The value and challenges of public sector information

Maureen Henninger


The aim of this paper is to explore the concept of public sector information (PSI), what it is, its history and evolution, what constitutes its corpus of documents and the issues and challenges it presents to society, its institutions and to those who use and manage it. The paper, by examining the literatures of the law, political science, civil society, economics and information and library science explores the inherent tensions of access to and use of PSI—pragmatism vs. idealism; openness vs. secrecy; commerce vs. altruism; property vs. commons; public good vs. private good. It focusses on open government data (OGD)—a subset of what is popularly referred to as ‘big data’—its background and development since much of the current debate of its use concerns its commercial value for both the private sector and the public sector itself. In particular it looks at the information itself which, driven by technologies of networks, data mining and visualisation gives value in industrial and economic terms, and in its ability to enable new ideas and knowledge. DOI:

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