Sunshine Week 2011
National Sunshine week occurs each year in March and highlights the importance of Open Government. GSA's activities in March 2011 were featured on this page.
GSA invites the public to play an active role in our government. Our Sunshine Week page highlights the many programs that empower individuals to access information that can make lives better and communities stronger.
Data.gov Communities: Here you will find resources on a wide range of topics and the opportunity to share your interests and passions with others.
The Law Data Community : gives you access to legal data from across the Executive Branch in the form of administrative decisions, case filings, legal interpretations and agency directives. The community provides a wealth of datasets of value to legal professionals, researchers, the business community and the general public. Legal authorities covering a range of topics such as transportation, health, energy, education, public safety, housing and many others are available. In addition, advisory opinions and interpretations by agency general counsels provide insight into agencies' current positions on the statutes and regulations they enforce. We hope that this community will be a resource to assist you in the study and understanding of how legal authorities are issued and interpreted by Federal agencies.
Learn More: www.data.gov/communities.
FOIA: President Obama instructed in his January 21 FOIA Memorandum, "The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails." Open government requires agencies to work proactively and respond to requests promptly. The President's memorandum instructs agencies to "use modern technology to inform citizens what is known and done by their Government." GSA is committed to the Open Government initiative to expand electronic government. Of particular importance has been our continuing initiative to use our web site to disseminate our information to the public. While much of this information is already available throughout the GSA website, our site will provide a centralized resource to allow the public to locate contract information easily and quickly. Our responsibility is to provide you with copies of the documents you are entitled to receive under the law.
To review the status of FOIA requests, click here [PDF, 129k].
ePubs (Google): The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is working with the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and GPO’s relationship with the Google Book Partner Program to make popular Government publications available for free electronic download through Google. The pilot program is making available 100 consumer-related Federal Government publications distributed through GSA’s Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC) on Google Books. The public can view and download PDF copies of these publications on desktops, laptops and various e-readers. The FCIC plans to add more consumer publications to its eBook offerings following this pilot program. The public can also order hard copies of the publications on Google Books and through the GPO’s Online Bookstore. The FCIC will coordinate delivery through its GPO’s Pueblo, Colorado Distribution Center.
“GPO and GSA have been partners in distributing federal government publications to the American people for 40 years,” said GPO’s Business Products & Services Managing Director Herb Jackson. “GPO looks forward to expanding that partnership through the agency’s partnership with Google to now provide the public with free electronic access to popular consumer publications.”
"Our market research confirms that 74% of the public wants government information both online and in printed form. We want to embrace the changing environment and provide important consumer-related information where people want to consume it - on their computers, on their mobile devices, or on paper,” said Dave McClure, GSA Associate Administrator of the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.
USA.gov: The U.S. government's official Web portal recently launched several new capabilities to make the government website more transparent and engage the public effectively. Through a robust search engine and a newly created mobile apps gallery, the site now makes it easier for the public to do business with government and get government services and information electronically. This site supports access and transparency at all levels of government: federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial.
USA.gov’s new state-of-the-art search engine is nine times faster than the previous website and helps citizens navigate through official government information with “related search-as-you-type” function, suggested search phrases and related search topics. Results are based on topic relevancy not paid advertisements and include the option to search government images, forms and recalls. These navigation aids guide users to information intuitively, quickly and conveniently.
USA.gov is working hard to make government information accessible - anytime, anywhere. The public can get instant notification of recalls to the status of veterans benefits by downloading the government apps from the mobile apps gallery.
Challenge.gov: In September 2009, when the President unveiled his Strategy for American Innovation, he called on government to “use prizes and challenges to solve tough problems, support the broad adoption of community solutions that work, and form high-impact collaborations with researchers, the private sector, and civil society.” Challenge.gov is a government-wide challenge platform that facilitates innovation through challenges and prizes. Challenge.Gov enables the public to find all federal government challenge opportunities in one place, to learn about them in easy, creative ways, and to be notified of new challenges. Agencies and society benefit by opening up the opportunities for universities, companies, non-profits and individuals to contribute their creative powers to solve government’s most complex challenges. Moreover, the agency benefits from the multiple teams or individuals competing and submitting their best ideas and solutions—leveraging the creativity of those outside of government and Washington.
Launched to the public in September 2010, Challenge.gov debuted with over 35 unique challenges from over 15 departments and agencies. Currently, Challenge.gov features 71 challenges from 27 departments and agencies. The site has been visited over 147,000 times, and the Challenges Community of Practice has over 500 members. Over 7,700 “supports” have been registered for challenges, each indicating an instance where a citizen asked to stay involved in a challenge that they found important or meaningful. Challenge.gov is truly demonstrating government’s ability to reach far outside the beltway for innovative ideas.