The open project allows data on the work of the Assembly and its Committees to be published in its raw form, increasing the ways in which the data can be used.
Those looking to manipulate the information available will be able to copy, publish and adapt it along with other statistics and information.
The new access will no doubt appeal to researchers and journalists too as both are naturally hungry for details to support news events and to publish papers. Hopefully this will mean some great new visualisations and applications to help the public better understand the politics of their government.
To further ease of use, the information is being released in XML form and there are a number of XML Web services to help users along.
The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Mr William Hay MLA appears to be excited by the possibilities that this access will open up. He said:
“The possibilities that this project opens up are vast. It is now up to interested individuals and organisations, including lobby groups, journalists, campaign groups and data specialists to bring their ideas, creativity and skills to bear on what they create with the data and how they use and interpret it.”
Today marks the first phase of the process for opening up the Assembly data. Initially the names of MLAs and their Assembly roles, questions and answers tabled by members going back to 2007, names of departments, committees, political parties and all party groups will be released.
By 2013, the Assembly hopes to have published information on plenary and committee meetings including division results and items of business as well as data on legislation and the Official Report (Hansard).
Dataphiles go forth and create!
Hat tip: Silicon Republic