Identify Datasets

####Before you begin... Ensure that leaders from each department understand the importance of uncovering their data assets. Setting up individual meetings with department heads and deputy mayors can provide an opportunity to share information on open data concepts, joint data sharing, and sensitive/confidential data awareness, while helping you gather feedback and concerns about the process, and get a sense of how easy it may be to work with each agency. The data inventory process can feel daunting, so consider starting with a few targeted agencies based on their understanding and enthusiasm for the project, as well as relevance to strategic priorities or performance management goals. Involving deputy mayors provides a high-level of oversight over multiple agencies.

####Once you have a sense of buy-in... Ask each department to designate a point of contact (POC). You may wish to identify a lead analyst or researcher, preferably within the Mayor’s office, to interact with departments and facilitate this process. The lead will share the following prompts with department POCs, and will collect and catalog responses using the template found in Appendix A.

####Next, unpack your data assests To begin, you may wish to use the sample datasets in subsequent chapters to determine whether you have data in the categories that relate to your strategic priorities, performance management goals, and departmental mission.

The questions below are meant to help agencies think about the data they use in their day to day jobs, and the information that is critical to their processes, so that they can list the datasets that they use.

Of the data that you regularly create, maintain, or manage, which datatsets are....

  • Directly related to citywide goals or priorities?

  • Related to your department’s mission? Consider your departments strategic plan, any existing goals or performance objectives, your department’s website, and any regular reports.

  • Regularly or frequently requested through Right to Know requests, FOIA requests, or 311 requests?

  • Used in performance-based budgeting or evaluation (if applicable)?

  • Used to compile reports for a legislative body (city council or cabinet meeting)?

  • Used for reports on federal, state, or nonprofit grants?

  • Used to record a measurement or transaction, and/or provides information on government services, initiatives or resources?

  • Drive lists, tables, graphs, charts, maps, or other visualizations that your department uses?

####Consider Value, Quality and Availability

As you compile your datasets and fill in the fields, consider developing a measure that captures internal value, quality and availability of each dataset. Below are a series of questions around each. The questions and responses should be posted in order to explain the criteria for the order of release.

Dataset Priority Questions: Value

  • Is the data related to a citywide goal and/or priority?

  • Is the data related to department's mission, core function, and/or goals?

  • Can the data foster cross-agency communication and collaboration?

  • Does the data support policy decisions at the city or department level, or contain information that could foster productive civic engagement and policy debate?

  • Is the data regularly or frequently requested by public through Right to Know, FOIA, or 311? Could availability of the data create specific economic opportunity?

  • Does the data have a direct impact on the public? (e.g., hospital infection rates, food establishment inspection results, etc.).

  • Is the data of timely interest? (related to current events, new initiatives, etc.)

Dataset Priority Questions: Quality

  • Does the data have depth and breadth of years of coverage?

  • Does the data have accompanying metadata and a data dictionary?

  • Is the data available at its most useful granular level?

  • Is the data accurate/complete?

Dataset Priority Questions: Readiness/Availability

  • Is the data available to the public with no access restrictions and no cost?

  • Is the dataset in a format that is machine-readable or can be easily transformed?

  • Is the data currently online?

Step 2. Post Inventory

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