Federal Data API - saturday 2009-03-07 0320 last modified 2009-03-11 1525
Categories: Nerdy
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They're thinking about putting some sort of machine understandable interface on congressional data instead of forcing us to reinvent the scraping Library of Congress pain that's required presently to obtain that data. My own interests in the subject of working with government data in the past couple of years waned considerably in the face of the data acquisition two-step.

I assume part of the reason the vast majority of American citizens are so disconnected from government at any level is because government is so far behind on the technology curve for making itself noticeable. I have the weather and the stock market at my fingertips, but I have no idea what my federal representatives are doing or, having moved recently, even who they are. Like floating checks of old, dependent on the efficiency limitations of physical transport, I'm sure some of the machinery of government relies on a slow pace. Our standards of awareness are changing. It's no longer enough that we have a law that guarantees Freedom of Information; there's so much of such diverse concern to so many that we need freedom of technological access to the information, too.

And it doesn't stop with the Office of Printing's sisyphean task of rolling up all official Congressional activity by start of business the next day; while some individuals have picked up on Twitter as a broadcast channel, there's so much more about what's going on on Capitol Hill that could go into an open government digital service.

They're late to this party, and I expect they always will be. But I'm glad they seem to be coming. Some of that old interest is getting rekindled with prospects of an api.congress.gov.

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