[okfn-labs] Fwd: [data-protocols] New version of Popolo spec for legislative data published

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Tue Jul 16 12:02:06 UTC 2013

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: James McKinney <james at opennorth.ca>
Date: 12 July 2013 21:39
Subject: [data-protocols] New version of Popolo spec for legislative data

[ Sorry for cross-post (not sure which OKF list is most
appropriate). Originally posted to the W3C Open Government Community Group,
to which you may subscribe at:
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-opengov/ ]

Back in March I announced Popolo, a project to develop open government data
specifications, focusing on the legislative branch of government, while
remaining useful to a broad set of use cases: http://popoloproject.com/ Since
then, it's been used by mySociety in PopIt [1], by the Sunlight Foundation
in its municipal data projects [2], and it's making its way into other
projects by the Open Knowledge Foundation and others.

Today, I am happy to announce a new version that incorporates the great
feedback that I received from members of this list and others. Highlights:

- re-worked memberships to make it easier to describe simple, complex and
historical relationships between people and organizations
- re-worked the contact information model to be more flexible and to
support a wider variety of use cases
- described more ways to serialize data as JSON, in particular how to
embed, for example, memberships on a person object
- added metadata fields to all classes (timestamps and attribution)

In addition to improving the core spec, improvements have been made to the
website and related docs:

- significantly re-organized content to make it easier to find what's
relevant to you
- added appendices that include a collection of best practices and patterns
discovered through the development process

At this point, I would love to get more feedback and participation in the
following questions:

1. Is the spec useful to you? For the classes it covers (people,
organizations, memberships, contact info), is anything missing? Can you
identify any barriers to adoption, or anything you would change?
2. Is it easy for you to find answers to questions you have about the spec?
Is the language clear and easy to understand? Is the content presented in
an order than makes sense?
3. What next class can be added to the spec to make it more interesting to
adopt? Suggestions that have come up previously are: areas (like electoral
districts), events, documents and votes.

The current next steps for the project are more or less reflected in the
GitHub issue tracker [3] and are based on past comments and feedback, so
there is definitely an opportunity for you to help determine the project's

I'd especially like to thank: James Turk, Paul Tagliamonte, Thom Neale,
Eric Mill, Tom Lee (Sunlight Foundation); Matthew Sommerville, Edmund von
der Burg, Mark Longair, Tom Steinberg (mySociety); David Moore
(Participatory Politics); Robert Cheetham (Azavea); Rufus Pollock (Open
Knowledge Foundation); and Phil Ashlock for their feedback, support,
promotion, and/or implementation of the specification.

My hope is that, by increasing Popolo's adoption, different groups will not
only publish data that is interoperable, but will more easily develop
interoperable software components, making it easier for groups with fewer
resources to launch websites like http://www.theyworkforyou.com/ or

Link: http://popoloproject.com/



[1] https://github.com/mysociety/popit-api
[2] https://github.com/opencivicdata
[3] https://github.com/opennorth/popolo-spec/issues


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