Dear New Yorkers,
The mission of NYC Open Data is to make the information used to operate NYC government available and accessible to all. Over the past year, this mission has continued to animate our work.
The foundation of making data available is a single repository, NYC Open Data, to which every City agency contributes with governance provided by the City’s Open Data Team. Each agency has an Open Data Coordinator, who works with individual divisions to identify, structure, document, and share public data. This means New Yorkers don’t need to analyze an organizational chart or scour agency websites to find the information they’re looking for. In fact, examining how and where agencies share data is part of the Open Data Team’s annual reporting process. Beyond the City’s organizational chart, and individual agency’s websites, this reporting also identifies where data is shared via Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests and, if possible, when the same data will be shared on NYC Open Data. Ultimately, when an agency takes on a new area of operation, a new dataset is created. And existing data is regularly updated to reflect the latest information that NYC is producing or collecting.
Making data available is necessary, but it is not sufficient – it must also be accessible. The Open Data Team approaches accessibility by looking at the supply of data – “Is the information shared actually usable?” and the demand for data – “Is the information shared actually being used?” To help make data more usable, since 2015, each new dataset has been required to be accompanied by a plain-language data dictionary that communicates the context behind the data. In 2022, this documentation moved to a simplified template and was bolstered by a comprehensive quality assurance process – looking at both the data and its documentation. Empowering more people to use public data has been a core focus of the Open Data Program. From the annual Open Data Week festival to the Open Data Ambassadors education initiative, connecting communities of New Yorkers to this valuable resource and to each other are pillars of data accessibility.
You can read more about all of this work around improving the availability and accessibility of public data in this year’s report, but we also encourage you to contact us – nyc.gov/askopendata – with your questions or suggestions. Open Data is fundamentally a shared, participatory endeavor and we rely on New Yorkers like yourselves to make it a reality.
The NYC Open Data Team
Dear New Yorkers,