The form that public data takes is important to me. When governments make data available in the right way, it can be reused--mashed up--by others to create new eGovernment applications that governments don't have the time, interest, or money to create. I wrote about enabling Web services through the use of open standards when I was Utah's CIO (here's a longer paper if you're interested).
While my discussion has mainly focused on the technical side of this, there are also important public policy issues. What data should be public, for example. Most governments have a freedom of information act, but this goes beyond that in some ways. What are the test cases and legislation around the country that touch on making public data publicly available online. If anyone is familiar with an expert who can speak to the legal and policy aspects of this important area, I'd like to be introduced. Please contact me directly.