Peppercat: the collaborative World Leaders list

What is this?

Lists of all the government ministers, and other key political leaders, from all over the world.

Why?

This sort of data is really important and useful in lots of scenarios, but is often surprisingly difficult to find. Until recently the default place to look was the CIA World Leaders list but, shortly after I wrote about how bad that was, they made that post obsolete, by, erm, shutting down that site entirely. There are some other places that collate and publish similar data, but that often comes with a significant delay, and is almost always just plain lists of names.

How are you better than that?

At a very basic level, the data here includes some extra biographical information where possible (gender, data of birth, etc), but — much more importantly — everyone is also linked to a Wikidata item. Not only does that unlock much more information about people, but it also means the Query Service can be used to slice and dice all that data in elaborate ways that go far beyond the simple CSVs provided here.

How often is the data updated?

Pretty much every day. I can't promise that everything is always completely up-to-date everywhere, but if something is out of date for more than a few days, it's likely that I've missed an announcement somewhere, so please do let me know.

Can I help more directly?

Yes, please! Like its better-known sibling, Wikipedia, Wikidata can be edited by anyone, and for over a dozen countries (and rising) this data is already kept-up-to date by other people there. No long-term committment is needed: checking from time to time that everything looks right for a country you know about, and fixing any problems, or adding more information about their politicians, is always hugely helpful.

But if fixing something yourself seems a bit too scary or difficult, or it all goes horribly wrong somewhere, just let me know by twitter or email, and I’ll see what I can do to help

How can I use this data?

At the bottom of each page of data, there’s a CSV file of everything you can see on the page. Hopefully it should be fairly self-explanatory, but if it’s not, then get in touch. (NB: I haven’t completely worked out yet exactly what should be there, so you should beware that the columns might change in later versions.)

This selection and arrangement of data is published under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 License.

API access to the data is also available through OpenSanctions.

Who are you?

This was put together primarily by Tony Bowden, with a lot of assistance from Paul Youlten and Friedrich Lindenberg, and designs from Why. But it also builds on the work of many, many others, particularly everyone who has contributed political information to Wikidata, or has worked on all the wonderful Free Software this relies so heavily on. A lot of heavy lifting is made much simpler thanks to wikibase-cli, jq, and qsv (née xsv).

How can I get in touch?

Email me at tony@peppercat.org, or talk to me on Twitter @tmtm.