18 March 2009

Guardian Opens Up Online Content

This month has seen The Guardian making some of its content and data freely available to developers through its Open Platform project.

Launched as a commercial initiative, Open Platform enables people to access its articles and data sets in order to create new applications and online offerings.

The beta trial makes the content available through the Content API and Data Store channels on Guardian.co.uk.

Visitors to the Data Store can access statistics on a range of subjects, from the cost of military engagements in Iraq to the makeup of the British population and the tax-paying habits of some of the UK’s biggest firms.

And developers can share their creations through a blog dedicated to the data applications built using Open Platform.

Several partners are already working with The Guardian on the project, including OpenStreetMap which is hoping to work with users to create a map of geotagged Guardian content.

Director of digital content Emily Bell believes that Open Platform is a great way for the newspaper to interact with the wider world on the Web.

“We try very hard and spend many pounds a year to put our journalism in from of a wider audience: this is another way to do that,” she writes.

“We also recognise that by opening up what we do to more people who have more expertise than we do, we can improve what we do and change the Guardian’s relationship with the web and the internet.”

And she stresses that such a project works well as an accompaniment to more traditional journalism.

“This ‘showing your insides’ approach to publishing might seem like a million miles away from the relatively controlled world of top-down journalism, but it is strangely complimentary.”

A number of news organisations are starting to make some of their content available online to developers, including the New York Times which launched its first API last year.

Visit Guardian.co.uk for more details on Open Platform.

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