Well, *someone* had to do it.

The 20 Basics of Open Government was created with digital love and sweat by the Open Forum Foundation. We did this primarily because it didn’t exist, but really needed to. As we started looking around, we also realized that the terminology of open government is used by a lot of different people to mean a lot of different things. For example, there are multiple groupings of transparency advocates each with their own perspective, there’s the participation community, and then more generally there are techies and govies, each of which use different languages normally anyway.

Watching what is going on around the world in national, state, and local governments, we think opengov is maturing and that the time has come for a basics resource for newbies. Our goal was to include the full expanse of open government and show how it all ties together so that when you, the astute reader, meet up with one of the various opengov cliques that uses the terminology in a narrowly defined way, you can see how they fit into the bigger picture. You should also be able to determine how opengov can best be applied to benefit whatever you’re up to, while keeping in mind the need to provide both access for citizens to engage with government and access to information.

Have a read through it, and let us know what you think! Find a typo? Disagree with something? Spot an error? Let us know! Use the comment form for the offending page in question, send us an email or Tweet us.

Finally, we want to say extra super thanks to AmericaSpeaks and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund for providing the funding that made this possible. Both of them would like you to know that the opinions and views expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect their opinions or views. And finally-finally, we’d like to gently remind you that, despite our best efforts, the passage of time, weather and tides may affect the accuracy and up-to-date-ness of this site and any sites linked within.


Wayne Burke

Wayne Moses Burke is the Executive Director of the Open Forum Foundation, a small non-profit that he founded to connect citizens to government. He has been involved in the most recent iteration of open government since the beginning, and firmly believes in its ability to improve government and society.

Justin Grimes

Justin Grimes is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Maryland's College of Information Studies. His research areas focus on information policy, information access, and open government. He is a statistician at the Institute of Museum and Library Services. In his spare time he co-captain’s Code for DC, a local brigade of Code for America.

Daniel Morgan

Dan Morgan is a management consultant with a focus on IT policy, enterprise architecture, open government and innovation. He focuses on the strategies, policies, and culture change required to use open data to enable transparency and accountability while engaging and informing citizens.

Christiana Aretta Rodriguez

Christiana Aretta Rodríguez is a designer and illustrator based in Washington, DC. She speaks fluent HTML, CSS, Wordpress, jQuery, marker & pencil. Christiana believes that grids are made to be broken, that a simple exterior is the best complement to a complex interior, and that little things can make a big difference.


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