To support interoperability your agency should consider making its data and data formats open.

Open file formats

(Open formats) are files that are:

  • machine readable
  • not 'locked' into a specific technology product or vendor
  • freely accessed
  • able to be reused with open source or free technologies

Depending on you agency's technology, data may not be available in an open file format and may require conversion. Some technologies enable this natively. Alternatively, Extract, Transform, Load technologies (ETL) can be used to convert data into the desired format.

TIP: When using ETL to create, maintain or remediate metadata, use the opportunity to also convert data into an open format.

Examples of common open file formats include:

Types of data Open file format

Databases

XML, CSV

Text

ODT, XML, JSON, HTML, RTF

Web Archive

WARC

Tabular Data

CSV, ODS

Geospatial Data

SHP, GeoTIFF, KML, WMS, WFS, WCS

Containers

GZIP, ZIP

Open data

Data is open when it is:

  • published in a way that is easy to find
  • freely available and accessible
  • published with licenses that allow reuse

If you make your data open, you must consider legislation and policy to ensure you have met your privacy, security, ethical and access requirements.

You should consider open file formats when you are working on open data initiatives. The Australian Government's Open Data Toolkit can help you in planning how to make your data open. The Digital Transformation Agency provides guidance on using open data to improve services.

Standards bodies for open data include:

Open data maturity

Agencies can assess their open data maturity using a common model such as the NSW Government Open Data Model. This self-assessment tool is used to assess progress towards open data publication.

Related links

Related information