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Question on New Bill XML

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  • telos3k
    What s the current thinking on having github.com/unitedstates/congress replace the traditional govtrack bill data, as congress-legislators replaced people.xml?
    Message 1 of 3 , May 22, 2013
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      What's the current thinking on having github.com/unitedstates/congress replace the traditional govtrack bill data, as congress-legislators replaced people.xml? Is the github data complete enough to use instead of the bill data for the 113th, or would that be making the transition prematurely? One thing I've noticed, for example, is that there seems to be fewer roll call votes in github (how = 'roll') than in data/us/113/rolls.
      Related question: Is there a list somewhere of all the possible values for the github.com/unitedstates/congress fields (such as official_activity.state)?

      As always, many thanks for your great work.

      Bradley
    • Eric Mill
      I think we just discussed the vote discrepancy in our issue tracker: https://github.com/unitedstates/congress/issues/70 Basically, bill data from THOMAS (which
      Message 2 of 3 , May 22, 2013
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        I think we just discussed the vote discrepancy in our issue tracker:

        Basically, bill data from THOMAS (which has actions, of which some have a 'how' of 'roll') is always going to be worse at detecting roll call votes than the roll call data itself (the "rolls" dataset), which is pulled directly from the House and Senate. Figuring out when bill data on THOMAS mentions a vote is a matter of tricky sentence parsing, so it only commits to catching votes on final passage of a bill (and I think cloture). So it lets a lot of procedural votes go by.

        The github.com/unitedstates/congress project has collectors for both bill data from THOMAS, and roll call data from the House/Senate. They're both used in production in different places, so I think the project is ready for use.

        The closest thing to documenting fields is on the wiki page for the project:

        But it doesn't list possible values for the state field right now. That could be a nice addition. Sunlight ends up documenting a lot of these fields in more detail in our Congress API documentation for bills, but that data does diverge from the unitedstates data in some ways, and we actually don't use the state field (we use the history flags instead), so it's not included there.

        -- Eric


        On Wed, May 22, 2013 at 1:40 PM, telos3k <bwbloch@...> wrote:
        What's the current thinking on having github.com/unitedstates/congress replace the traditional govtrack bill data, as congress-legislators replaced people.xml? Is the github data complete enough to use instead of the bill data for the 113th, or would that be making the transition prematurely? One thing I've noticed, for example, is that there seems to be fewer roll call votes in github (how = 'roll') than in data/us/113/rolls.
        Related question: Is there a list somewhere of all the possible values for the github.com/unitedstates/congress fields (such as official_activity.state)?

        As always, many thanks for your great work.

        Bradley



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      • Josh Tauberer
        ... The 113th Congress bill & vote data on GovTrack is derived entirely from the unitedstates/congress project, so if you re using the GovTrack data you re
        Message 3 of 3 , May 23, 2013
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          On 05/22/2013 01:40 PM, telos3k wrote:
          > What's the current thinking on having github.com/unitedstates/congress replace the traditional govtrack bill data, as congress-legislators replaced people.xml? Is the github data complete enough to use instead of the bill data for the 113th, or would that be making the transition prematurely?

          The 113th Congress bill & vote data on GovTrack is derived entirely from
          the unitedstates/congress project, so if you're using the GovTrack data
          you're already using the congress project data. If you're OK with
          running the scrapers yourself, or using those bulk data downloads, I
          recommend switching. That project is the future.

          Eventually I'll have a mirror of the congress project files the same way
          I have the current/legacy files in rsync, but I haven't gotten there yet.

          Plus everything Eric said.

          We definitely need to do better at documentation.

          - Josh Tauberer (@JoshData)

          http://razor.occams.info

          On 05/22/2013 01:40 PM, telos3k wrote:
          > What's the current thinking on having github.com/unitedstates/congress replace the traditional govtrack bill data, as congress-legislators replaced people.xml? Is the github data complete enough to use instead of the bill data for the 113th, or would that be making the transition prematurely? One thing I've noticed, for example, is that there seems to be fewer roll call votes in github (how = 'roll') than in data/us/113/rolls.
          > Related question: Is there a list somewhere of all the possible values for the github.com/unitedstates/congress fields (such as official_activity.state)?
          >
          > As always, many thanks for your great work.
          >
          > Bradley
          >
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
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