On 9 May 2013, the White House released a policy on public accessibility to government data.  The new policy directs federal agencies to change their practices so that new data is digital and therefore more accessible.  Agencies are encouraged, but not required, to make existing data “machine-readable.”

The policy does not necessarily call for making all data public, but data sets that can be released to the public should be listed on data.gov.  Agencies will be required to create an in-house inventory and public list of data sets.

In addition to outlining detailed instructions for how to make data available and the format of the data, the policy requires agencies to apply metadata about where and when the information was collected.