You may have noticed a change to our site’s landing page this week: there’s only one search window now instead of searches for “open data,” “open information,” and “open government.” While it may seem minor, it is the result of months of work done behind the scenes. Here’s why it’s such a big deal: to be a single window into a variety of Government of Canada information and data holdings, we needed a common framework, properly called a metadata schema, for information that’s both structured (i.e., datasets) and unstructured (what we usually call “digital resources,” like reports and research).
These changes came from you – we’re always happy when we can be responsive to the people who use our site! The division between data and information is sometimes blurry, and you shouldn’t have to worry about which it is when you first get to open.canada.ca – you should just find what you’re looking for. Now data and information featured on our site will have the same descriptive information, so you can filter not only by organization, but by keywords, subject, format and more.
This marks the end of the pilot phase of our open information portal. We are now replacing the pilot with a better tool, and rebuilding the collection of documents. The first step is a higher standard for metadata – i.e., the contextual information that makes it easier for you to both search for information and to understand what you are getting before you download it. So while we’re starting with fewer information resources, this will mean better information and data that’s easier to find. As well, don’t forget that you can still find any documents that haven’t yet been relisted by visiting the original sources (e.g., Government of Canada Publications and Collections Canada).
All told, this is one part of our work to build a solid foundation for a better user experience, with improved access to higher-quality information. Our work will help make sure that there’s no wrong door to government information.
The Open Government Team