Blogger: Anne Thomas Manes
Transparency Camp is a BarCamp style unconference taking place this weekend at The Institute for Politics Democracy & the Internet at George Washington University. The conference is described as follows in the unconference FAQs:
"This un-conference is about convening a trans-partisan tribe of open government advocates from all walks — government representatives, technologists, developers, NGOs, wonks and activists — to share knowledge on how to use new technologies to make our government transparent and meaningfully accessible to the public."
The geek-fest session I was most sorry to miss was presented by George Thomas, the chief architecture of the recovery.gov web site. Per the FAQs on the recovery.gov web site:
"Recovery.gov is a website that lets you, the taxpayer, figure out where the money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is going. There are going to be a few different ways to search for information. Within days after the signing of the legislation, Federal agencies will start distributing funds, and you will be able to see which states, Congressional districts, and even Federal contractors are receiving them. As soon as we are able to, we'll display that information visually, through maps, charts, and graphics."
George Thomas was kind enough to post his slides describing the architecture of the recovery.org web site. The site is built using Drupal, and relies on REST, Atom, XForms, XHTML, RDFa, and SPARQL. Essentially, it aggregates feeds from all the agencies that are spending Recovery Act funds. According to the implementation guidelines associated with the Recovery Act, agencies receiving funds MUST make information available to recovery.gov via Atom or RSS feeds.