2020 - Week 9

The week felt ridiculously busy and yet, looking back, there’s not an awful lot to type about. If you’re here for the procedure modelling you might want to look away now. If you have any interest in querying procedure, Wardley mapping or general-purpose process flow modelling, do read on.

Librarian Jayne continues to wield her SPARQL spanner, this week in the direction of committees considering Statutory Instruments. We’d still like to model reporting criteria, but possibly need more insulation between data platform and website before we venture down that road.

Following a workshop on Tuesday morning, Michael found it rather difficult to settle down to actual work. So he grabbed Librarian Jayne and had an impromptu chat about the occasionally inadvertent power of ontological RDF domains and ranges. And how that might be used to design a very simple model to link procedures and routes in procedures to the legislation and Standing Orders which describe them. More next week, hopefully.

On Wednesday, Silver and Michael took a trip up east to see Ganesh. Ganesh departed the parliamentary computational section some time ago, and promptly joined the governmental one. Ganesh’s team are using entity extraction and machine learning to construct sets of triples from gov.uk services. They managed to fit in a chat about how the parliamentary procedure model might be applied to describing government services and their entitlement criteria. Michael sketched part of a flowchart for the Jobseeker’s Allowance step-by-step and got rather overexcited by the idea that, given a decent process flow model and enough access to domain expertise, Government as a Platform might finally be more than a twinkle in Tim O’Reilly’s eye. The whole thing feels dangerously close to the arguments put forward by the Rules as Code contingent. Or at least, rules as data. Which those following along at home might reasonably conclude to be the same thing. It all makes Michael feel a little icky. But still excited. More here, one hopes, shortly.

Thursday saw the return of Silver as he joined Michael in a Wardley mapping exercise for Anya’s crack team of librarians. Together they’ve wrecked a great many whiteboards, and so they’re no longer allowed to draw on them. With the help of many sheets of flipchart paper and some half-dry pens, they cobbled together something like a whiteboard and scribbled a couple of maps. One for the value chain / dependencies of the parliamentary search system and one for the slightly more modern data platform. If you squint at the bottom of this photo, you’ll see the stack of pipes, systems and librarians that goes in to making the SI and treaty trackers. Librarian positions and tasks have now been pulled out of the map and converted into spreadsheets. Michael continues to tinker with the data.