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GovTrack- state level

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  • Akshai Singh
    I m curious to know how you went about setting your site up. I think it is something that we as citizens should have available in all aspects of government,
    Message 1 of 3 , May 20 7:49 AM
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      I'm curious to know how you went about setting your site up. I think it is something that we
      as citizens should have available in all aspects of government, especially on the state level.
      On a technical level, if I'm looking for help, as a university student, I could probably scare
      some people up, so what if you could tell me what needs must be addressed on that level it'd
      be a big help (Java, html, xml?). Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
    • Scott Lay
      While not as technically advanced as GovTrack, I do a lot of similar things for California. Unfortunately, the state doesn t provide anything in XML-type
      Message 2 of 3 , May 20 9:34 AM
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        While not as technically advanced as GovTrack, I do a lot of similar things for California.  Unfortunately, the state doesn't provide anything in XML-type formats, leading to a lot of parsing and workarounds.  Anyway, feel free to play around at http://www.aroundthecapitol.com, particularly on the Pending Legislation tab.  I do something similar with state campaign contributions (under the ElectionTrack tab), and have been trying to create new feeds whenever I have time.

        Scott

        On May 20, 2006, at 7:49 AM, Akshai Singh wrote:

        I'm curious to know how you went about setting your site up. I think it is something that we
        as citizens should have available in all aspects of government, especially on the state level.
        On a technical level, if I'm looking for help, as a university student, I could probably scare
        some people up, so what if you could tell me what needs must be addressed on that level it'd
        be a big help (Java, html, xml?). Any help is appreciated. Thanks.







        YAHOO! GROUPS LINKS





      • Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us
        ... it is something that we ... especially on the state level. ... student, I could probably scare ... addressed on that level it d ... Hey, Akshai. Thanks
        Message 3 of 3 , May 20 9:38 AM
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          Akshai Singh wrote:
          > I'm curious to know how you went about setting your site up. I think
          it is something that we
          > as citizens should have available in all aspects of government,
          especially on the state level.
          > On a technical level, if I'm looking for help, as a university
          student, I could probably scare
          > some people up, so what if you could tell me what needs must be
          addressed on that level it'd
          > be a big help (Java, html, xml?). Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

          Hey, Akshai. Thanks for bringing this to the list.

          At the request of someone else, I happened to have just written a little
          thing explaining the basics of how to set up something like a GovTrack
          clone:

          http://www.govtrack.us/localtrack.xpd

          As that says, there are basically two components. The first is
          gathering up all of the relevant information, and what kind of
          information you can put together will depend on what the state you
          choose makes available online. I've had success doing this part
          programmed in Perl -- it's the type of thing Perl was original designed
          for -- but any programming language could do it to varying degrees of
          ease. This isn't a particularly difficult task to program, but it's a
          little frustrating because the information is rarely in a format that
          makes it easy to collect into a normalized database of some sort.

          The Perl programs go out and collect the data from the various
          government websites that have the information on a regular basis, on
          their own.

          The second part is letting users access the information via the web.
          (I'd be interested in extending GovTrack itself to incorporate
          state-level data, too.)

          There's a third part which is sort of... not required in any way, but
          something I strongly advocate, which is publishing all of the data
          that's collected as RDF so that it can be shared on the
          (still-not-making-much-progress) semantic web. But that's another story.

          There's been some interest in creating state-level sites in the past on
          this list, about a year ago, but that activity has seemed to have
          disappeared. Maybe this summer we'll see some real progress!

          Let me know if there's any way I, or anyone else on this list, can help.

          --
          - Joshua Tauberer

          http://taubz.for.net

          "Unfortunately, we're having this discussion. It's too bad,
          because guess who listens to the discussion: the enemy."
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