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Open Data: A New tool for Government

by on Oct 02, 2012

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The strategists say that open data from high quality APIs has the potential to transform public services. One example where this is proving to be the case is legislation.gov.uk, the official UK ...

The strategists say that open data from high quality APIs has the potential to transform public services. One example where this is proving to be the case is legislation.gov.uk, the official UK legislation website, operated by The National Archives.

With legislation.gov.uk we aimed to open-up access to the government’s legislation database, by creating an API first. The legislation.gov.uk API allows anyone to access the data we hold in the database, or to use the services we have built. We wanted to show that government could create a high-quality, technically sophisticated API, following the principles of both REST and Linked Data. We also wanted our API to be fully open, with no restrictions on use, and no need to register before using it.

The API is enabling us to develop an entirely new approach to updating legislation, inspired by the open source software movement – our Expert Participation Programme. We are inviting people from outside The National Archives to work with us, to apply changes to the legislation in the database. Quality is maintained through our editorial practice and a stringent process of review. This is an exciting new operating model for maintaining open government data.

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