Open Government Initiative

Transparency, participation, and collaboration are the foundation of open government. In keeping with this principle established in the President’s December 2009 Open Government Directive, the Office of the Historian has adapted its publications to open digital formats that can be accessed and consumed easily by the public, including third party developers. In 2010, the Office of the Historian made the following submissions to data.gov, which remain up to date:

  1. Bibliographic Metadata of the Foreign Relations of the United States Series: Raw bibliographic metadata for the nearly 500 volumes in the Foreign Relations of the United States series published since 1861. Each record in the dataset contains a volume’s title, year of publication, years covered by the volume, summary, and links to sources for these volumes online or in print, among other metadata items. [Data.gov catalog entry]
  2. Latest Volumes of Foreign Relations of the United States Series: This atom feed lists the ten most recently published volumes in the Foreign Relations of the United States series. Each record in the dataset contains a volume’s title, year of publication, summary, and link to the online volumes. The feed is updated as soon as a new volume is published. [Data.gov catalog entry]

Building on this foundation and extending the focus beyond data, the President’s May 2012 Digital Government Strategy emphasized delivering better digital services to the American people government through mobile devices and providing automated services for third party web and app developers. In 2013, the Office of the Historian made the following contributions to the Digital Government Strategy:

  1. Ebook Editions of Office of the Historian Publications: The Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series, established in 1861, was adapted to ebook. Far lighter and more portable than printed editions of FRUS, the ebook edition offers the full content of each volume and makes use of the full-text search and other reading features of most ebook devices and applications, including bookmarking and note-taking. Unlike the web-based edition of FRUS, the ebook edition, once downloaded, can be accessed even without internet connectivity. The ebooks were generated from the master digital files at no additional cost and are available for free download.
  2. Office of the Historian Ebook Catalog API: This Application Programming Interface (API) enables third party web and app developers, as well as users of these applications, to embed the Office of the Historian ebook catalog. The API uses best practices and open standards, including the Open Publication Distribution System (OPDS) format for ebook catalogs and REST interfaces.

See also the Open Government Initiative, Digital Government Strategy, and Developer Resource pages on the Department of State’s website.