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Re: [govtrack] Local/State Gov

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  • Joshua Tauberer
    ... Okay, good. ... I m not tracking changes at that level of detail now. It s a little bit beyond the scope of what I think people would generally find
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 11, 2005
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      Scott Beardsley wrote:
      > I'm using Perl and HTML::Parser to do most of the dirty
      > work.

      Okay, good.

      > BTW - using strike and em to
      > denote changes works great visually maybe that might
      > work well for govtrack.us' RSS feeds too.

      I'm not tracking changes at that level of detail now. It's a little bit
      beyond the scope of what I think people would generally find useful.

      > If we want to eventually
      > merge federal and state (and local) data we have to
      > prevent duplicate IDs for real people.

      We're probably going to have to go through a few attempts at assigning
      common IDs before we get a good system, so I wouldn't worry about it for
      now. We can each map our own ID systems to a common naming system later.

      > I've seen your people.xml and it looks like your IDs
      > range from 300000-300159 and 400000-400661. How did
      > you pick those?

      I actually just picked up the IDs that www.opengov.us (now defunct) was
      using, two summers ago. There's no rhyme or reason to the ID assignment
      anymore, though.

      > > a format suitable for sharing federal-level data.
      >
      > SOAP?

      RDF would be more appropriate, and this is what I'm looking into now.
      See http://w3.org/TR/rdf-primer/ (I haven't read the whole thing myself.)

      Because I want to go with RDF, it would be most natural to identify
      people with URI's, e.g. I could be:
      urn://taubz.for.net/me
      And Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama could be:
      urn:govshare.info/data/people/us/congress/2003/rogers

      The actual URI itself doesn't matter, so long as we can agree on a
      system of creating them. A URI is slightly more cumbersome than a
      numeric ID, but it's more transparent. You have a good idea who a URI
      refers to just by looking at it.

      Something else to keep in mind is that we don't necessarily need to
      agree on a single URI for each person. If we find out we've assigned
      two URIs to the same person, we can annotate one URI with the reference
      to the other with something like a "this person is the same as this
      person" note.

      There's more to be said about this, but I'll come back to it in the future.

      > Also maybe people and roles should be in seperate files?

      Not too important, as long as the information is in there somewhere.

      --
      - Joshua Tauberer

      http://taubz.for.net

      ** Nothing Unreal Exists **
    • sc0ttbeardsley
      ... Try to email the governor... He seems to be pro open source maybe he ll also be pro open government. Did you see this yet:
      Message 2 of 10 , Jan 26, 2005
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        --- In govtrack@yahoogroups.com, Aaron Huslage <huslage@g...> wrote:

        > I've been working on getting the data for Oregon, however, abstracts
        > are the only things available online and there are no typed
        > transcripts at all.

        Try to email the governor... He seems to be pro open source maybe
        he'll also be pro open government.

        Did you see this yet:
        http://katu.com/stories/74397.html
      • directaction
        I m glad I found this site and am intrigued by the intent of the originators. Congratulations to this fine organization and its recent award. I hope that
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 29, 2005
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          I'm glad I found this site and am intrigued by the intent of the
          originators. Congratulations to this fine organization and its'
          recent award.

          I hope that your organization can make good use of the current
          opportunity to protect and enhance the citizen. I'm a political
          consultant. My business and my clients run campaigns which are all
          about citizen control of the government rather than the one other
          and reverse option.

          I work extensively with government data, and specifically the data
          concerning registration of voters---I use voter files on behalf of
          my clients and for our various intrusions into the "processes" of
          government", which is another way to say "getting votes".

          For the last six months, SOLID, I've been lost in a major overhaul
          of my business, and my ongoing confusion and despair is all about
          the inability to find and pay for the expertise and advice anyone
          needs when confronting the myriad technologies now available and
          indispensable for those in this field. Frankly, like it would be for
          any business, my problem is learning enough myself so that I can
          make wise choices in what technical support I need.

          Your group can go one of three ways: your proposal, which looks to
          be headed in a generally good direction; an indifferent course,
          where you either are ineffective because you never do anything or
          ineffective because you continually are in the dark about what is
          going on, and always are outmaneuvered by more knowledgeable
          operatives who for whatever reasons, are seeking something different
          than what you think is important; or you could go in the direction
          of profiting from what I think is an enormous amount of power and
          influence by closing off access to any real information and making
          damn sure that a whole lot of intentionally misleading information
          is substituted for and passed off as the real thing...and this last
          route is well-traveled, as it's been the choice of many, dating to
          the country's first day.

          I read the prior posts to this list, which included one from someone
          in Sacramento (my old home town and a town in which I've done much
          campaign work) and another post from someone in Oregon (where I now
          live and in which I do extensive campaign work) and I've included
          here some fairly lengthy comments, with examples on where to go or
          what to do in Sacramento or Oregon, but which apply elsewhere. I've
          managed campaigns all over the country, and for more than 25 years
          now, and will gladly help anyone with any information they need and
          which I might know something about.

          If your mission or goal is openness and access by the citizen to
          this thing called "government", I'm on your side. And before you
          consider that a good thing, ask yourselves "Just exactly who is our
          new ally, and what is he trying to get?"

          And remember to judge all you do and all that is done or proposed by
          others with that kind of general and reasonable examination.

          Please first consider the history and intent of all those with whom
          you deal and upon whom you rely for guidance or cooperation...for
          example: the posts concerning the Governor of Oregon, and the "open
          source" generalities, didn't mention any of the more obvious
          concerns we all must have about compilation and disposition of
          data...and as for Oregon's Governor and government, their history
          and current practices concerning such data are chock full of major
          problems. That's not to suggest that the Governor of Oregon and thw
          whole of that state's government are worse than elsewhere---no, I
          will say, however, that not a single state in this nation is
          anywhere near good or decent--- and I will also insist that not one
          of the existing state-by-state comparisons for "openness" are all
          that accurate as yet. And there are many groups which have proposed
          and are seeking the kind of openness which your group proposes to
          protect and enhance.

          Open access to all data which government compiles and/or manages is
          a hot debate being openly conducted (though I would put many
          qualifications on how to define "open", and herein, I'm not using
          it literally).

          Today, there is a real need for people to become engaged in this
          debate. And it's gotta be done right now---and the good guys better
          have some geeks with them, to translate and to inform--- so that the
          non-technically proficient among us don't get into trouble, BIG TIME
          and suddenly find that we gave away all kinds of data which is NO
          ONE's business just because we thought we were doing the right thing
          or because we didn't pay any attention when it was being opened up
          to "public" access(at the end I've attached a few lines about some
          problems which have erupted during this last election cycle).


          I suggest that you start with a review and analysis of all those
          individuals and groups who for so long have been doing or attempting
          to do what you now propose (since those groups which have goals
          similar to your own and with which I am familiar make for a VERY
          long list, I've noted only a few here).

          And let's all of us also identify the people and groups who are or
          likely will be MISUSING that same opportunity.

          As for groups you can begin with, one of your obvious tools, as well
          as a starting point for any group establishing its' intent or model,
          is the Freedom of Information Act. FOIA to put it simply, IS
          government information. You will want to consider both the original
          intent of FOIA, all of its' revisions over the years, and it's
          current implementation.

          Especially for those of you in the California, California Voter
          Foundation is a place you might go to get an overview of some of the
          info now available and to see how various interested parties are
          attempting to influence the collection of data and its' ultimate
          disposition---it's a private foundation, with an agenda (and EVERY
          ONE has an agenda, so learn the agenda of this group, too, and keep
          it in mind when evaluating what they propose---when you look into
          those who oppose some of what this Foundation advocates, you'll find
          many new avenues of inquiry).

          Right there in Sacramento you have one of the absolute best
          companies of all those which specialize in selling voter data and
          enhancements. And learn about all the major players in selling this
          data and using it for campaigns.

          If I can answer any questions or add anything of use to someone, I
          will be glad to help. Let's keep it open and only keep what we have
          a right to possess.
        • Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack
          ... Hello, and thanks! I m not sure how much intrigue there could be about GovTrack, unless you think I might have some ulterior profit motives. My intent was
          Message 4 of 10 , Jan 29, 2005
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            directaction wrote:
            > I'm glad I found this site and am intrigued by the intent of the
            > originators. Congratulations to this fine organization and its'
            > recent award.

            Hello, and thanks!

            I'm not sure how much intrigue there could be about GovTrack, unless you
            think I might have some ulterior profit motives. My intent was to
            create what you see now on the site. That's basically it.

            > I hope that your organization can make good use of the current
            > opportunity to protect and enhance the citizen.

            That's the general idea.

            > Your group can go one of three ways: your proposal, which looks to be
            > headed in a generally good direction;

            Not sure what proposal you're refering to. If you mean the 'long-term
            mission' box on the main page of the site, it's a good direction, yeah...

            > or you could go in the direction of profiting from what I think is an
            > enormous amount of power and influence by closing off access to any
            > real information

            Well, that's not my intention. That will become clearer in the next few
            months as I work on open standards for sharing information.

            > I've managed campaigns all over the country, and for more than 25 years
            > now, and will gladly help anyone with any information they need and
            > which I might know something about.

            I'm sure people will appreciate that.

            > Open access to all data which government compiles and/or manages is a
            > hot debate being openly conducted ...
            > and suddenly find that we gave away all kinds of data which is NO
            > ONE's business just because we thought we were doing the right thing

            That type of information is far beyond the scope of this mail list. All
            we're concerned about here is legislative records that are already a
            matter of public record and, for the most part, already accessible on
            the Internet.

            > I suggest that you start with a review and analysis of all those
            > individuals and groups who for so long have been doing or attempting
            > to do what you now propose

            Well, as if I have time to do a careful review and analysis of anything. :)

            > And let's all of us also identify the people and groups who are or
            > likely will be MISUSING that same opportunity.

            I can't disagree more. I have absolutely no concerns about whether
            people might misuse the data I publish. Given the type of information
            that I'm dealing with, there's simply no harm, without deliberate
            misuse, in publishing the truth. And, the same for the other types of
            information we've been talking about on this list.

            > If I can answer any questions or add anything of use to someone, I
            > will be glad to help. Let's keep it open and only keep what we have
            > a right to possess.

            Last time I checked, we've got a right to all of the information that
            we've ever talked about here. One might say more than a right to
            possess it, a duty to publish it.

            --
            - Joshua Tauberer

            http://taubz.for.net

            ** Nothing Unreal Exists **
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