The New York Times on Thursday rolled out its latest political application program interface, just as members of the 111th Congress are settling into their new offices.
The Congress API will enable developers to keep close eye on their elected representatives with data on specific congressional roll call votes and members' most recent positions on roll call votes. The API also provides lists of House and Senate members in specific years, as well as biographical and role information about specific members.
The tool is one of a series of APIs the Times is developing to let its readers dissect the data it uses in its reporting. In October, it released an API to track campaign donations. The newspaper also released a movie review API and is working on several more, including a Times Best Sellers tool.
The information for the Congress API comes from the House and Senate Web sites, along with the Library of Congress site Thomas.gov and is updated throughout the day while Congress is in session. The tool works with information from other publicly available data sources like the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress and GovTrack.
The biographical data for House members goes as far back as 1983, while the data for House votes goes back to 1991. Developers can find information for Senate votes from as early as 1989 and information on individual Senators dating back to 1947.