The Noisy Channel


The Guardian Gets Openness

March 10th, 2009 · 3 Comments · General

Now that the Guardian Open Platform is live, I wanted to share some first impressions. Full disclosure: the Guardian is an Endeca customer. Still, my impressions are my own.

What the Guardian has released are a Content API and a Data Store, sets of publicly-available data made available for free. Here is the gem:

The APIs will feature ‘full fat’ feeds with full articles and other content including video, audio and photo galleries, some one million pieces of content published on from 1999-2008.

Of course, the Guardian’s decision to open up its APIs opens up inevitable comparisons to the New York Times for its recent opening up. But I think the Guardian is taking its effort a significant step further. The New York Times has only released its full archival content under non-commercial terms. Its article search and newswire APIs are nice, but they aren’t full fat feeds. Perhaps the closest comparison would be  to Reuters Spotlight–but that is a non-commercial effort.

What the Guardian has done right is to offer openness in the context of commercial use. Here is the relevant section of their terms and conditions:

8. Advertising and Commercial Use

(a) If requested, you will as a condition of your licence to publish OPG Content, display on Your Website any advertisement that we supply to you together with the relevant OPG Content. You shall comply with our instructions regarding the position, form and size of such advertisements on Your Website. Such instructions may be notified to you directly or posted on the OPG Site.

(b) You may attach third party advertising to Your Website, which includes OPG Content, without accounting to us for any share in the revenue generated by such advertising, provided that:
• You do not associate OPG Content, directly or indirectly, with advertisements or advertisers that could be regarded by us as illegal or discriminatory.
• You comply with any additional restrictions that we may introduce from time to time as part of the OPG Terms.

(c) You may not syndicate or otherwise charge a fee for access to OPG Content.

That strikes me as eminently reasonable.

I’ve been looking forward to this launch for a while–unfortunately, my inside knowledge meant that I couldn’t be entirely open myself! But today I’m proud to see the Guardian continuing its tradition of leading the way in online media.

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jason Adams // Mar 10, 2009 at 9:50 am

    This looks like an API worth trying out. I’m hoping their openness will encourage the NYTimes to do the same — the lack of the complete text in the results of their articles API was really disappointing.

  • 2 Daniel Tunkelang // Mar 10, 2009 at 10:09 am

    I certainly hope so. This is the sort of arms race I’m happy to encourage!

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