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[liberationtech] EveryPolitician "Destination 200" for GLOW week

Steven Clift clift at
Tue Sep 15 07:26:33 PDT 2015

Huge news:

Can you help with these remaining countries?

The text from the blog post above:

EveryPolitician – 200 countries and counting

Posted byMyfanwy15th September 2015
Posted in Projects

Amazing—we did it!

When we decided to mark Global Legislative Openness Week with a drive
to get the data for 200 countries up on EveryPolitician, in all
honesty, we weren’t entirely sure it could be done.

And without the help of many people we wouldn’t have got there. But
last night, we put live the data for North Korea and Sweden, making us
one country over the target.

The result? There is now consistently-structured, reusable data
representing the politicians in 201 countries, ready for anyone to
pick up and work with. We hope you will.

That’s not to say that our job is over… far from it! There’s still
plenty more to be done, as we’ll explain below.

Here’s how it happened

Getting the data for each country was a multi-step process, aided by
many people. First, a suitable online source had to be located. Then,
a scraper would be written: a piece of code that could visit that
source and pull out the information we needed—names, districts,
political parties, dates of office, etc—and put it all in the right

Because each country’s data had its own idiosyncrasies and formatting,
we needed a different scraper for every country.

Once written, we added each scraper to EveryPolitician’s list.
Crucially, scrapers aren’t just a one-off deal: ideally they’ll
continue to work over time as legislatures and politicians change.

The map above shows our progress during GLOW week, from 134 countries,
where we began, up to today’s count of 201.

Thanks to

mySociety’s Tony, Lead on the EveryPolitician project, worked non-stop
this week to get as many countries as possible online. But this week
we’ve seen EveryPolitician reach some kind of momentum, as it takes
off as a community project. It’s an ambitious idea, and it can only
succeed with the help of this kind of community effort. Thanks to
everyone who helped, including (in no particular order):

Duncan Walker for writing the scraper for Uganda; Joshua Tauberer for
helping with the USA data;Struan Donald for handling Ecuador, Japan,
Hong Kong, Serbia and the Netherlands; Dave Whiteland, with
ThaiNetizen helpfully finding the data source for Thailand; Team
Popong for South Korean data; Jenna Howe for her work on El Salvador;
Rubeena Mahato, Chris Maddock,Kätlin Traks, François Briatte,
@confirmordeny, and @foimonkey for lots of help on finding data;Henare
Degan and OpenAustralia who made the scraper for Ukraine; Matthew
Somerville for covering the Falkland islands and Sweden; Liz Conlan
for lots of help with Peru and American Samoa; Jaroslav Semančík who
provided data for, and assistance with, Slovakia; Mathias Huterwho
supplied current data for Austria while Steven Hirschorn wrote a
scraper for the historic data;Andy Lulham who wrote a scraper for
Gibraltar; Abigail Rumsey who wrote a scraper for Sri Lanka;everyone
who tweeted encouragement or retweeted our requests for help.

But there’s more

There are still 40 or so countries for which we have no data at all:
you can see them here. This week has provided an enormous boost to our
data, but the site’s real target is, just like the name says, to cover
every politician in the world.

And once we’ve done that, there’s still the matter of both historic
data, and more in-depth data for the politicians we do have. Thus far,
we mostly have only the lower houses for most countries which have two
— and for many countries we only have the current politicians. Going
into the future we need to include much richer data on all
politicians, including voting records, et cetera.

Meanwhile, our first target, to have a list of the current members of
every national legislature in the world, is starting to look like it’s
not so very far away. If you’d like to help us reach it, here’s how
you still can.
Steven Clift  -  Executive Director,
   clift at  -  +1 612 234 7072
   @democracy  -

Also with Knowledge Hub - steven.clift at
   World leading online public services exchange:
   Call # above or +44 203 808 1118  (After 13:00 UK time)

On Mon, Sep 7, 2015 at 4:14 PM, Steven Clift <clift at> wrote:
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: "Dave Whiteland" <dave at>
> Date: Sep 7, 2015 11:09 AM
> Subject: [Poplus] EveryPolitician "Destination 200" for GLOW week
> To: "poplus" <poplus at>
> Cc:
> Hello Poplus people
> We're having a busy week this week on EveryPolitician! For Global
> Legislative Openness Week (GLOW), we're doing a push to try to get
> data in place for 200 countries' legislatures.
> If you don't know about EveryPolitician already, this is a good time
> to find out about it. We're ambitiously aiming to store and share open
> data on every national-level legislator in the world at
> The blog post announcing our GLOW push is here:
> There are two things we're particularly hoping you may be able to help
> with (well, three really). One is to help identify sources of
> comprehensive politician data we can use or scrape. This might be
> easy, especially if it's for your country and you already know where
> there's a published list of politicians.
> Just to be clear -- we looking for comprehensive data sources, that
> is, those that contain all the current legislators. These sources
> might be pages on an official website, or they might be the work of
> civic groups like us. The data might be rich (dates of birth, twitter
> handles, and so on) or it might just be names. For example, if you can
> tell that Wikipedia has comprehensive data for a country, because you
> know that country, then we’re happy to use that. (Oh, also: current
> data is good of course, but we’d love to get historic data too, and
> that sometimes needs a little more specialist knowledge to unearth,
> but we think some of you on the Poplus list might be those kind of
> people).
> The second way to help is a bit more of a leap, and that's for
> countries where we do have a source of data, but for which we haven't
> written a scraper (yet). We'd really appreciate anyone who can write a
> scraper picking a country we haven't done yet, and making it
> happen[1].
> You can see the countries we need help with here:
> The third way to help is of course to *use* EveryPolitician data. Our
> objective in curating the EveryPolitician data the way we do [2] is to
> make it almost unavoidable that if someone builds a handy, funky, or
> profound tool for handling the data on *their* country, it will
> probably be easy for people in other countries to repurpose it. But
> I'm getting ahead of myself: *this* week is all about seeing if we can
> reach a target of 200 by identifying data sources and pulling that
> data into EveryPolitician. Thanks in advance for joining in and/or
> sharing the word!
> Yours
> Dave
> mySociety
> [1] some guidance on scrapers for EveryPolitician:
> [2] “consistent and useful”
> -- so the JSON we put
> out is Popolo (of course!) but we’re applying EveryPolitician
> conventions on how data is presented. There’s a lot of freedom in the
> spec, because it’s expressive, so we are limiting that in order to
> keep everything consistent.
> --
> - Get involved:
>    IRC: #poplus
>    Docs:
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