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O'Reilly Network: Lisa Nyman Discusses Open Source in Government

Jul 18, 2002, 13:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Sam Williams)

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"Lisa Nyman is a senior Internet technologist with the U.S. Census Bureau. She is one of the co-creators of QuickFacts, a user-friendly feature on the Census Bureau's Web Page, which lets visitors track down city, county, state, and national census data using a single pulldown menu. Launched in 1998, QuickFacts uses Perl scripts, Apache Web servers, and a MySQL database to deliver increased interactivity on the site at minimal cost...

"Sam Williams: I notice that this spring you participated in the Cyberspace Policy Institute's 'Open Source & e-Government' workshop, giving a presentation on behalf of the Census Bureau. What did you discuss in your presentation and what was the reception like?

"Lisa Nyman: My colleague, Rachael Taylor, and I demonstrated some of the open source projects we use for both data collection and dissemination. We shared how open source enables us to get these projects off the ground. For example, State & County QuickFacts is an unfunded project built with open source and is one of the most popular features at the Census Bureau's Web site. Using open source and existing hardware, we could rapidly develop this application. In fact, the application also drives FedStats's MapStats statistical tables. As these applications run on different platforms, the portability of the open source we used was critical..."

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