Thoughts from visiting the Census Web Services Working Group

I visited the Census Web Services Working Group this past Friday and got to hear about the ongoing plans to collect the Census data as well as how they plan on making it available via an API! We’ve got a couple of years to wait still to get our hands on it, but there were some nice prototypes from Mimas on how researchers will be able to download the 2002 census Web data along with the upcoming 2012 census web data into various research tools (SPSS and R via CSV). I Must admit I’m looking forward to getting a hold of the data myself to ask some questions about my local area’s demographics and ethnographics!

I also presented to this group some of the activities that the Digital Infrastructure Team have undertaken to build APIs and deliver them to developers (#jiscEXPO #jiscMRD #devCSI #dev8D #OSSWatch #Agile #jiscGEO etc). Here are a couple of highlights from my presentation:

http://dfflanders.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/uk-census-api/ <– A post explaining the overall value proposition for why we need to make sure to include developers as part of the social web, afterall developers are social beings as well!

http://dfflanders.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/building-and-delivering-apis-to-developers/ <– This post explains some of the significant patterns (or anti-patterns) that Paul Walk has uncovered while examining the sector’s Digital Infrastructure and how we might consider building on this pattern.

http://dfflanders.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/api-2-0-layering-your-api-for-the-social-web/ <– this post proposes an emerging pattern I’ve recently noticed in some of the #jiscEXPO projects for structuring and exposing APIs. Warning: extremely experimental.