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Treasury Notes

 New Steps to Make It Easier to Discover and Use Treasury Data

By: Rajeev Mishra and Sophie Raseman
12/4/2013

On May 9, 2013, the President signed an Executive Order titled Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information, a landmark step toward making government-held data more accessible to the public. In our first actions to implement the Order, Treasury has unveiled a new Public Data Listing at Treasury.gov/data, and a developer-friendly version at Treasury.gov/data.json. The listings contain a diverse group of data sets from across Treasury and its bureaus, and the following are a few ways to explore it: 

  • Learn more from the IRS’s rich statistical data, which allow the public to view non-confidential aggregate statistics broken out by state, county, and ZIP code. The data provide a unique authoritative time-series for information and research purposes.
  • Search the Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s list of data sets about the finances of the federal government. The public can access daily data summarizing the Treasury’s cash and debt operations, monthly statements of the public debt, the monthly debt position and activity report, Treasury security auction results, and more.

Treasury data are already creating value for developers, businesses, researchers, and others. In fact, IRS statistical data have long served to enhance market research, business planning, demographic analysis, state and local government research, public policy analysis, and more. Examples include a New Jersey urban planning company that examines IRS data to develop recommendations for new housing developments; state and local government agencies and non-profits that put the data to work in their community development and housing advocacy work; and moving companies that utilize this data to determine the best places to locate warehouse facilities.  Brokers, dealers, financial institutions, and other investors in Treasury securities often use Fiscal Service data to track Treasury auctions of marketable securities from announcement through issuance. 

The Public Data Listing will soon power Treasury’s data catalog entries on Data.gov, with new standards to make it easier for the public to discover and use Treasury’s valuable data. This work is a part of Treasury’s Finance Data Initiative (FDI), an effort to encourage the release of open data sets across the federal government that can help spur financial innovations and empower consumers to make informed choices about their money. As part of the FDI, Treasury launched the Finance Data Directory, a one-stop shop for developers to discover finance datasets from over a dozen federal agencies. 

The launch of the Public Data Listing is just the beginning. We’d like to know more about how you’re using Treasury data to fuel your research or create value in your business; if there are new data sets that would help enable valuable new insights or spur the creation of new kinds of products, services, and companies; and if there are alternative machine readable formats that would make it easier for you to consume Treasury data. Send feedback to our Open Data team at digital@treasury.gov, and join the conversation about how open data can help contribute to economic growth, innovation, and ultimately help improve people’s lives.

Rajeev Mishra is Enterprise Architect in the Office of the Chief Information Officer and Sophie Raseman is Director of Smart Disclosure in the Office of Consumer Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Posted in:  Consumer Policy
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