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Help us improve government data standards

Code on a laptop

At GDS we believe that data standards are at the core of making government work better and we’re doing lots of things to improve these standards. To make sure that our data standards fulfil the needs of technologists, we want to tap into the experience and knowledge of experts from the vibrant cross-government data community.

We’ve started mapping out guidance to publish on GOV.UK and this will follow the structure and format of the API technical and data standards guidance

What we’ve done so far

As a first step we introduced the concept of a data description language in our blog about improving how we manage spreadsheet data.

We’ve now published a proposal for the data description language on GitHub. Our proposal is attached to the schemas for tabular data challenge to help reach as much of the data community as possible.

We’ve also produced demo code, which demonstrates some of the possibilities of using a data description language and how it has the potential to automate ways of reading, interpreting and converting data. This code aims to do the following.

  1. Help users set up an HTML and Javascript input page to assist in populating and completing some data description language tags.
  2. Show how a user can quickly import data once it has been defined using the description language. One of the examples converts some data from Excel to CSV automatically on reading the tags. 

We’re also going to publish a blog post on the importance of data standards and others to discuss lineage, provenance and recommendations around particular file types.

Comment on GitHub to help us improve data standards 

We want to get as much feedback as possible from data practitioners across government on:

We would also like you to join us in community events and workshops to discuss options and ideas. Please contact  if you’re interested in taking part.

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