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Discussions of OGD are becoming widespread in practice and academic literatures on contemporary government (Pizzicannella 2010; Stephenson 2009; Lathrop Ruma 2010; Coleman Boland 2010; Robinson et al. 2008; Allan 2009; Parycek Sachs 2010), and the desirability of increased openness of government datasets is emerging as political orthodoxy in the US (Obama 2010), UK (Cameron 2010; Brown 2009) and across Europe (Visby Declaration 2009; European Commission 2003a). However, much literature, although optimistic about OGD’s potential, is blighted by a lack of clarity on relationships between data and information, and vagueness on exactly how data plays a role in change processes. The following section begins by outlining the development of OGD initiatives in the UK, and then defines the relationship between data and information, before turning to literatures on information and democracy, and data, information and public sector reform.

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This chapter includes the following sections