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Re: [govtrack] GovTrack- state level

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  • 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 1 of 3 , May 20, 2006

      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.







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    • 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 2 of 3 , May 20, 2006
        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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