What’s The Story: publicly collating TDs expenses…

Gavin Sheridan is joined by Mark Coughlan on a new blog resource called TheStory.ie, which aims not simply to open up data for public use, but they want volunteers to help them sort the data out so that it can be usefully interrogated. Mark explains what they want on a document that contains all the expenses for TDs and Senators from 1997 – 2008:

While the document as it stands contains all data relating to political donations published by SIPO (and its precursor) on every TD since 1997, it’s not complete. We’re looking for help in finishing it. If you open it up and scroll across to column R you’ll see it’s called ‘Background’. This column is far from finished. If you’ve got a minute, pick a donation that has no Background information and try and find some details relating to the donor. Google, newspaper archives, wherever you can get information, and please try and verify it is the same person.

Additionally, if you can help us refine the “Description of Donor” column, we’d appreciate it. Many of them are listed as “Company” or “Individual” and we haven’t had time to go through and give them a more accurate description, if you can take a minute and do a few we might get somewhere.

The aim is to have a document that we can analyse mathematically. So, we’re hoping to be able to say something like: “Of all declared donations since 1997, X% came from people working in the property sector/Trade Unionism/Hotel industry”, and then do the same by party and by year. We’ll also be able to give you information by party on the average value of donation, the largest donors, the occupations that donate the most, and more.

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