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Use Case 3 - Data Sharing Policy Expression

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Use Case: Data Sharing Policy Expression




Owen Ambur

Problem Definition

The obligation of government agencies to share data and information with the public should be clearly stated in law, regulation, and policy.

Target population

The initial target populations (stakeholders) are agency heads as well as data stewards and records managers within each government agency. Secondary stakeholders include intermediaries who add value to public information by aggregating, indexing, extending, and creatively displaying it for various interest groups. The ultimate beneficiaries will be citizens worldwide.


Laws, regulations, and policies that have been issued by any national government and may be good models for adoption by other national governments will be identified.

Target software

Applicable laws, regulations, and policies should be made available in readily shareable (XML) format on the Web with the appropriate elements of metadata embedded to facilitate indexing, discovery, and usage.

Identified problems or limitations

Agencies may claim to lack the necessary resources to make available all of their public data and records in readily shareable (XML) format. However, that is no excuse for failure to identify those records and to begin to create, maintain, and make them available in XML format, as time and resources allow.

Related initiatives

Relevant U.S. government policy expressions include:

  • The Electronic Freedom of Information Act (E-FOIA) amendments, which require agencies to make reasonable effort to share in whatever formats they are requested any record requested by anyone that is likely to be of interest to three or more others and is not covered by one of the eight FOIA exemptions.
  • The Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) FOIA page.
  • Executive Order 13392 (EO 13392), Improving Agency Disclosure of Information
  • The General Service Administration's (GSA) Efficient and Effective Information Retrieval and Sharing (EEIRS) report, which says agencies should post their public records on their Web sites and should structure those records, as appropriate.
  • The U.S. Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) Data Reference Model (DRM) and particularly the XSD that was intended to implement it.
  • XML-related provisions of the Electronic Government Act (eGov Act), particularly section 207, whose purpose is "to improve the methods by which Government information, including information on the Internet, is organized, preserved, and made accessible to the public."
  • Department of Defense (DoD) Information Sharing Strategy
  • OMB Memorandum 05-04 (M-05-04) Policies for Federal Agency Public Websites
  • OMB Memorandum 06-02 (M-06-02) Improving Public Access to and Dissemination of Government Information and Using the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) Data Reference Model (DRM)
  • Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which aims to ensure that advice provided by advisory committees is objective and accessible to the public.
  • Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), which requires agencies when compiling their strategic plans to "solicit and consider the views and suggestions of those entities potentially affected by or interested in such a plan." [5 USC 306(d)] In order to do so efficiently and effectively, interested parties (e.g., citizens) must have ready access and be able to directly reference the goal and objective statements contained in such plans. See also the Strategy Markup Language (StratML) use case.
  • Privacy Act [5 USC 552a(d)] generally gives individuals the right to obtain access to records about themselves held by the federal government.


The priority assigned to this use case should be determined by the contributions made to it by members of the IG, as well as any partners we may be able to engage.