Political RSS Feeds

Been playing some more… And I think it’s time to fess up.

I’m in the process of building a system to generate RSS feeds for all the major political parties in Australia. You can already get the Australian Democrats feed, albeit a headline only feed (I intend to whip up a full article feed soon), but no other party seems to be providing feeds. As I use an aggregator (I use and love NetNewsWire) for all my news, and as RSS is such a great format for then sharing and repurposing information, I decided to do somthing about this problem (it’s a problem in mine, and others, view anyway).

So, I have started with some work-in-progress versions for the ALP and The Greens. These are derived from the respective news pages on each of the parties’ sites, just doing a screen-scrape. The Greens site is a mess in terms of the HTML, and the ALP site is only slightly better, but there’s enough hooks to at least generate these feeds.

I’ll be augmenting the feeds to include the auther details soon. The code is developed in .NET, and once I have a chance to clean it up I’ll be making it available under a Creative Commons licence – probably the attiribution-share alike licence.

This is all unofficial. I have yet to approach the parties about whether this is OK. I will in time, and that may result in one or more of these feeds being pulled. Hopefully, given the information I am using is publicly available, and the fact I am doing a programatic pull of the data (not modifying content in any way), will mean this won’t be a problem. We’ll see…

The ultimate goal is to create reasonably useful RSS feeds for all of the major political parties in Australia, then produce an aggregator site for all these feeds, listing entries in chronological order. I am completely open to minor parties or independents also having their feeds listed – be they candidates for seats in this year’s election, sitting members, independent, left-wing, right-wing, I don’t care. I only have so many hours in the day, so I am focussing on the major parties – ALP, Greens, Dems and Liberals. If someone else wants to put the time in to build and/or add a feed, that’s cool – I’m party neutral in that regard.

Once the feeds are in place I hope to be able to add value through categorisation, comments and trackback. But that’s some way off yet (as I am doing this in my very limited spare time).

I am completely open to others getting involved in this project, which I am dubbing “OzPolFeeds” for the moment. If anyone wants to build a feed for a party or candidate, just drop me a line via this weblog (the email link or commenting/trackback to this entry) pointing me to the feed location.