We are very pleased to announce that we have been awarded an Outlandish Fellowship to work on our Official Inquiries project. Our project aims to collect the key documents of official inquiries, preserve them and present them in a useful and usable form in order to make them permanently and reliably available and to present their contents such that users can search, read and analyse them quickly on an easily-navigable website with reliable links and fully-searchable text that can be browsed conveniently on a mobile device.
The support from the Outlandish Fellowship will allow us to dedicate proper time to the project and complete a basic prototype demonstrating the value and feasibility of the project. The funding will allow us to develop a pilot featuring 2-3 reports which we will use to test the full methodology of our project and get the website up and operational. Specifically, we will use the funding to create:
- A repository of open and machine readable versions of reports
- A clear and simple contribution pathway so that others can start contributing
- An Official Inquiries website with full text search and deep linking for 2-3 reports
- Documentation of our small-pieces-loosely-joined architecture and approach so that it is re-useable by others.
Official inquiries are a rich source of important information on public affairs and often serve as the primary source for news coverage of major events like the Financial Crisis or the Iraq War. Their reports contain information that was obtained by governments with the power to subpoena individuals and organisations – detailed, reliable and without omission. Yet, the online accessibility of these reports is relatively limited. We want to make sure that they are as easily available and accessible to the public as possible and that they stay that way.
While it is just a pilot, one of our aims is to create a process that allows other to join in easily, allowing the project to expand on a community basis. If you would like to get involved we would love to hear from you.