Open Letter for Open Data

Dear Mr Welle,

On behalf of all participants of the EP HACKATHON 2014, I would first of all like to thank you for your email of 21 Jan 2014 regarding the functionality of Parltrack and how it makes available data on the work of the European Parliament.

We agree with you that this data is produced on a daily basis by the Parliament itself as a consequence of the work of its committees, its administration and secretariats, and perhaps most importantly, of its voting in plenary.
This rich set of data is of great value, in particular when we analyse, visualise, correlate and systematise it. With modern statistical techniques and visualisation tools we make it possible to "see" democracy at work in ways one couldn't imagine a few years ago.
This "visibility" brings us to the question of the quality of the software, the formats and the standards the Parliament is currently using. As far as we understand, you are personally responsible for ensuring that the Parliament's activities are conducted with the utmost transparency. Therefore we ask you to support our efforts to help the Parliament meet its own statutory requirements in this regard. 
In particular, we would be grateful if you could provide full, accurate, timely, openly licensed, open standards-based, machine-readable access to CODICT, ACTES and ITER, and a list of all other databases and their interfaces which you plan to open for public query.
It would already be very helpful if you could, as a first basic step, make data currently locked in PDFs also available in raw text format, or (preferably) XML/Akoma Ntoso.
We would be delighted to help and advise you further on how to find feasible and realistic solutions to allow the public to profit from the Parliament's data.
We remain at your disposal and thank you for your efforts to make the European Parliament a front-runner in regards to transparency among the EU's institutions!


EP HACKATHON 2014 organizers:

EP HACKATHON 2014 participants and supporters: