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Here at OpenNow Solutions, we've embraced the concept of Open Source content management systems, and Drupal is the CMS of choice for so many influential websites.


Two weeks ago, the Obama administration announced the Open Government Directive, basically stating that government should be transparent, participatory and collaborative.  President Obama states:


I direct the Chief Technology Officer, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Administrator of General Services, to coordinate the development by appropriate executive departments and agencies, within 120 days, of recommendations for an Open Government Directive, to be issued by the Director of OMB, that instructs executive departments and agencies to take specific actions implementing the principles set forth in this memorandum. The independent agencies should comply with the Open Government Directive.


The Open Government Directive has four parts: publish government information online, improve the quality of government information, create and institutionalize a culture of open government, and create an enabling policy framework for open government. In order to help government agencies meet with these four parts, Acquia, a commercial open source software company, is hosting an on-going webinar series for all the agencies looking to comply with the various steps of the directive.


Some excerpts on the directive, courtesy of globaldevelopmentcommons.net:


In Acquia's view, Drupal supports all four components of the Open Government Directive.


1. Publish Government Information Online
To comply with Directive, each agency must release 3 new data sets. Drupal supports open data formats and integrates well with existing systems to release data. Additionally, Drupal is flexible in how it engages users. Because it utilizes social techniques, Drupal platforms can solicit feedback in a variety of ways, such as blogs, wikis, profiles, etc. Thus, data can be enhanced from many voices within a government agency.


2. Improve the Quality of Government Information
Drupal has several modules that can be useful for iterating over data until it can be exposed through a Drupal site. Such a system facilitates the process of gathering feedback on data, which can improve overall quality control.


3. Create and Institutionalize a Culture of Open Government
As part of the Directive, each agency must publish an open government plan, either as a new webpage or as a .gov site. Regardless of the vehicle, the agency must be able to solicit feedback on the plan. Acquia highlighted USAID's Development 2.0 Challenge as an example of how a government agency can solicit input and feedback from citizens, entrepreneurs, and innovators around the world.


4. Create an Enabling Policy Framework for Open Government
This step calls for agencies and departments to keep up to speed with the latest social publishing techniques to realize the potential for open government. This means that government agencies must keep pace with new trends-a process that the Drupal community is more than familiar with. Dialogue with the Drupal community can expedite the learning curve for government agencies.


Acquia points to the following sites as examples of how Drupal is being used to accomplish the open government initiative directive plan:


1. Drupal transparency site: USA IT Spending
2. Drupal Participation site: Whitehouse Open for Questions
3. Drupal Collaboration site: Global Development Commons