Joining Recovery.gov, USAspending.gov and Regulations.gov is Data.gov, a website hosting government data sets from Executive Branch agencies (H/T Science Progress). It is still somewhat thin, with only 47 data sets, but they are available in different formats. You can find other data sets through open government groups like the Sunlight Foundation, or hosted by Amazon. Additionally, the website is taking suggestions for what datasets to add.
Aside from the potential of this website as a data tool, this provides another resources for third-party examination of government data. With the increased availability of programs to crunch, collate, sort and analyze data, going back through “old data” like that available on Data.gov could provide new insights and information we couldn’t get before. I expect non-governmental organizations like the Sunlight Foundation to stay ahead of government efforts in this area. What websites like Data.gov provide is additional encouragement to make more government data available and/or easy to work with. With a multitude of data formats used today, there is no guarantee that a Census data file will be easily matched with Bureau of Labor Statistics information. Hopefully more disclosure will help address these formatting concerns.