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Tag Archives: transparency

- The Elephant in the Room: Artificial Intelligence Used to Process Governor Tim Kaine’s E-mails

This article first appeared in Fall 2018 issue of Broadside, the quarterly magazine of the Library of Virginia.

 


An elephant

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

For the past seven years, that’s how we’ve been tackling the task of processing the 1.5 million e-mails transferred to the Library of Virginia in 2010 as part of the electronic records of outgoing Governor Tim Kaine. When Kaine announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 2011, the Library challenged itself to make the Kaine administration’s e-mail records available for research in time for the 2012 election. What did that entail? Basically, we had to figure out how to separate whatever portion of those 1.5 million e-mails shouldn’t be included in our online collection—either because they aren’t records of enduring value (think e-mails announcing doughnuts in the break room) or because they contain sensitive materials such as attorney-client privileged communications, privacy-protected information, or operational security details.

When we set our sights on 2012, we knew of no good way to get to our goal other than to roll up our sleeves and start reading the e-mails. It did not take long to realize that we had bitten off more than we could chew. Kaine was entering his second year in the Senate before we could announce even a partial victory. In January 2014, … read more »

- Open Data for Public Good


Governor McAuliffe signing legislation related to opioid addiction, 2017.

“Abuse of opioids continues to kill Virginians.”

Governor McAuliffe made that blunt yet true statement in a February 2017 press release announcing his signing of several House and Senate bills designed to fight the epidemic of opioid abuse and overdose. Virginia is focused on addressing the disease of addiction as well as helping individuals, families, and communities recover from and ultimately prevent the spread of substance abuse. Governor McAuliffe has been committed to finding solutions to the opioid epidemic since 2014, when he established the Governor’s Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse.

Annually, the Governor challenges all Virginians to use the government’s publicly available data (also known as open data) to help address some of Virginia’s biggest challenges. On 28 and 29 September, teams of data analysts and programmers will descend upon the Library of Virginia to do just that for the 2017 Governor’s Datathon. Their focus will be on addressing the crisis of opioid addiction in Virginia.

The first Datathon, held in 2014, started out with only state agency teams participating. The goal was to help change culture and encourage state employees to use more data and analytics in their operations and decision-making. As the Datathon has evolved, the goals became more focused on the Governor’s highest priorities. Prior challenges included addressing education outcomes, health disparities, safer roads, and diversifying the New Virginia Economy. The … read more »

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