https://insidegovuk.blog.gov.uk/2017/09/11/a-public-api-for-gov-uk-content-inviting-expressions-of-interest/

A public API for GOV.UK content: inviting expressions of interest

We’re working to design, document, and prepare to support a public API for GOV.UK content. We are inviting expressions of interest from those who want to publish GOV.UK content elsewhere, or use GOV.UK content to build things, so that we can start to understand the potential value, usage, and reach a public API could have.

Please use this form to let us know what you might like to do with an API for GOV.UK content.

We will not be able to reply to all contacts but we will read and appreciate them all.

What is a content API?

A content API is a way for machines to access and republish our content.

The API for GOV.UK content will eventually provide a new way to track changes to content. Making the content history more available will help us manage outdated content, and make it easier to find current content.

This is good for transparency and helping users hold government to account. We have made an Open Government Partnership commitment to deliver an API for GOV.UK content by 2018.

The future of content

API for Content team

GOV.UK is not just a website. It is the home of government’s digital content and services, and our website is just one output. For example, our content also appears in the National Archives, on search engine results pages, and elsewhere.

A public API for GOV.UK content will help others republish up-to-date and accurate versions of government information.

The API can also enable our content to serve users in ways we haven’t imagined yet. We don’t know how or where users might want to access government content in future. In 10 years’ time we might not be consuming digital content through web pages but through digital assistants.

We need to prepare government content for the future. A public API will help us improve the way it is managed, organised and accessed.

Ben is Senior Content Designer in GOV.UK's API for Content team. You can follow him on Twitter.

6 comments

  1. Comment by Phil Gyford posted on

    Sorry if I sound a little ignorant but, as an outsider, I'm not entirely sure what you mean when you say "GOV.UK content".

    "GOV.UK" to me means "all government websites". So is this an API that will encompass the Met Office, HMRC, TfL, etc? Or, does "GOV.UK" mean something more specific to you that isn't entirely clear to me?

    And "content" to me, in the context of a website (which is, I think, the context here) means "everything on the pages". So... well, does that mean everything (text, images, statistics, etc) on every [subdomain].gov.uk website? That seems rather broad so, again, maybe you mean something more specific by "content"?

    I know you do your best to keep things clear, and to avoid jargon, so I hope you can clarify this.

    • Replies to Phil Gyford>

      Comment by Ben Hazell posted on

      Hi Phil,

      That's a good point. We'll try to say exactly what we mean by 'GOV.UK content' in the initial API documentation we're working on.

      When asking for interest we wanted to leave definitions open so that people can tell us what might be helpful. If getting metoffice.gov.uk content through the same API as content from http://www.gov.uk is helpful we'd like to know.

      However as a first step we've been mainly thinking about text content published on http://www.gov.uk. This does not include [subdomain].gov.uk.

      It may include some images or attached files like PDFs or CSVs; we're still working that out.

      So while we do want to hear about interest in any part of government content we are likely to look first at any needs for re-use of text currently published on the http://www.gov.uk website.

      Hope that helps,
      Ben

  2. Comment by Juliet Whitworth posted on

    The Local Government Association brings together a wide range of government data, which sits on many different department websites, into our data tools, LG Inform and LG Inform Plus (see http://lginform.local.gov.uk).

    We have an API of this data (see http://www.local.gov.uk/lginformapi). We'd be happy to share with you the barriers and challenges we've come across in doing this, if you're including data in your definition of 'content'.

  3. Comment by Ian Foster posted on

    Is there a list of currently available apis on all gov.uk's subdomains?

    I'm aware of ...
    http://environment.data.gov.uk/flood-monitoring/id/stations
    http://chargepoints.dft.gov.uk/api

    but trying to find a single source to list the api endpoints is a nightmare.

  4. Comment by Anthony posted on

    What ever happened to the open address register API? I remember 5 million pounds being given in 2016’s budget to explore options, had no updates since?