Guidance: Open Data Definitions


Contact the Open Data Program Manager via the Open Data program web page for general information.

Contact the OCIO Policy & Waiver Mailbox for additional information or to request a waiver.

Note: In order to keep OCIO policies clear and short, definitions are not part of the published policy. The section below relates to OCIO Policy 187 Open Data Planning, and was included with the draft. Terms defined here will be added to the common OCIO policy on definitions.

  • Agency and Agencies have the same meaning as in technology Policy 101 - Technology Policies and Standards (See Technology Policy 101 )
  • Data means final versions of statistical or factual information that:
    • Are in alphanumeric form reflected in a list, table, graph, chart, or other nonnarrative form, that can be digitally transmitted or processed;
    • Are regularly created or maintained by or on behalf of an agency and controlled by such agency; and
    • Record a measurement, transaction, or determination related to the mission of the agency.
  • Data set means a named collection of related records maintained on a storage device, with the collection containing data organized or formatted in a specific or prescribed way, often in tabular form.
  • Open Data means public data that are freely available, machine readable, and structured in a way that enables the data to be fully discoverable and usable by end users.
    • Open Data does not include the following:
      • Data identified by the state agency holding it as category 3 or category 4 data under the data categorization provisions of the state policy "Securing Information Technology Assets"(OCIO policy 141.10 section 4)
      • Any data set or portion of a data set to which the state agency may deny access pursuant to the public records act, chapter 42.56 RCW, or any other provision of a federal or state law, rule, interpretive policy statement, regulation or local law;
      • Data that reflects the internal deliberative process of a state agency or agencies, including but not limited to
        • negotiating positions,
        • future procurements
        • pending or reasonably anticipated legal or administrative proceedings;
      • Data subject to copyright, patent, trademark, confidentiality agreements, or trade secret protection;
      • Proprietary applications, computer code, software, operating systems, or similar materials;
      • Data related to internal state agency administration, including employment records, internal employee-related directories or lists, and facilities data;
      • Any unstructured data that cannot feasibly be converted to an open format as required by uniform standards adopted by the OCIO without undue financial, operative, or administrative burden on the state agency; or
      • Data or data sets classified as category 2 data pursuant to the state policy "Securing Information Technology Assets" (OCIO policy 141.10 section 4) that the head of a state agency, after due consideration and consultation with the OCIO, determines should not be published on the open data portal because publication would be detrimental to the public interest.
  • Open Data Portal means a public-facing state-endorsed website that presents open data offerings from multiple agencies. Currently these are: (general purpose, tabular data), (geospatial data), (fiscal data), and (business data). Generally these sites use statewide hosted domains rather than agency-specific sub-domains and conform to the state standard on host naming criteria.
  • Unstructured data includes image files, such as designs, drawings, photos, narrative documents or scanned copies of original documents.