NE

Council Resolution (Aug 8, 2016)

View original policy

Sunlight provided assistance with the development of this policy.

A RESOLUTION regarding the City’s commitment to adopt a comprehensive Open Data Initiative that shall be applied to as much City departmental data as is practical.

WHEREAS, the City of Lincoln is committed to using technology to foster open, transparent, and accessible government; and

WHEREAS, the purpose of the Open Data Initiative is to remove barriers and set the rules by which City of Lincoln data is made available to the public as valuable, machine-readable datasets.

WHEREAS, by sharing data freely, the City of Lincoln seeks to develop opportunities for economic development and increased civic engagement for citizens of Lincoln and Lancaster County; and

WHEREAS, publishing structured, standardized data in machine-readable formats creates opportunities for information from different sources to be combined and visualized in new and unexpected ways, for niche markets to be identified and developed, and for citizens to browse, interpret, and draw attention to trends or issues with greater efficiency; and

WHEREAS, Lincoln is a leader in the growth of the Silicon Prairie with new businesses and professionals located in and around Lincoln; and

WHEREAS, the City of Lincoln seeks to encourage the local community to develop applications and tools to collect, organize, and share public data in new and innovative ways; and

WHEREAS, software applications and tools that enable citizens to access, visualize, and analyze public information will promote greater civic engagement and encourage citizens to provide feedback on local issues; and

WHEREAS, the protection of privacy, confidentiality, and security must be maintained as a paramount priority; and

WHEREAS, a City Open Data Initiative will support and encourage the development of Open Source software curricula in Lincoln area educational institutions and foster a “Culture of Openness” that will increase the momentum behind Lincoln’s efforts for the foreseeable future; and

WHEREAS, the adoption of an Open Data Initiative improves transparency, access to public information, and improved coordination and efficiencies among agencies and partner organizations across the public, non-profit, and private sectors.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Lincoln, Nebraska that the City of Lincoln will, to the extent practical and financially feasible:

1) Share pro-actively its open and accessible departmental datasets while taking into consideration any existing data policies and adhering to rights of privacy, security, and confidentiality as identified by federal, state, and local privacy laws.

2) Publish datasets in a central location via or any successor site allowing for public development of digital applications that may improve governmental transparency and public participation, enhance access to City services, and, ultimately, strengthen democracy and contribute to a more liveable city.

3) Post on the City website procedures, supported file formats, glossary, and other dataset context information to promote responsible use of City information.

4) Identify appropriate City Representatives who shall comprise an Open Data Governance Committee of City representatives and, to the extent practical and financially feasible:

A. Encourage city departments to collaborate and to oversee execution and implementation of the Open Data Initiative;

B. Identify existing and potential datasets for release as part of the Open Data Initiative and work periodically with Information Services and City departments to plan and develop of new datasets, review existing datasets, set Open Data Initiative priorities, prioritize data releases, recommend appropriate citation forms; maintain descriptors that define the published data; publish datasets; and release datasets online to the public where data/information in hard copy (printed reports, posters, brochures, etc.) or soft copy (PDF, web content, etc.) has already been released to the public, including any available public feed;

C. Plan, implement, update, and identify metrics and measures of current datasets when planning the creation of new datasets/databases or scheduling technology enhancements;

D. Appropriately safeguard sensitive information;

E. Incorporate public perspectives into policy implementation through channels such as the Taking Charge survey or an online Open Data survey portal;

F. Shall annually submit on or before July 1 of each year an Open Data Initiative progress report with accompanying recommendations to the Mayor and City Council.

G. Ensure information at the City is managed in ways that assist in creating a culture of Open Government and information sharing by providing open data governance and oversight;

H. Provide support to develop awareness and training programs to help City staff incorporate Open Data practices into their business planning processes;

I. Promote information transparency and accountability to build trust and confidence in government and foster Open Government leadership in recognition of the evolving democratic process.

5) The following principles shall be used to manage the City’s datasets:

A. Completeness: Released datasets will be as complete as possible while complying with legal obligations regarding the release of personal information, proprietary, or other confidential information.

B. Primacy: Datasets will be the primary source data with data collection methods documented and published.

C. Timeliness: Datasets will be available to the public in a timely fashion to maintain the business value of the data. To the extent practical and financially feasible, data should be made available as close as possible to the time that it is collected. It is not enough to mandate the one-time release of a data set, because it becomes incomplete as soon as additional data is created but not published. In order to ensure that published information is as accurate and useful as possible, specific requirements regarding data timeliness should be put in place by the Open Data Governance Committee.

D. Accessibility: Datasets will be as accessible as possible, with accessibility defined as the ease with which information can be obtained.

E. Machine-Readable: Datasets will be machine readable so that the public can create applications that can use the data for new services, research, or analysis.

F. Non-discrimination: Datasets will be available to anyone, with no requirement for registration.

G. Permission shall be granted without charge or license to any person obtaining City data and associated documentation files to use, copy, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and sell copies of the data subject only to city copyright restrictions.

H. Long Term Access to Data: Datasets made available online should remain online, with appropriate version-tracking and archiving over time where applicable and available.

6) Definitions

A. Dataset: A collection of machine-readable, raw, non-manipulated data usually presented in tabular form with associated metadata.

B. Enterprise Information Management: A set of business processes, disciplines, and practices used to manage the information created from an organization’s data.

C. Machine-readable Data: Data that, in order to be understood, must be translated by a computer or other type of equipment. Portable document format (PDF) is not machine- readable.

D. Open Data: Data that can be freely used, reused, and redistributed by anyone - subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share.

E. Open Government: A policy of promoting transparency, accountability, and accessibility of good governance which fosters a culture of collaboration and improved service delivery to the public.

F. Primary Source Data: Original information created or collected by the City, details on how the data was created or collected, and the original source documents recording the creation or collection of the data.

G. Raw Dataset: A structured file format (including geospatial formats) that can be read by a machine, such as spreadsheets, comma delimited Extensible Markup Language (XML), Comma Separated Values File (CSV), or JavaScript Object Notation (JSON). A raw dataset is not a report, a flyer, web applications, a PDF document, or anything that cannot be exported or used by a machine.

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