Metadata for legislative bills and state government contracts have been added to NYOpenGovernment.com, an open government data and transparency service maintained by the New York State Attorney General, according to David Lombardo’s article entitled Project Sunlight website now offers open government link, dailygazette.com Capital Region Scene blog, 31 May 2012.
For each legislative bill, metadata in NYOpenGovernment.com include the name of the bill’s sponsors and co-sponsors, the section of the state code in which the bill is to be located if enacted, the year the bill was introduced, a summary of the bill, and a link to the full text in the New York legislature’s bill databases. On NYOpenGovernment.com bill metadata does not appear to be made available in XML. NYOpenGovernment.com does not appear to allow bulk download of bill metadata.
For each government contract, metadata in NYOpenGovernment.com include the name of the contracting agency, the vendor’s name and address, a description of the contract, agency code, contract number, the amount of the contract, and amendments to the contract. Contract metadata on NYOpenGovernment.com are made available in XML, CSV, and Excel formats. However, Derek Willis notes that on NYOpenGovernment.com identifiers for government contract records in XML, CSV, and Excel formats are irregular, making automated harvesting of these records very difficult. NYOpenGovernment.com does not appear to allow bulk download of contract metadata.
The user interface of the service enables cross-database searches — although results are not integrated — so that users can manually establish connections between information about bills or contracts, on the one hand, and information about state elected officials, campaign donations, lobbying, charities, state corporations, and “member items” — which appear to be earmarks — on the other.
The value of NYOpenGovernment.com to developers, technologists, and scholars seems quite limited, to the extent that the service does not appear to offer an application programming interface (API), the search system does not integrate results from different databases, the service does not allow bulk download of metadata, legislative metadata are not provided in XML, and the service adds unsystematic identifiers to XML versions of contract metadata records, making scraping very difficult.
Tags: Contract information systems, Contract metadata, Government contract information systems, Government contract metadata, Legal information retrieval, Legal open government data, Legislative information systems, Legislative metadata, New York open government sites, New York Project Sunlight, New York State government contracts, New York State legislative bills, New York transparency sites, NYOpenGovernment, NYOpenGovernment.com, Project Sunlight, State contracts