OpenSD: Not totally worthless

I’ve never been that impressed with OpenSD, the government information site created during the Gov. Mike Rounds administration.

Sure, I give Rounds credit for doing something to make government information more available to the public, but OpenSD was beset by several problems from the start. Most annoying is that it requires users to have exact terms when looking for something — if you want to know Chief of Staff Dusty Johnson’s salary, for example, you have to know that his real name is “Dustin” to find it. The search function isn’t smart enough to ask “Did you mean ‘Dustin Johnson?’”

Today, though, I actually had a positive experience with OpenSD. One of our staff members wrote a feature story about “The Whip Guy” Chris Camp, who is a new performer this year at the State Fair. I wondered how much the state is paying him, so I went to OpenSD, clicked “Payments by vendor,” and typed “Camp” in the search box.

I scrolled down in a lengthy list of results, and there it was:

Current Fiscal Year-to-Date
Vendor Invoices

as of 9/1/2011 1:52:18 AM
Invoice Information
Vendor: 12290979-  CAMP, CHRISTOPHER J
Invoice: SF081811
Document Date: 08/18/2011
Invoice Status: PAID IN FULL
Document Amount: $5,000.00
Voucher: 915761
Total Payment Amount: $5,000.00
Payment Number: XXXXXX0522
Payment Date: 08/31/2011

So the state has paid $5,000 to “The Whip Guy.” What I don’t know is whether this is a partial payment or a full payment. It says “paid in full,” but is that for the entire contract, or just one of multiple invoices? I guess we can’t have it all.

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