We applaud the arrival of “world-changing” data-manipulation technologies. But where do we see those technologies applied? In sales, maybe . . . but rarely in the changing of worlds.
Companies have APIs all over the place to access data at the snap of a finger. Meanwhile, researchers hoping to access public data—especially in the social sciences—are much more likely to find themselves downloading a slightly out-of-date Excel spreadsheet from a website that, on a nonzero number of occasions, has for some reason been unavailable when they visited it.
A lot of public datasets deserve APIs. The Armed Conflict Location and Event Database is one of them. So I made an API and a webclient. Here’s how I did it and what they’re for: