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Originally published here

I did a presentation last night on the work I’ve been doing with Plone and Local Government and I was asked about a term I used – OOOG.

OOOG stands for Open source, Open standards, Open Government.

It’s a personal standard that I use when judging the suitability of a project or solution for use with Gov2.0/LocGov2.0 work.

When I look at a project or solution I measure how it stacks up against the following criteria:

Open Source:

* Available Under An Open Source License
* Open To Third Party Contributions
* Active Development Community
* Government Contributes Back To The Open Source Project

Open Standards:

* Supports True Open Standards
* Does Not Force Usage Of Non-Standard Formats
* Project Is Publically Committed To Open Standards
* Provides Public Service Information In Open Standards

Open Government:

* Implementing The Project Will Allow For Greater Openness in Government

Why those criteria?

Well apart from the fact that they make a funky looking acronym, each of the above taps into something that I think is important in any government project.

Through the use of Open Source Software, the Government encourages the development of the local ICT industry and importantly, a widening of the talent base the Government can call on.

The use of Open Standards across the board can mean budget savings (It’s a lot easier to develop against an Open Standard than a closed one), the development of new and interesting services (Third Party usage of Public Service Information becomes much easier) and it ensures data portability.

Open Government is something we all benefit from. The greater flow of information between the Government and the public means more opportunities for the public to become engaged with a political system that in certain circles is seen as being seperate from “Real Life”.

So there you go. Here’s an idea, why not have a look at what you’re working on see if you think it ranks highly on the OOOG score. Use a score out of 10 (1 being blah never thought about it and 10 being “We Are The R0x0r”) and see what you come up with.

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James Purser

Thanks Cindy. Yeah it is a bit of fun, but I hope it starts people thinking at the same time. Let me know what they say 🙂

Lorie Obal

This is very timely for the health care sector. The VHA’s EHR is open source and currently the most widely used. With stimulus health IT funding on the table, many proprietary vendors are seeking to position their products as “the” solution. Openness is going to be very important for healthcare and health research. The more awareness of good Open Source solutions and the benefits thereof, the better. I guess VistA/CPRS gets a 10 since it’s not only open source, but anyone who wants it can download it for free.

James Purser

Hi Lorie,

How does it rank when it comes to Open Standards? While it may not be Open Source, if it uses Open Standards and actively works against data hoarding via Closed formats then you can throw in some extra points there.