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Re: [govtrack] Greetings

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  • James Stewart
    ... I m in Grand Rapids too. I ll email you off list, Ryan. James. -- James Stewart Play: http://james.anthropiccollective.org Work: http://jystewart.net
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 10, 2005
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      On Jun 10, 2005, at 6:25 PM, Ryan Rarick wrote:
      > My name is Ryan. I'm new to the group. I saw the blog post
      > syndicated on
      > MonoLogue and decided to give a go with helping out. I'm currently
      > in Grand
      > Rapids, Michigan and am the QA lead where I work - which happens to
      > be a
      > dotNet shop. As a part of my daily work, I write web crawling
      > scripts in
      > Perl.

      I'm in Grand Rapids too. I'll email you off list, Ryan.

      James.
      --
      James Stewart
      Play: http://james.anthropiccollective.org
      Work: http://jystewart.net
    • Scott Beardsley
      Welcome Ryan! It s exciting to see so many new names on the list. Feel free to add yourself to the wiki[1] and keep us updated on your progress via a blog. ...
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 10, 2005
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        Welcome Ryan! It's exciting to see so many new names
        on the list. Feel free to add yourself to the wiki[1]
        and keep us updated on your progress via a blog.

        > They put everything together at:
        > http://legislature.michigan.gov

        Ughh! MS Word-generated HTML; that should be outlawed.
        Everything seems linked together very nicely though.
        Not too much overlap and a lot of uniformity.

        It looks like they're using HTML tags to denote
        changes (CA uses em and strike). I'd really like to
        see a useful diff tool come out of our efforts. With
        changes traceable back to the original document.
        *wipes drool from keyboard*

        Scott
        -----
        [1] http://www.govtrack.us/dev

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      • Lucy Barber
        Hi, The lurking Ca. State Archivist is coming out of her shell. How much do you all follow the state s plans to implement XML systems for bill drafting --
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 10, 2005
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          Hi,
           
          The lurking Ca. State Archivist is coming out of her shell.
           
          How much do you all follow the state's plans to implement XML systems for bill drafting -- California is already starting one (you can see some of the plans at: http://www.ncsl.org/slides/nalit//XMLinCA_jpg_files/frame.htm)
           
          This is a presentatation given at the National Association of Legislative Information Technology
          meeting from 2004.  It appears on the website of the National Conference of State Legislature.
           
          My understanding is that many states are shifting to XML systems around now.  But the challenge is that each state may decide on a slightly different XML schema.  In addition, only part of this effort is focused on the public -- some of this is the legislative counsels advising the individual members (this consulation are covered under attorney-client privelege in California).  Still the expectation is that the resulting public part of the sites will be much more structured than today.  In California, www.leginfo.ca.gov is backward engineered from their XML software and the plan is to update that (I'm not sure how soon).
           
          So as I get ready to work on a project about the records of the e-legislature, I wanted a sense from you stakeholders of whose organizations' opinions you are watching, and what you make of them. 
           
          [The project is run from Minnesota -- see grant notice at the National Historical Publications and Records Commission: http://www.archives.gov/grants/funded_endorsed_projects/states_and_territories/mn.html).  California is in an advisory capacity only.
           
          thanks,
           
          Lucy Barber
          Electronic records archivist at the California State Archives


          ___________________________________
          Lucy Barber
          lgbarber@...
          author of Marching on Washington: The Forging of an American Political Tradition (University of California Press) Now in paperback:
          http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/9234001.html
        • Ryan Rarick
          ... One thing at a time... ;o)
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 10, 2005
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            >Ughh! MS Word-generated HTML; that should be outlawed.

            One thing at a time... ;o)
          • Scott Lay
            This is a fascinating presentation to work through...great link, Lucy. I ve spent lots of time talking to Diane Boyer-Vine, California s Legislative Counsel,
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 10, 2005
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              This is a fascinating presentation to work through...great link, Lucy.
              I've spent lots of time talking to Diane Boyer-Vine, California's
              Legislative Counsel, about the transition. I wish I could say that the
              external community will see the product of the XML changes soon, but I
              wouldn't hold my breath. They want to do it, but the Legislature is not
              really in the mood to pay for things like this now (the Leg Counsel's
              budget comes under the Legislature's budget, which is capped by initiative).

              XML would be fantastic. I spend far too much time developing silly
              parsing tricks for the bill tracking system on AroundTheCapitol.com that
              could easily be overcome with more consistent original data formats.
              I'm supposed to have lunch with Diane shortly to talk about these issues
              some more and I hope to have an update.

              Scott

              Lucy Barber wrote:

              > Hi,
              >
              > The lurking Ca. State Archivist is coming out of her shell.
              >
              > How much do you all follow the state's plans to implement XML systems
              > for bill drafting -- California is already starting one (you can see
              > some of the plans at:
              > http://www.ncsl.org/slides/nalit//XMLinCA_jpg_files/frame.htm)
              >
              > This is a presentatation given at the National Association of
              > Legislative Information Technology
              > meeting from 2004. It appears on the website of the National
              > Conference of State Legislature.
              >
              > My understanding is that many states are shifting to XML systems
              > around now. But the challenge is that each state may decide on a
              > slightly different XML schema. In addition, only part of this effort
              > is focused on the public -- some of this is the legislative counsels
              > advising the individual members (this consulation are covered under
              > attorney-client privelege in California). Still the expectation is
              > that the resulting public part of the sites will be much more
              > structured than today. In California, www.leginfo.ca.gov
              > <http://www.leginfo.ca.gov> is backward engineered from their XML
              > software and the plan is to update that (I'm not sure how soon).
              >
              > So as I get ready to work on a project about the records of the
              > e-legislature, I wanted a sense from you stakeholders of whose
              > organizations' opinions you are watching, and what you make of them.
              >
              > [The project is run from Minnesota -- see grant notice at the National
              > Historical Publications and Records Commission:
              > http://www.archives.gov/grants/funded_endorsed_projects/states_and_territories/mn.html).
              > California is in an advisory capacity only.
              >
              > thanks,
              >
              > Lucy Barber
              > Electronic records archivist at the California State Archives
              >
              >
              > ___________________________________
              > Lucy Barber
              > lgbarber@...
              > author of Marching on Washington: The Forging of an American Political
              > Tradition (University of California Press) Now in paperback:
              > http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/9234001.html
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            • Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us
              Hey, Ryan. Thanks for introducing yourself on the list. Michigan seems particularly well organized. Three people working on it might be overkill. But, it s
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 11, 2005
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                Hey, Ryan. Thanks for introducing yourself on the list.

                Michigan seems particularly well organized. Three people working on it
                might be overkill. But, it's all good (unless you all want that bounty
                for the same state...).

                If you need a hand with anything, let me know. Otherwise it sounds like
                you'll have it under control.

                My general advice has been (and I'll post this on the wiki)
                - Put together a list of the legislators, with the starting and
                ending dates of their roles in the legislature, and give everyone an ID
                - Screen-scrape bill status into XML files (not RDF since we don't
                know what the final schemas will be)
                - For going from legislator names to IDs, what I've found is:
                - You'll always get a last name that you can search in a database
                of legislators
                - Sometimes hypenated last names don't always show up the same way,
                so sometimes last names have to be mangled a bit.
                - Last names will be ambiguous, but the way first and middle names
                show up is very variable, so you need to narrow down the possible
                matches based on whatever name information is given (initial versus
                whole name, middle name, Jr/Sr. suffixes, etc.)
                - There may still be ambiguity: Two people with idential names that
                served at different times in the legislature. You'll need to eliminate
                some of the possible matches based on date information in the document.
                e.g. Bill sponsors come from just the set of legislatures serving in
                the legislature at the time the bill was introduced. (Well, unless bill
                sponsorship can be amended.)

                At some point I'll try to package up my Perl routine that does the
                name-to-ID lookup, but it's not in a form now that would be useful to share.

                --
                - Joshua Tauberer

                http://taubz.for.net

                ** Nothing Unreal Exists **


                Ryan Rarick wrote:
                > Hello,
                >
                > My name is Ryan. I'm new to the group. I saw the blog post
                syndicated on
                > MonoLogue and decided to give a go with helping out. I'm currently
                > in
                Grand
                > Rapids, Michigan and am the QA lead where I work - which happens to
                > be a dotNet shop. As a part of my daily work, I write web crawling
                > scripts in Perl.
                >
                > If you'd like a hand with the Michigan legislature site, let me know.
                >
                It's
                > one of the most straightforward government sites I've seen in a
                > while.
                They
                > put everything together at: http://legislature.michigan.gov
                >
                > I took a look around last night for about a half hour to see how
                difficult
                > things would be and Virginia looks like it'd be easily done also.
                >
                > Otherwise, I could start work on all the other states. :o) - I plan
                to be
                > around for a while.
                >
                > My time is somewhat limited as I have a 2 month old who likes to keep
                > me busy. I should have at least a few hours this weekend to start
                > parsing.
                >
                > Oh, and I hope to use a fusion of C# and Perl in developing my
                > scraping apps.
                >
                > Ryan
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