In September I blogged about Chris Taggart’s website Open Charities, which opened up data from the Charity Commission website.
Today Taggart – along with Rob McKinnon – launches Open Corporates, which opens up companies information. This is a huge undertaking, but a vital one. As the site’s About page explains:
“Few parts of the corporate world are limited to a single country, and so the world needs a way of bringing the information together in a single place, and more than that, a place that’s accessible to anyone, not just those who subscribe to proprietary datasets.”
Taggart and McKinnon are well placed to do this. In addition to charities data, Taggart has created websites that make it easier to interrogate council spending data and hyperlocal websites; McKinnon has done the same for the New Zealand parliament and UK lobbying.
Below is a video explaining how you can interrogate data from the site using Google Refine. The site promises an API soon.
Having made significant inroads in opening up council and local election data, Chris Taggart has now opened up charities data from the less-than-open Charity Commission website. The result: a new website – Open Charities.
The man deserves a round of applause. Charity data is enormously important in all sorts of ways – and is likely to become more so as the government leans on the third sector to take on a bigger role in providing public services. Making it easier to join the dots between charitable organisations, the private and public sector, contracts and individuals – which is what Open Charities does – will help journalists and bloggers enormously.
A blog post by Chris explains the site and its background in more depth. In it he explains that:
“For now, it’s just a the simplest of things, a web application with a unique URL for every charity based on its charity number, and with the basic information for each charity available as data (XML, JSON and RDF). It’s also searchable, and sortable by most recent income and spending, and for linked data people there are dereferenceable Resource URIs.
“The entire database is available to download and reuse (under an open, share-alike attribution licence). It’s a compressed CSV file, weighing in at just under 20MB for the compressed version, and should probably only attempted by those familiar with manipulating large datasets (don’t try opening it up in your spreadsheet, for example). I’m also in the process of importing it into Google Fusion Tables (it’s still churning away in the background) and will post a link when it’s done.”
Chris promises to add more features “if there’s any interest”.
Well, go on…