U.S. Government Gives Guidance on Prizes

Last week the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memorandum on the use of prizes and challenges by government agencies (H/T Science Careers blog).  This is consistent with the President’s Strategy for American Innovation released last September

“The Federal government should take advantage of the expertise and insight of people both inside and outside the Federal government, use high-risk, high-reward policy tools such as prizes and challenges to solve tough problems”

and the Open Government Directive from December

“Within 90 days, the Deputy Director for Management at OMB will issue, through separate guidance or as part of any planned comprehensive management guidance, a framework for how agencies can use challenges, prizes, and other incentive-backed strategies to find innovative or cost-effective solutions to improving open government.”

The emphasis in this memo is on guidance.  It leaves it up to the agencies to determine what kinds of prizes they should use, and for what purposes – at least within the broad outlines described in the memo.  The bulk of the memo is about the various kinds of legal issues that an agency will have to review to make sure the challenges or prizes don’t run afoul of federal law.  But an OMB memo is an important go-ahead symbol for agencies to move forward on government-wide initiatives.  If you have suggestions for prizes, see if the Open Government page for the particular agency is ready to take your suggestion.  It should be.

The Daily Show Just Ordered More DVRs

According to The New York Times, as of tomorrow, C-SPAN, the cable network dedicated to Congressional hearings and sessions (amongst other things) will have completed uploading its years of video archives to the internet (H/T Interesting People e-list).  Unfortunately the video is comprehensive only back to 1987, when the C-SPAN archives were established.  Video from 1979 (when the network started House coverage) to 1987 is not as available, but should be added to the archive soon.

Noted in the Times article is the challenge of effectively searching and indexing that amount of footage.  Given the public service mission of C-SPAN enterprising individuals who may be able to help ease that burden should see what magic they can make happen.