API Thanksgiving to Open Government Advocates

Open government advocates have much to be thankful for this fall, because the Council has officially made its legislative data available via API.

The Council of the District of Columbia's Legislative Information Management System Application Programming Interface (or the Council’s LIMS API, if the full name is too much of a mouthful or a belly buster) takes information that was already publicly available, and makes it more digestible by providing it in a universally accessible format.

As explained by the Sunlight Foundation, while websites such as the Council’s may include a cornucopia of useful information, their format can also unnecessarily complicate data access and analysis. They can include a shifting and savory stuffing of images and narrative that can obscure the site’s core data provision.

When data is provided via an API, data analysts can gobble it up, and quickly make mincemeat of complicated data queries. The universality of information provided via API creates a plug-and-play functionality and deep flexibility regarding the myriad ways the base data can be harvested.

Let’s talk turkey: providing access to the Council’s legislative data via an API will help open government advocates better understand and inform our work. Pardon the delay. That’s worth being thankful for.

To access the Council’s API page, go to the usual LIMS page and click on the brackets API icon. The basics regarding Council API is here, and the full bounty can be seen here.