Re: [govtrack] GovTrack- state level
- Akshai Singh wrote:
> I'm curious to know how you went about setting your site up. I thinkit 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 universitystudent, I could probably scare
> some people up, so what if you could tell me what needs must beaddressed 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
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
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
"Unfortunately, we're having this discussion. It's too bad,
because guess who listens to the discussion: the enemy."