Open Sourcing Best Practices

There is powerful opportunity for countries world-wide to openly share their best practices for Digital Government.

The purpose of DigitalGovernment.io is to provide that global knowledge forum, where possible by documenting open source ‘recipes’.

Github Best Practices

As well as this site we also plug in other apps to support this activity, most notably Github, with the view it can be used to open source best practices in the same way it’s used for software.

A great example of ‘case study + code’ is this short article from MESA Public Schools, which documents their project to identify college age students who have ‘drifted off the track’ of a successful academic career so that they might offer on-ramp programs.

The article is accompanied by a Github repo, the simple combination that enables open sourcing of those best practices, and to highlight this throughout our materials where others offer the same, we showcase a link in this icon box:


Github Repo
ongov/OpenVerify
Github repository – The open source Verify app by the Government of Ontario.

By open sourcing the code and methods it means this capability can be easily reused for other projects and reinventing the wheel avoided. The link example is from Ontario releasing their Covid vaccination app, where they specifically make a point about open source release:

Verify Ontario’s code has been released as open source software to allow for greater transparency and to share the code for free with other jurisdictions who may want to adopt it. The code is available on GitHub.

Canada also offers their Digital Transformation Playbook online via a Google presentation, and it is also published as a Github repo. The Playbook is one of a number of programs within an overall Github presence for the Canadian Government.

They also publish guides and reusable toolkits, for common requirements like Open Data and Web Experience Design.

Digital Democracy

The use of Github offers great potential on a larger transformational level because the operating metaphor is so simple and powerful, where you download a copy, make improvements and propose those new changes back to the main core.

Folks like California are using Github for distributing open source software they create, and Joshua Tauberer explores the profound scenario of legislation via this Github download-and-edit approach, where laws not code are maintained via Github.

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