Guardian Crowdsources Information about Parliament Members’ Expenses

The Guardian has started an interesting project to crowdsource information about the expenses of Parliament members.

The paper explained how it plans to tap into the community to help interpret the information, which Parliament just recently made available:

“Join us in digging through the 700,000 documents of MPs’ expenses to identify individual claims, or documents that you think merit further investigation. You can work through your own MP’s expenses, or just hit the button below to start reviewing.”

“You’re amply justifying our hope that many hands can make light work of the thousands of documents released by Parliament in relation to MPs’ expenses. We, and others – perhaps you? – are still using these tools to review each document, decide whether it contains interesting information, and extract the key facts.”

The site has also created a live blog to keep track of findings as they happen.

Stuart Miles of Pocket-Lint.com said that the Telegraph took a different approach and at one point had 26 trained journalists working on the paper’s coverage of Parliament members’ expenses.

“Rather than hire a crack team to sit there for hours, days, months, and possibly years,” Miles wrote, “[The Guardian] has uploaded the whole lot to a shared document reader, a la Google Docs, and is letting Joe Public do the finding.”

Opening data up to your audience members as The Guardian has done is a way to give them the details they seek and an opportunity to harness the power of the crowd to find abuses faster.

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