The differences between the old administration and the Obama administration will be many and massive. One difference that I hope becomes most striking is the relative transparency of the two administrations. As citizens, we deserve deep access to the decision making apparatus in the White House. The last administration was notorious for it’s opaqueness. Hopefully the Obama administration will follow through on its commitment to be bring unprecendented transparency to government.

If the new White House website is any indication, they are moving swiftly and boldly in the correct direction. Via various sources, compare the ‘robots.txt‘ file from the old site, to the new site:

Bush:
User-agent: *
Disallow: /cgi-bin
Disallow: /search
Disallow: /query.html
Disallow: /omb/search
Disallow: /omb/query.html
Disallow: /expectmore/search
Disallow: /expectmore/query.html
Disallow: /results/search
Disallow: /results/query.html
Disallow: /earmarks/search
Disallow: /earmarks/query.html
Disallow: /help
Disallow: /360pics/text
Disallow: /911/911day/text
Disallow: /911/heroes/text
…. (x 2,400)…

Obama’s:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /includes/

That’s it! An encouraging, if small, indication of where we are going. Of course, this also illustrates a more elegant design that perhaps precludes the need to disallow crawling on 2,400+ different locations. Either way, it’s so nice to see smart work coming out of the highest office in the land. On a side note, nice work to all the folks who put this together! Congratulations.