Release Notes: New API fields!

Release Notes: New API fields!

Join us Tuesday or online for our FINAL hack night before Sunshine Week

Edited by JPat Brown

Last week, we asked you what API fields you’d like to see us add. This week, we deliver, with an updated, expanded, and improved RESTful API to access more data than ever on MuckRock agencies and jurisdictions.

For previous site improvements, check out all of MuckRock’s release notes, and if you’d like to get a list of site improvements every Tuesday - along with ways to help contribute to the site’s development yourself - subscribe to our developer newsletter here.

Site updates

New and improved API fields!

Curious as to how many agencies accept email vs. fax when accepting requests? Want to see which county in America gets the most MuckRock requests? Then you’re in luck. Last week, we asked what data you wanted from the MuckRock API, and you answered. Based on your feedback, we’ve tweaked our APIs for both agency and jurisdiction information.

New fields that you can get via the API include: * Number of requests by each type are currently open in our system (open, closed, completed, etc). * Whether an agency accepts requests via portal, fax, email, or mail. * Total number of requests filed with an agency.

Other improvements: * Tweaked response time to better handle some edge cases with time zones. * Optimizations to make the API faster.

Check out our official API documentation, the publicly accessible API endpoint, and an example script that uses some of the new fields.

Come hack on MuckRock

If you’re the kind of person who gets excited about API tweaks, you might also be interested in our Tuesday meetups in Cambridge, Massachusetts, or our other open source efforts.

There’s a number of ways to help us continue to improve the core MuckRock site experience. We have a project and a weekly newsletter, “Release Notes,” that highlights everything we’re working on. Register to get a summary of site updates each week and details on open issues you can help with.

Check out some of our issues labeled “help wanted” for ideas on where’s good to start, or just pop into our Slack’s #Developers channel.

Subscribers to the weekly newsletter get exclusive data sets, FOIA-related scripts, and other transparency hacker tidbits exclusively for subscribers. You can subscribe to to the newsletter at the top or bottom of this page.

If you want to contribute better FOIA tools for thousands of requesters, there’s a number of ways to help. If you find a bug you can email us directly or open an issue on GitHub.

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.

In addition to the new newsletter, we have a developer channel on the MuckRock Slack.

Image via Wikimedia Commons