Week 1: 28-07-2017

After a brief hiatus we thought we should pick up on publishing weeknotes again.

These roughly cover the last three weeks. A less tardy service will follow.

Previous weeknotes can be found on the PDS blog.


Probably the most exciting development has been the new website starting to surface links to data views. Previously the pages on the site have been generated from the data service API but the API hasn’t been exposed to users. Still much work to do but it’s the first time the data service has poked its head above the waterline and it’s good to see.

Having been unceremoniously evicted from our meeting room we held our usual planning day in the sunshine in St James’s Park. Or at least the dappled shade. Much was discussed and it felt productive.

Dan, Ben, Sara, Saffiyah, Liz, and Matthieu visited the National Audit Office. Dan spoke about the new data service and search to their data analytics group and got some good leads on actual user needs for our data / API.

Lots more progress on search.

Robert took a look at the newly exposed data views and how they might support the “search types” discussed with Samu, Dia, and Aidan. He also did some email support in reply to queries about Historic Hansard.

Samu, Matthieu, and Aidan had a meeting about Google CSE where much was ironed out.

There was the usual Friday search meeting where people heard more about work with the Microsoft API, the next steps on taking search live, and preparation for hearing more from Laurence on search design.

Dia had a meeting with Dan and got feedback on the “data 101” presentation. She also met with Aidan to plan the next steps on search and is starting to write first drafts of the search strategy and roadmap with Robert.

Robert agreed the outline search go-live plan with Jamie, thought and wrote more about Opensearch elements and about extracting information from search result URLs and discussed search features with Ben, Samu, and Aidan.

He also met with Samu and Matthieu on the search API and resurrecting a “tech demo”, spoke about medium-term search work and API content, wrote some PHP, and met with Aidan on project delivery.

Data models

Michael met with Joe Fortune and had a skype call with Karin Christiansen and Anya to chat through how we better model Labour / Co-op members in both houses. We’ve updated the political bloc (party) and election models to better capture election certification.

Michael visited Prof. Michael Rush in Exeter to discuss his data on historic members of the House of Commons.

Michael, Anya, and Ben had a meeting at Newspeak House with Sym Roe, Andrew Gray, and Tony Bowden to sketch out mappings between Parliament, Democracy Club, Wikidata, and Every Politician data models. Thanks Edward.

And Michael, Anya, Ben and Silver spent a day diving into more select committee modelling. Still a work in progress but a slightly clearer sketch is on GitHub.


Robert attended the “capability reset” meeting with Julie and others, where the revised pitch was discussed and slides were looked at. He also met with Colin to hear about how he’s managing the Members’ product on the beta website.

Julie struggled with the administrivia of setting up Andy Mabbett on the procurement system. He’ll be coming in to talk to people in PDS and the Commons Library about querying Wikidata with SPARQL.

She also met with Wojciech who helped her with the developer career path.

And we gained a data and search team plant which is currently on Saffiyah’s desk sat in soil donated by Samu.