Linked data is opening 800 years of UK legal info

The new site brings the semantic web into government.

Earlier this month, the National Archives of the United Kingdom launched to provide public access to a primary source of legal information for citizens. covers more than 800 years of legal history in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

When I heard about the new site, I dialed up John Sheridan (@johnlsheridan), head of e-services and strategy at the UK’s National Archives, to talk about its implications for open government. Our conversation is embedded as a podcast in this post.

For more on the technologies, inspirations and aspirations for the project, read Sheridan’s comprehensive post on at the Cornell Law School.

As Sheridan writes there:

We aimed to make a source of open data from the outset.  The importance of open legal data is made powerfully by people like Carl Malamud and the Law.Gov campaign. Our desire to make the statute book available as open data motivated a number of technology choices we made. For example, the website is built on top of an open Application Programming Interface (API). The same API is available for others to use to access the raw data.

For more on the growing semantic web of data, watch the video of Tim Berners-Lee embedded below:


Gov 2.0 SummitOpen data is on the agenda for the Gov 2.0 Summit, being held September 7-8 in Washington D.C. Request an invitation.

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