MuckRock Release Notes: Filter requests by file type to find interesting databases released through FOIA

MuckRock Release Notes: Filter requests by file type to find interesting databases released through FOIA

Plus, one last chance for a sneak peek at our new requester composer

Edited by JPat Brown

Our newest request filter makes it easier than ever to find interesting databases released as part of a public records request. Find a clever request? With the clone feature, you’re just a click away from refiling inspiring requests to free up even more public data.

For past site updates, check out all of MuckRock’s release notes, and to learn how to contribute - whether with code of your own, feature ideas, or bug reports - read below.

New request filter: File type

Want to find some MP3s for a public domain soundboard or some sample databases to brush up on your data-crunching skills? Maybe you’re curious what kind of spreadsheets you can wring out of your favorite agency.

MuckRock now lets you filter requests by filetype, so you can narrow results to just requests that got a respond that includes movie files, spreadsheets, CSVs, or any other particular filetype. You can even string filetypes together.

A screenshot of the MuckRock filetype request filter

Using the search above, for example, you can explore over 1,200 successful requests that resulted in spreadsheets being provided.

Come hack on MuckRock

Beyond testing our latest filing tool, there are lots of other ways to contribute. If you find a bug you can email us directly or open an issue.

If you do the latter, please search open issues first to make sure it hasn’t already been reported. If it has been reported previously, please leave an additional comment letting us know it’s an issue for you, particularly if you can provide more details about when it crops up or what you think is causing the problem.

For those who want to contribute design, code, or otherwise more directly to the site, we have a developer channel on the MuckRock Slack. We’re also part of Code for Boston’s weekly hack nights, which take place Tuesday evenings in Kendall Square. We might not make it to every one of them, so if you want to meet up there it’s a good idea to check in on Slack first. We will be at tomorrow’s event, barring any last-minute emergencies.

In particular, we’re looking for designers who are interested in helping us find ways to make all of our tools and data more accessible and more fun to use. We’ve got a relatively simple front end stack, so if you’re interested in helping hundreds of thousands of people better understand public records and the importance of transparency, please get in touch!

Image via Wikimedia Commons