The Open Data Imperative: How the Cultural Heritage Community Can Address the Federal Mandate

by Suzie Allard, Christopher Lee, Nancy Y. McGovern, and Alice Bishop

This is a web-only report—it is not available in print.

New U.S. government requirements for exposing and managing federally funded research data add urgency to the call for curating data that can be used, reused, and exploited by future generations.

The Open Data Imperative: How the Cultural Heritage Community Can Address the Federal Mandate, offers a series of recommendations to improve the open data infrastructure, engage a broad community of stakeholders to support the management of data as an asset, and expand collaboration that is vital to ensuring public access to data.

In 2013, the U.S. government issued a mandate requiring federal agencies with annual research and development expenditures of more than $100 million to create plans for increasing access to federally funded scientific research, both as published articles and as data. These plans have significant implications for cultural heritage institutions in addressing the current deficit in the capacity to support the re-use of data over time and across generations of technology (digital curation) and in enabling collaboration based on shared infrastructure.

The report’s findings are drawn from three investigations:  (1) an analysis of the plans of agencies subject to the federal mandate for open data; (2) interviews with staff of IMLS-supported projects that have developed model services and tools supporting data management; and (3) a survey of efforts to build capacity through continuing education programs and comprehensive workforce development.


imls-logo-for-webThis project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (grant # RE-00-13-0097-13).

The views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.