OMB, Treasury finalize standards for DATA Act by Greg Otto.
From the post:
The White House’s Office of Management and Budget announced Monday that after more than a year of discussion, all 57 data standards related to the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act have been finalized.
In a White House blog post, OMB Controller and acting Deputy Director for Management David Mader and Commissioner of the Treasury Department’s Financial Management Service David Lebryk called the standards decree a “key milestone” in making sure the public eventually has a transparent way to track government spending.
Twenty-seven standards were already agreed upon as of July 10, with another 30 open for comment on the act’s GitHub page over the past few weeks. These data points will be part of the law that requires agencies to make their financial, budget, payment, grant and contract data interoperable when published to USASpending.gov, the federal government’s hub of publicly available financial data, by May 9, 2017.
The Data Transparency Coalition, a technology-based nonprofit, released a statement Monday applauding the government’s overall work, yet took exception to the fact the DUNS number is the favored, governmentwide identifier for recipients of federal funds. DUNS numbers are nine-digit identifiers privately owned by the company Dun & Bradstreet Inc. that users must pay for to view corresponding business information.
“Standards” doesn’t mean what Greg thinks it means.
What has been posted by the government are twenty-seven (27) terms agreed on as of July 10th and another thirty (30) terms open for comment.
Terms, not standards.
I suppose that Legal Entity Congressional District is clear enough but that is a long way from being able to track the expenditure of funds in a transparent manner.
As far as the DUNS number complaint, a DUNS number is an accepted international business identifier. Widely accepted. Creating an alternative government identifier to snub Dun & Bradstreet, Inc., is a waste of government funds.
Bear in mind that the DUNS number for any organization is a public fact. Just as street addresses, stock ticker symbols, etc. are public facts. You can collect data about companies and include their DUNS number.
By issuing DUNS numbers, Dun and Bradstreet, Inc. is actually performing a public service by creating international identifiers for businesses. They charge for access to information collected on those entities but so will anyone with a sustainable information trade about businesses.
Refining the DATA Act terms across agencies and adding additional information to make them useful looks like a good use case for topic maps.