“Big Data”

A term used when the amount of data that an organization needs to manage reaches a critical size that requires new technological approaches to their storage, processing and use.


Reinterpretable representations of information in a formalized manner suitable for communication, interpretation, or processing. Machine-readableIn a form that can be used and understood by a computer.


Structured and documented data collection on which re-users rely.


OData (Open Data Protocol) is an OASIS standard that defines a set of best practices for building and consuming RESTful APIs. As of 2015, the House of Commons has adopted OData v4.0 for exposing progressively data sets.

Open data

Structured data that is machine-readable, freely shared, used and built on without restrictions.

“Open House”

A governing culture that holds that the public has the right to access the documents and proceedings of the House of Commons to allow for greater openness, accountability, and engagement.

Open information

Unstructured information that is freely shared without restrictions.

Structured information

Digital information residing in fixed fields within a repository.

Unstructured information

Digital information that is often created in free-form text using common desktop applications such as e-mail, word-processing, or presentation applications.


XML is a file extension for an Extensible Markup Language (XML) file format used to create common information formats and share both the format and the data.

Official House of Commons publications are published in the XML format (using custom schemas). This includes documents such as Bills, Journals, Debates (Hansard) and Committee Proceedings.

Complex data sets (and data sets that were published before the adoption of OData) are exposed using XML.

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