New York State Releases Enhanced Open Data Handbook

Contact Information: 
Alicia Biggs
Version 2.0 Offers Guidance for Identifying, Prioritizing, and Managing Publishable Government Data; Update by the State Office of Information Technology Services Promotes Transparency
Monday, May 11, 2020

The New York State Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) announced today the release of a new version of the Open Data Handbook, a nationally recognized publication lauded for promoting governmental transparency. Version 2.0 includes new guidance for state entities concerning the alteration of data sets and introduces a process to help ensure significant changes are properly authorized. In addition, ITS is providing a brief program overview for the general public to help enhance understanding of the Handbook and how New York State identifies, prioritizes, and manages publishable data.

"Instructing agencies on how to revise data will ensure that any significant change to a data set is properly authorized and documented in an agency," ITS Interim Chief Information Officer and Director Jeremy Goldberg said. "An alteration may occur to add significant information to a data set. And the most common reason for removing a data set is to replace it with an enhanced version. We trust this update will also assist other government entities that have modeled their open data programs after New York."

The original Open Data Handbook was produced as a result of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's executive order in 2013, which directed governments to use technology to promote transparency, improve performance and enhance citizen engagement. The initial version received praise from the National Association of Chief Information Officers, which lauded it as an essential reference tool for any open data initiative.

Version 2.0 reflects the evolution of New York State's Open Data program since that time. In addition to offering new guidance concerning the alteration or removal of data sets, the new version instructs agencies how to revise data which will ensure that any significant change to a data set is properly authorized and documented.

In other Open Data program developments:

  • ITS recently issued its April 2020 Quarterly Update, reporting on the latest data published and highlighting Union College's first-ever Open Data Hackathon organized by the college's new Center for Data Analytics, which featured students performing analytics on multiple Open Data datasets.
  • ITS is currently enhancing its widely acclaimed Dataset Submission Guide, which provides detailed guidance on properly preparing data for publication.  Release of Version 4.0 of the Guide is anticipated in June 2020.

"Showcasing the State's data is critical to ensure the public has access to government, and the Handbook is a key tool for agencies to use," ITS Acting Chief Data Office John Rager said.  "ITS regularly assists agencies in making their information available, and we will continue to support their transparency efforts."

About ITS

The New York State Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) was created in 2012 to transform IT services in an effort to make New York State government work smarter for its citizens and enable the state to be accessible for businesses through the use of technology. ITS provides statewide IT strategic direction, directs IT policy and delivers centralized IT products and services that support the mission of the State. ITS operates data centers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to support statewide mission-critical applications for over 50 Agencies, over 17 million citizen accounts, 120,000 employee accounts, 60,000 phones, 99,000 desktops and laptops, and 3,433 Virtual Desktop remote connections. ITS operates a secure network of over 1,600 miles of fiber to deliver telecommunications, Internet and Intranet services, enterprise email systems and support, IT training, networking, data storage and processing to State government entities in addition to developing new services in support of citizens, businesses and State Agencies.

For more information, visit https://its.ny.gov and follow us on Twitter @nysits.

###