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Checkbook NYC financial transparency website

NYC opens the books, and the source code, on Checkbook 2.0

Last week, New York City Comptroller John C. Liu unveiled the Checkbook NYC 2.0 website and announced that the source code for the financial transparency website would be available to developers on GitHub,  which will allow other government organizations to use Checkbook to build similar sites.

Checkbook NYC illustrates how the city government spends its nearly $70 billion annual budget. Using a dashboard that combines graphs and user-friendly tables, the site displays up-to-date information about the city's revenues, expenditures, contracts, payroll and budget.  It also offers that information programmatically via APIs.

Built on the Drupal open source content management platform, Checkbook NYC's data warehouse contains more than 50 million financial transactions, according to REI Systems, which worked with the city to develop the system. The data warehouse is updated daily and is growing at a rate of approximately 2 million transactions per month. REI was selected to lead the project, the comptroller’s office said, because of its experience with government transparency websites, including USASpending.gov, Data.gov, and ITDashboard.gov.

Other partners, centralized accounting software vendors Oracle and CGI, worked to develop "adapters," or automated data feeds, between their financial management systems and Checkbook NYC. These feeds will enable other state and local governments that use Oracle and CGI solutions to easily share their financial data with the public.

Collectively, it’s estimated that Oracle, CGI and REI Systems have committed to investing more than $1 million of resources in order to make Checkbook NYC rapidly adaptable by other governments, city officials said.

Checkbook NYC is significant because it makes a vast storehouse of information available online in a timely, structured and human-readable form, according to the Sunlight Foundation. Additionally, it marks a shift to proactive civic application-sharing, Foundation officials added.

“Checkbook NYC is an outstanding example of local government adoption of the open source software model, and with this project New York City has truly stepped up and into the open IT ecosystem,” said Deborah Bryant, Open Source for America co-chair and director of the Open Source Initiative. “NYC’s highly evolved approach also increases the benefit of collaboration beyond software code – such as sharing related investments like training, knowledge base and business rules – exponentially increasing its value to the city and anyone else joining the project.”

Posted by Susan Miller on Jun 17, 2013 at 9:39 AM


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