The U.S. government plans to make more than 100,000 data sources available by the end of next week on its data.gov site, in what may be the real start of government's effort to share its vast database with the world.
Data.gov has been open for business for about two weeks but with fewer than 100 data sources available it's now just a teaser of a site.
Data.gov is cataloging data and presenting it in standard formats, such as CVS or XLS, or Keyhole Markup Language (KML) used in Google Earth and XML, among others. In many cases, agencies will develop widgets and other tools make the data accessible and interesting. A simple example is the FBI's Top Ten Wanted widget.
Sadly, I don't see any plan to place historic documents of interest to genealogists online. You can read more in an article by Patrick Thibodeau in Computerworld at http://www.pcworld.com/article/166262/government_records_go_online.html?tk=rss_news.
My thanks to Donald Gradeless for telling me about the new site.