Have You Ever Heard of Data.gov? Me Neither.

Nathan Yau of @flowingdata writes about the end of Data.gov:

Data.gov in crisis: the open data movement is bigger than just one site | Nathan Yau | News | guardian.co.uk.

Here’s the part that blew me away: there is such a thing as Data.gov! Never knew it was there, but according to the article, it took $4 million a year just to run a website I never knew existed.

Now I grant you: I’m not in the data business in the sense of being any kind of researcher. But at the same time, I’ve done many searches looking for statistical data including median income levels, employment by state, by occupation and others. And in all that time, I’ve run across lots of useful information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census.gov, but never even came up with a single Google search result from Data.gov. Not one that stood out, anyway.

Open government is good. But its only good to the extent that its effective. Making each department responsible for reporting its own numbers seems like a wiser course of action. And already demonstrably more effective.