2018 Week 09

Frosty, frosty week…

…glue up the windows, get out the Bovril, this is the Data and Search show, back in town, and why not?

Which is a long way of saying that cold has partly stopped play this week. But in a way that only makes sense to 808 State show nostalgics. Of which Michael is one.

Any road, weeknotes are slightly curtailed. Normal service resumes once our fingers thaw out.


Raphael went along to the Government Data Science Partnership Conference and was duly impressed. He thinks we should continue to engage with the community, as many public sector bodies are doing similar tasks around NLP and classification. Specifically there’s room for knowledge exchange around suggesting labels for documents indexed against an evolving taxonomy, comparing and evaluating performance of algorithms, and complementing human expertise with feedback pipelines. As well as applications further down the data science hierarchy of needs.

One world, one web, one team

Dan and Michael sat in on the roadmap planning session with the assorted website teams. Various coloured post-its were used. A wall was filled.

Anya and Michael went along to a talk about the Restoration and Renewal project. It was not, in all honesty, as interesting as they’d expected it to be.

Domain modelling

Anya and Michael did a little more work on the abstract procedure model. They bumped into Gordon Clarke in Tothill cafe and managed an interesting and useful chat about procedure and flows and logic and steps. Thanks Gordon. We’ll be back.

Data platform

Having helped a number of people outside Parliament to use our photo API, Chris has made some notes. If you’re interested in using photos of Members and, in the near future Peers, this is a good place to start.

Chris has also taken Anya, Silver, Ben and Michael’s work around written parliamentary questions and implemented it in the physical ontology. Wojciech is working on slurping data from business systems to match this model. Unfortunately, the data source is somewhat lacking, but we’re getting what’s there into some semblance of shape.

Our new website search continues to enjoy a rapturous reception. Thanks Cristina.

Corporate data

Matt’s House of Commons HR feed is not only live but appears to be working as expected. Which is a bonus. He’s planning to put the new asset management system integration live as soon as we have confirmation from the infosec people that it’s ok to send people data in that direction.

Lewis has continued work on the stock and finance systems integration. He’s mostly been figuring out how to change transaction summaries to line by line transactions to match the target API.

David continued work on the new facilities system.


At least this is what I think people mean when they say the C word…

Anya, Dan, Michael and Samu interviewed some prospective information architects. Gary from the Business Systems team joined the interview panel. All in all, it was a good day.

Excellent customer service award…

…has joint winners this week as Mike and Wojciech put in the leg work to help a user find things using the external version of parliamentary search.

Are topics fashionable?

Last winter they were the new range in, but fashions change and rearrange.

Did anybody say orthogonal?

Michael continued to say orthogonal. He thought it made him sound clever but other people thought he sounded like a bit of a dick.


Way, way too cold for strolls. But Anya, Robert and Michael did go on a visit to Ben’s house in Richmond where they had lunch and chatted. Someone stole Michael’s hat. Nobody was expecting borderline criminality in Richmond.

In other accessory news, Anya finally handed over the scarf she’d knitted for Dan. It took 401 days to make though not all of those were spent knitting.

Things that caught our eye