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Two Project Ideas

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  • Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us
    In case anyone on the list is bored and wants to work on a project that would be really useful, I want to extract two ideas out of the current read-the-bill
    Message 1 of 21 , Nov 4, 2006
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      In case anyone on the list is bored and wants to work on a project that
      would be really useful, I want to extract two ideas out of the current
      read-the-bill thread. (And since GovTrack has a moderate surplus at the
      moment, I could potentially fund one.)

      Project 1 - Version Tracking Bills

      Given two PDF versions of a bill (such as the bill as it was introduced
      and then as it was after being reported by a committee, or in the case
      in the other thread, as it was after being passed by the Senate and then
      again after it was following the conference committee), what are the
      additions, removals, and changes that were made?

      The idea is to have the effect of combining the Linux tools pdftotext
      and diff, but better. Or, to tweak that process so that the output is
      actually useful for a regular citizen.

      Project 2 - Collecting Advocacy Positions

      I want to display on GovTrack the positions of advocacy
      groups/individuals on particular bills. What I need is a way for
      independent organizations/individuals to enter their positions on
      bills/amendments/votes (support/oppose/ambivalent + comment), or to
      import their positions from e.g. blog entries, so that they end up in a
      common data format to be displayed on GovTrack (and any other site that
      wants to display it). This would entail creating a small website.

      --
      - Joshua Tauberer

      http://razor.occams.info

      "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
      about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report
    • Andrew Badr
      I m already working Project 2 :)
      Message 2 of 21 , Nov 6, 2006
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        I'm already working Project 2 :)

        On 11/4/06, Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us <tauberer@...> wrote:

        In case anyone on the list is bored and wants to work on a project that
        would be really useful, I want to extract two ideas out of the current
        read-the-bill thread. (And since GovTrack has a moderate surplus at the
        moment, I could potentially fund one.)

        Project 1 - Version Tracking Bills

        Given two PDF versions of a bill (such as the bill as it was introduced
        and then as it was after being reported by a committee, or in the case
        in the other thread, as it was after being passed by the Senate and then
        again after it was following the conference committee), what are the
        additions, removals, and changes that were made?

        The idea is to have the effect of combining the Linux tools pdftotext
        and diff, but better. Or, to tweak that process so that the output is
        actually useful for a regular citizen.

        Project 2 - Collecting Advocacy Positions

        I want to display on GovTrack the positions of advocacy
        groups/individuals on particular bills. What I need is a way for
        independent organizations/individuals to enter their positions on
        bills/amendments/votes (support/oppose/ambivalent + comment), or to
        import their positions from e.g. blog entries, so that they end up in a
        common data format to be displayed on GovTrack (and any other site that
        wants to display it). This would entail creating a small website.

        --
        - Joshua Tauberer

        http://razor.occams.info

        "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
        about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report


      • Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us
        ... When can we all expect to see a demo? :) But, seriously, that s great. Keep us all posted. -- - Joshua Tauberer http://razor.occams.info Strike up the
        Message 3 of 21 , Nov 6, 2006
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          Andrew Badr wrote:
          > I'm already working Project 2 :)

          When can we all expect to see a demo? :)

          But, seriously, that's great. Keep us all posted.

          --
          - Joshua Tauberer

          http://razor.occams.info

          "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
          about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report


          Andrew Badr wrote:
          >
          >
          > I'm already working Project 2 :)
          >
          > On 11/4/06, *Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us* <tauberer@...
          > <mailto:tauberer@...>> wrote:
          >
          > In case anyone on the list is bored and wants to work on a project that
          > would be really useful, I want to extract two ideas out of the current
          > read-the-bill thread. (And since GovTrack has a moderate surplus at the
          > moment, I could potentially fund one.)
          >
          > Project 1 - Version Tracking Bills
          >
          > Given two PDF versions of a bill (such as the bill as it was introduced
          > and then as it was after being reported by a committee, or in the case
          > in the other thread, as it was after being passed by the Senate and then
          > again after it was following the conference committee), what are the
          > additions, removals, and changes that were made?
          >
          > The idea is to have the effect of combining the Linux tools pdftotext
          > and diff, but better. Or, to tweak that process so that the output is
          > actually useful for a regular citizen.
          >
          > Project 2 - Collecting Advocacy Positions
          >
          > I want to display on GovTrack the positions of advocacy
          > groups/individuals on particular bills. What I need is a way for
          > independent organizations/individuals to enter their positions on
          > bills/amendments/votes (support/oppose/ambivalent + comment), or to
          > import their positions from e.g. blog entries, so that they end up in a
          > common data format to be displayed on GovTrack (and any other site that
          > wants to display it). This would entail creating a small website.
          >
          > --
          > - Joshua Tauberer
          >
          > http://razor.occams.info <http://razor.occams.info>
          >
          > "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
          > about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report
          >
          >
          >
        • John DeBruyn
          Hi Joshua: Two great projects ... what a horse race. Project 2 will likely pick up more buzz in the blogosphere and in the press than project 1. One is
          Message 4 of 21 , Nov 6, 2006
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            Hi Joshua:
             
            Two great projects ... what a horse race. 
             
            Project 2 will likely pick up more buzz in the blogosphere and in the press than project 1. 
             
            One is probably as vital, if not more so, than 2, over the long haul.  Howver, somebody else is likely to do 2.  As a consquence doing 2 first as an adjunct of GoVTrack will do more to get GovTrack the additinal attention and traffic that it deserves. I would also surmize that project 2 would invove more time and expense and that is another reason to deffer until GovTrack gains more steam. 
             
            Keep up the good work,   
             
            Thanks for all that you are doing,
             
            John 
             
            John DeBruyn Denver CO USA
             
            -----Original Message-----
            From: govtrack@yahoogroups.com [mailto:govtrack@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us
            Sent: Monday, November 06, 2006 3:48 PM
            To: govtrack@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [govtrack] Two Project Ideas

            Andrew Badr wrote:

            > I'm already working Project 2 :)

            When can we all expect to see a demo? :)

            But, seriously, that's great. Keep us all posted.

            --
            - Joshua Tauberer

            http://razor. occams.info

            "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
            about to have a truth-mitzvah. " -- The Colbert Report

            Andrew Badr wrote:
            >
            >
            > I'm already working Project 2 :)
            >
            > On 11/4/06,
            *Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us* <tauberer@govtrack. us
            >
            <mailto:tauberer@govtrack. us>> wrote:
            >
            > In case anyone on the list is bored and wants to work on
            a project that
            > would be really useful, I want to extract two ideas out
            of the current
            > read-the-bill thread. (And since GovTrack has a moderate
            surplus at the
            > moment, I could potentially fund one.)
            >
            >
            Project 1 - Version Tracking Bills
            >
            > Given two PDF versions of a
            bill (such as the bill as it was introduced
            > and then as it was after
            being reported by a committee, or in the case
            > in the other thread, as it
            was after being passed by the Senate and then
            > again after it was
            following the conference committee), what are the
            > additions, removals,
            and changes that were made?
            >
            > The idea is to have the effect of
            combining the Linux tools pdftotext
            > and diff, but better. Or, to tweak
            that process so that the output is
            > actually useful for a regular
            citizen.
            >
            > Project 2 - Collecting Advocacy Positions
            >
            > I want to display on GovTrack the positions of advocacy
            >
            groups/individuals on particular bills. What I need is a way for
            >
            independent organizations/ individuals to enter their positions on
            >
            bills/amendments/ votes (support/oppose/ ambivalent + comment), or to
            > import their positions from e.g. blog entries, so that they end up in
            a
            > common data format to be displayed on GovTrack (and any other site
            that
            > wants to display it). This would entail creating a small
            website.
            >
            > --
            > - Joshua Tauberer
            >
            >
            href="http://razor.occams.info">http://razor. occams.info <http://razor. occams.info>
            >
            > "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
            >
            about to have a truth-mitzvah. " -- The Colbert Report
            >
            >
            >

          • Andrew Badr
            I m glad to hear that people are interested. It s a friend and I working on the project. We can t devote all our time to it, but we expect to launch some time
            Message 5 of 21 , Nov 6, 2006
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              I'm glad to hear that people are interested. It's a friend and I working on the project. We can't devote all our time to it, but we expect to launch some time in February, and something that could be called a demo should be ready much sooner.

              Andrew

              On 11/6/06, Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us <tauberer@...> wrote:

              Andrew Badr wrote:
              > I'm already working Project 2 :)

              When can we all expect to see a demo? :)

              But, seriously, that's great. Keep us all posted.

              --
              - Joshua Tauberer

              http://razor.occams.info

              "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
              about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report

              Andrew Badr wrote:
              >
              >
              > I'm already working Project 2 :)
              >
              > On 11/4/06, *Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us* <tauberer@...
              > <mailto:tauberer@...>> wrote:
              >
              > In case anyone on the list is bored and wants to work on a project that
              > would be really useful, I want to extract two ideas out of the current
              > read-the-bill thread. (And since GovTrack has a moderate surplus at the
              > moment, I could potentially fund one.)
              >
              > Project 1 - Version Tracking Bills
              >
              > Given two PDF versions of a bill (such as the bill as it was introduced
              > and then as it was after being reported by a committee, or in the case
              > in the other thread, as it was after being passed by the Senate and then
              > again after it was following the conference committee), what are the
              > additions, removals, and changes that were made?
              >
              > The idea is to have the effect of combining the Linux tools pdftotext
              > and diff, but better. Or, to tweak that process so that the output is
              > actually useful for a regular citizen.
              >
              > Project 2 - Collecting Advocacy Positions
              >
              > I want to display on GovTrack the positions of advocacy
              > groups/individuals on particular bills. What I need is a way for
              > independent organizations/individuals to enter their positions on
              > bills/amendments/votes (support/oppose/ambivalent + comment), or to
              > import their positions from e.g. blog entries, so that they end up in a
              > common data format to be displayed on GovTrack (and any other site that
              > wants to display it). This would entail creating a small website.
              >
              > --
              > - Joshua Tauberer
              >
              > http://razor.occams.info < http://razor.occams.info>
              >
              > "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
              > about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report
              >
              >
              >


            • Danny O'Brien
              ... Well, be sure to ask us our position -- we d be happy to give you some publicity :) d. -- Danny O Brien, Activism Co-ordinator, Electronic Frontier
              Message 6 of 21 , Nov 6, 2006
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                On Mon, Nov 06, 2006 at 07:40:12PM -0500, Andrew Badr wrote:
                > I'm glad to hear that people are interested. It's a friend and I working on
                > the project. We can't devote all our time to it, but we expect to launch
                > some time in February, and something that could be called a demo should be
                > ready much sooner.
                >

                Well, be sure to ask us our position -- we'd be happy to give you some
                publicity :)

                d.

                --
                Danny O'Brien,
                Activism Co-ordinator,
                Electronic Frontier Foundation
                +1 415 436 9333 x121
                Become an EFF member! -- http://www.eff.org/support/
              • Scott Willeke
                Regarding Project 1: Can you recommend an example or two with PDFs that could be compared. How do you envision the difference in the output being shown? Maybe
                Message 7 of 21 , Nov 7, 2006
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                  Regarding Project 1:
                  Can you recommend an example or two with PDFs that could be compared.
                  How do you envision the difference in the output being shown? Maybe it
                  could create a report with details about each addition and removal.
                  Alternatively, a completely new PDF document with highlighted areas or
                  annotations could be shown (e.g. something like MS Word's diff
                  annotations). I'm not sure if I'll have the time to take on the project
                  but with a little more information I can give it a try. In any case I
                  think the information will be useful to anyone considering the project
                  and I think such a tool will be invaluable.

                  Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us wrote:
                  > In case anyone on the list is bored and wants to work on a project that
                  > would be really useful, I want to extract two ideas out of the current
                  > read-the-bill thread. (And since GovTrack has a moderate surplus at the
                  > moment, I could potentially fund one.)
                  >
                  > Project 1 - Version Tracking Bills
                  >
                  > Given two PDF versions of a bill (such as the bill as it was introduced
                  > and then as it was after being reported by a committee, or in the case
                  > in the other thread, as it was after being passed by the Senate and then
                  > again after it was following the conference committee), what are the
                  > additions, removals, and changes that were made?
                  >
                  > The idea is to have the effect of combining the Linux tools pdftotext
                  > and diff, but better. Or, to tweak that process so that the output is
                  > actually useful for a regular citizen.
                  >
                  > Project 2 - Collecting Advocacy Positions
                  >
                  > I want to display on GovTrack the positions of advocacy
                  > groups/individuals on particular bills. What I need is a way for
                  > independent organizations/individuals to enter their positions on
                  > bills/amendments/votes (support/oppose/ambivalent + comment), or to
                  > import their positions from e.g. blog entries, so that they end up in a
                  > common data format to be displayed on GovTrack (and any other site that
                  > wants to display it). This would entail creating a small website.
                  >
                  >
                • Aron Pilhofer
                  Not sure I agree. Both projects would be valuable, but number two would provide a heck of a lot more fodder for day-to-day reporting and analysis than number
                  Message 8 of 21 , Nov 7, 2006
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Not sure I agree. Both projects would be valuable, but number two would
                    provide a heck of a lot more fodder for day-to-day reporting and
                    analysis than number one -- both for bloggers and those of us in the
                    so-called mainstream media. Sure, #1 would generate the occasional
                    "gotchas" and so forth, but really only if you knew when and where to
                    look. There are so many changes to legislation (heck, so much
                    legislation...period) that a version tracking system wouldn't
                    necessarily make it a whole lot easier to find those hidden gems than it
                    is now.

                    Speaking for myself, and only for myself, I think number two would be
                    the kind of killer feature that would help GovTrack gain steam. Shoot,
                    maybe it's something we could partner up on. Half the battle would be
                    getting these groups to contribute on a regular and timely basis, and
                    maybe they would have the incentive to do so if they knew it was
                    something that was going to be available to a wide audience. We'd have
                    to insist on it being completely free (as in speech) and available for
                    use by anyone, but I think that's doable.

                    Anyway, it's something I'm interested in helping out on regardless...
                    aron

                    John DeBruyn wrote:
                    >
                    > Hi Joshua:
                    >
                    > Two great projects ... what a horse race.
                    >
                    > Project 2 will likely pick up more buzz in the blogosphere and in the
                    > press than project 1.
                    >
                    > One is probably as vital, if not more so, than 2, over the long haul.
                    > Howver, somebody else is likely to do 2. As a consquence doing 2
                    > first as an adjunct of GoVTrack will do more to get GovTrack the
                    > additinal attention and traffic that it deserves. I would also surmize
                    > that project 2 would invove more time and expense and that is another
                    > reason to deffer until GovTrack gains more steam.
                    >
                    > Keep up the good work,
                    >
                    > Thanks for all that you are doing,
                    >
                    > John
                    >
                    > John DeBruyn Denver CO USA
                    >
                    > -----Original Message-----
                    > *From:* govtrack@yahoogroups.com [mailto:govtrack@yahoogroups.com]*On
                    > Behalf Of *Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us
                    > *Sent:* Monday, November 06, 2006 3:48 PM
                    > *To:* govtrack@yahoogroups.com
                    > *Subject:* Re: [govtrack] Two Project Ideas
                    >
                    > Andrew Badr wrote:
                    > > I'm already working Project 2 :)
                    >
                    > When can we all expect to see a demo? :)
                    >
                    > But, seriously, that's great. Keep us all posted.
                    >
                    > --
                    > - Joshua Tauberer
                    >
                    > http://razor.occams.info <http://razor.occams.info>
                    >
                    > "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
                    > about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report
                    >
                    > Andrew Badr wrote:
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > I'm already working Project 2 :)
                    > >
                    > > On 11/4/06, *Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us* <tauberer@...
                    > <mailto:tauberer%40govtrack.us>
                    > > <mailto:tauberer@... <mailto:tauberer%40govtrack.us>>> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > In case anyone on the list is bored and wants to work on a project that
                    > > would be really useful, I want to extract two ideas out of the current
                    > > read-the-bill thread. (And since GovTrack has a moderate surplus at the
                    > > moment, I could potentially fund one.)
                    > >
                    > > Project 1 - Version Tracking Bills
                    > >
                    > > Given two PDF versions of a bill (such as the bill as it was introduced
                    > > and then as it was after being reported by a committee, or in the case
                    > > in the other thread, as it was after being passed by the Senate and then
                    > > again after it was following the conference committee), what are the
                    > > additions, removals, and changes that were made?
                    > >
                    > > The idea is to have the effect of combining the Linux tools pdftotext
                    > > and diff, but better. Or, to tweak that process so that the output is
                    > > actually useful for a regular citizen.
                    > >
                    > > Project 2 - Collecting Advocacy Positions
                    > >
                    > > I want to display on GovTrack the positions of advocacy
                    > > groups/individuals on particular bills. What I need is a way for
                    > > independent organizations/individuals to enter their positions on
                    > > bills/amendments/votes (support/oppose/ambivalent + comment), or to
                    > > import their positions from e.g. blog entries, so that they end up in a
                    > > common data format to be displayed on GovTrack (and any other site that
                    > > wants to display it). This would entail creating a small website.
                    > >
                    > > --
                    > > - Joshua Tauberer
                    > >
                    > > http://razor.occams.info <http://razor.occams.info>
                    > <http://razor.occams.info <http://razor.occams.info>>
                    > >
                    > > "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
                    > > about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    >
                    >

                    --

                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                    Aron Pilhofer
                    Database Editor,
                    The New York Times
                    Phone: 212-556-5849
                    Email: aron@...
                  • Chris Kinnan
                    Project Vote-Smart does this to some degree...I work for a non-profit advocacy group (FreedomWorks) and they query us every year. I think their site is getting
                    Message 9 of 21 , Nov 7, 2006
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                      Project Vote-Smart does this to some degree...I work for a non-profit advocacy group (FreedomWorks) and they query us every year.

                      I think their site is getting crushed today by election traffic but here is the link

                      http://www.vote-smart.org/official_five_categories.php?dist=issue_rating_category.php

                      Chris

                      On 11/7/06, Aron Pilhofer <apilhofer@...> wrote:

                      Not sure I agree. Both projects would be valuable, but number two would
                      provide a heck of a lot more fodder for day-to-day reporting and
                      analysis than number one -- both for bloggers and those of us in the
                      so-called mainstream media. Sure, #1 would generate the occasional
                      "gotchas" and so forth, but really only if you knew when and where to
                      look. There are so many changes to legislation (heck, so much
                      legislation...period) that a version tracking system wouldn't
                      necessarily make it a whole lot easier to find those hidden gems than it
                      is now.

                      Speaking for myself, and only for myself, I think number two would be
                      the kind of killer feature that would help GovTrack gain steam. Shoot,
                      maybe it's something we could partner up on. Half the battle would be
                      getting these groups to contribute on a regular and timely basis, and
                      maybe they would have the incentive to do so if they knew it was
                      something that was going to be available to a wide audience. We'd have
                      to insist on it being completely free (as in speech) and available for
                      use by anyone, but I think that's doable.

                      Anyway, it's something I'm interested in helping out on regardless...
                      aron



                      John DeBruyn wrote:
                      >
                      > Hi Joshua:
                      >
                      > Two great projects ... what a horse race.
                      >
                      > Project 2 will likely pick up more buzz in the blogosphere and in the
                      > press than project 1.
                      >
                      > One is probably as vital, if not more so, than 2, over the long haul.
                      > Howver, somebody else is likely to do 2. As a consquence doing 2
                      > first as an adjunct of GoVTrack will do more to get GovTrack the
                      > additinal attention and traffic that it deserves. I would also surmize
                      > that project 2 would invove more time and expense and that is another
                      > reason to deffer until GovTrack gains more steam.
                      >
                      > Keep up the good work,
                      >
                      > Thanks for all that you are doing,
                      >
                      > John
                      >
                      > John DeBruyn Denver CO USA
                      >
                      > -----Original Message-----
                      > *From:* govtrack@yahoogroups.com [mailto: govtrack@yahoogroups.com]*On
                      > Behalf Of *Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us
                      > *Sent:* Monday, November 06, 2006 3:48 PM
                      > *To:* govtrack@yahoogroups.com
                      > *Subject:* Re: [govtrack] Two Project Ideas
                      >
                      > Andrew Badr wrote:
                      > > I'm already working Project 2 :)
                      >
                      > When can we all expect to see a demo? :)
                      >
                      > But, seriously, that's great. Keep us all posted.
                      >
                      > --
                      > - Joshua Tauberer
                      >
                      > http://razor.occams.info < http://razor.occams.info>
                      >
                      > "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
                      > about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report
                      >
                      > Andrew Badr wrote:
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > I'm already working Project 2 :)
                      > >
                      > > On 11/4/06, *Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us* <tauberer@...
                      > <mailto:tauberer%40govtrack.us>

                      > > <mailto:tauberer@... <mailto: tauberer%40govtrack.us>>> wrote:
                      > >
                      > > In case anyone on the list is bored and wants to work on a project that
                      > > would be really useful, I want to extract two ideas out of the current
                      > > read-the-bill thread. (And since GovTrack has a moderate surplus at the
                      > > moment, I could potentially fund one.)
                      > >
                      > > Project 1 - Version Tracking Bills
                      > >
                      > > Given two PDF versions of a bill (such as the bill as it was introduced
                      > > and then as it was after being reported by a committee, or in the case
                      > > in the other thread, as it was after being passed by the Senate and then
                      > > again after it was following the conference committee), what are the
                      > > additions, removals, and changes that were made?
                      > >
                      > > The idea is to have the effect of combining the Linux tools pdftotext
                      > > and diff, but better. Or, to tweak that process so that the output is
                      > > actually useful for a regular citizen.
                      > >
                      > > Project 2 - Collecting Advocacy Positions
                      > >
                      > > I want to display on GovTrack the positions of advocacy
                      > > groups/individuals on particular bills. What I need is a way for
                      > > independent organizations/individuals to enter their positions on
                      > > bills/amendments/votes (support/oppose/ambivalent + comment), or to
                      > > import their positions from e.g. blog entries, so that they end up in a
                      > > common data format to be displayed on GovTrack (and any other site that
                      > > wants to display it). This would entail creating a small website.
                      > >
                      > > --
                      > > - Joshua Tauberer
                      > >
                      > > http://razor.occams.info < http://razor.occams.info>
                      > <http://razor.occams.info < http://razor.occams.info>>
                      > >
                      > > "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
                      > > about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      >
                      >

                      --

                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                      Aron Pilhofer
                      Database Editor,
                      The New York Times
                      Phone: 212-556-5849
                      Email: aron@...


                    • Aron Pilhofer
                      Yeah, but isn t that after the fact? You re right, their site is getting crushed -- but if memory serves, those are issue ratings based on votes lawmakers have
                      Message 10 of 21 , Nov 7, 2006
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Yeah, but isn't that after the fact? You're right, their site is getting
                        crushed -- but if memory serves, those are issue ratings based on votes
                        lawmakers have made already. What we're talking about (I thought) is
                        something that would happen before the final vote on a bill... I don't
                        know of anyone that does that, or who would do it as well. :)

                        Chris Kinnan wrote:
                        >
                        > Project Vote-Smart does this to some degree...I work for a non-profit
                        > advocacy group (FreedomWorks) and they query us every year.
                        >
                        > I think their site is getting crushed today by election traffic but
                        > here is the link
                        >
                        > http://www.vote-smart.org/official_five_categories.php?dist=issue_rating_category.php
                        > <http://www.vote-smart.org/official_five_categories.php?dist=issue_rating_category.php>
                        >
                        > Chris
                        >
                        > On 11/7/06, *Aron Pilhofer* <apilhofer@...
                        > <mailto:apilhofer@...>> wrote:
                        >
                        > Not sure I agree. Both projects would be valuable, but number two
                        > would
                        > provide a heck of a lot more fodder for day-to-day reporting and
                        > analysis than number one -- both for bloggers and those of us in the
                        > so-called mainstream media. Sure, #1 would generate the occasional
                        > "gotchas" and so forth, but really only if you knew when and where to
                        > look. There are so many changes to legislation (heck, so much
                        > legislation...period) that a version tracking system wouldn't
                        > necessarily make it a whole lot easier to find those hidden gems
                        > than it
                        > is now.
                        >
                        > Speaking for myself, and only for myself, I think number two would be
                        > the kind of killer feature that would help GovTrack gain steam.
                        > Shoot,
                        > maybe it's something we could partner up on. Half the battle would be
                        > getting these groups to contribute on a regular and timely basis, and
                        > maybe they would have the incentive to do so if they knew it was
                        > something that was going to be available to a wide audience. We'd
                        > have
                        > to insist on it being completely free (as in speech) and available
                        > for
                        > use by anyone, but I think that's doable.
                        >
                        > Anyway, it's something I'm interested in helping out on regardless...
                        > aron
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > John DeBruyn wrote:
                        > >
                        > > Hi Joshua:
                        > >
                        > > Two great projects ... what a horse race.
                        > >
                        > > Project 2 will likely pick up more buzz in the blogosphere and in
                        > the
                        > > press than project 1.
                        > >
                        > > One is probably as vital, if not more so, than 2, over the long
                        > haul.
                        > > Howver, somebody else is likely to do 2. As a consquence doing 2
                        > > first as an adjunct of GoVTrack will do more to get GovTrack the
                        > > additinal attention and traffic that it deserves. I would also
                        > surmize
                        > > that project 2 would invove more time and expense and that is
                        > another
                        > > reason to deffer until GovTrack gains more steam.
                        > >
                        > > Keep up the good work,
                        > >
                        > > Thanks for all that you are doing,
                        > >
                        > > John
                        > >
                        > > John DeBruyn Denver CO USA
                        > >
                        > > -----Original Message-----
                        > > *From:* govtrack@yahoogroups.com
                        > <mailto:govtrack%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:
                        > govtrack@yahoogroups.com <mailto:govtrack%40yahoogroups.com>]*On
                        > > Behalf Of *Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us
                        > > *Sent:* Monday, November 06, 2006 3:48 PM
                        > > *To:* govtrack@yahoogroups.com <mailto:govtrack%40yahoogroups.com>
                        > > *Subject:* Re: [govtrack] Two Project Ideas
                        > >
                        > > Andrew Badr wrote:
                        > > > I'm already working Project 2 :)
                        > >
                        > > When can we all expect to see a demo? :)
                        > >
                        > > But, seriously, that's great. Keep us all posted.
                        > >
                        > > --
                        > > - Joshua Tauberer
                        > >
                        > > http://razor.occams.info <http://razor.occams.info> <
                        > http://razor.occams.info <http://razor.occams.info>>
                        > >
                        > > "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
                        > > about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report
                        > >
                        > > Andrew Badr wrote:
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > I'm already working Project 2 :)
                        > > >
                        > > > On 11/4/06, *Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us*
                        > <tauberer@... <mailto:tauberer%40govtrack.us>
                        > > <mailto:tauberer% <mailto:tauberer%25>40govtrack.us
                        > <http://40govtrack.us>>
                        >
                        > > > <mailto:tauberer@... <mailto:tauberer%40govtrack.us>
                        > <mailto: tauberer% <mailto:tauberer%25>40govtrack.us
                        > <http://40govtrack.us>>>> wrote:
                        > > >
                        > > > In case anyone on the list is bored and wants to work on a
                        > project that
                        > > > would be really useful, I want to extract two ideas out of the
                        > current
                        > > > read-the-bill thread. (And since GovTrack has a moderate
                        > surplus at the
                        > > > moment, I could potentially fund one.)
                        > > >
                        > > > Project 1 - Version Tracking Bills
                        > > >
                        > > > Given two PDF versions of a bill (such as the bill as it was
                        > introduced
                        > > > and then as it was after being reported by a committee, or in
                        > the case
                        > > > in the other thread, as it was after being passed by the Senate
                        > and then
                        > > > again after it was following the conference committee), what
                        > are the
                        > > > additions, removals, and changes that were made?
                        > > >
                        > > > The idea is to have the effect of combining the Linux tools
                        > pdftotext
                        > > > and diff, but better. Or, to tweak that process so that the
                        > output is
                        > > > actually useful for a regular citizen.
                        > > >
                        > > > Project 2 - Collecting Advocacy Positions
                        > > >
                        > > > I want to display on GovTrack the positions of advocacy
                        > > > groups/individuals on particular bills. What I need is a way for
                        > > > independent organizations/individuals to enter their positions on
                        > > > bills/amendments/votes (support/oppose/ambivalent + comment), or to
                        > > > import their positions from e.g. blog entries, so that they end
                        > up in a
                        > > > common data format to be displayed on GovTrack (and any other
                        > site that
                        > > > wants to display it). This would entail creating a small website.
                        > > >
                        > > > --
                        > > > - Joshua Tauberer
                        > > >
                        > > > http://razor.occams.info <http://razor.occams.info> <
                        > http://razor.occams.info <http://razor.occams.info>>
                        > > <http://razor.occams.info <http://razor.occams.info> <
                        > http://razor.occams.info <http://razor.occams.info>>>
                        > > >
                        > > > "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
                        > > > about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        >
                        > --
                        >
                        > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                        > Aron Pilhofer
                        > Database Editor,
                        > The New York Times
                        > Phone: 212-556-5849
                        > Email: aron@... <mailto:aron%40nytimes.com>
                        >
                        >
                        >

                        --

                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                        Aron Pilhofer
                        Database Editor,
                        The New York Times
                        Phone: 212-556-5849
                        Email: aron@...
                      • Steve Andersen
                        We ve built a collaborative bill tracker for progressive groups in the state of Oregon. We get a feed of legislation every night and import/update a database
                        Message 11 of 21 , Nov 7, 2006
                        • 0 Attachment
                          We've built a collaborative bill tracker for progressive groups in the
                          state of Oregon. We get a feed of legislation every night and
                          import/update a database of bills. Members of the site can track bills,
                          state their position on a bill, and see others doing the same. The
                          people using it in Oregon have found it really useful, and it has helped
                          them to see allies they maybe didn't even think about.

                          Unfortunately, I can't give you a URL as it's a password protected app.

                          The key to uptake is for the tool to be useful to the people using it. A
                          bill tracker would be a helpful tool. Throw in some web 2.0-type
                          collaboration aspects, and it's fairly compelling. While we may be
                          interested in the shared benefit for the community/movement, individual
                          users are going to be focused on what the tool does for them.

                          We built our project on Plone, the open source content management
                          system. In Oregon, the bill status is provided in machine readable form
                          every night, so we don't have to do any pdf trickery. We built our 1.0
                          version very quickly last year--the core functionality for bill tracking
                          is pretty simple. If the imports are straight-forward, like they are in
                          Oregon, it's not too tough to build.

                          Steve

                          -----Original Message-----
                          From: govtrack@yahoogroups.com [mailto:govtrack@yahoogroups.com] On
                          Behalf Of Aron Pilhofer
                          Sent: Tuesday, November 07, 2006 5:59 AM
                          To: govtrack@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: Re: [govtrack] Two Project Ideas

                          Not sure I agree. Both projects would be valuable, but number two would
                          provide a heck of a lot more fodder for day-to-day reporting and
                          analysis than number one -- both for bloggers and those of us in the
                          so-called mainstream media. Sure, #1 would generate the occasional
                          "gotchas" and so forth, but really only if you knew when and where to
                          look. There are so many changes to legislation (heck, so much
                          legislation...period) that a version tracking system wouldn't
                          necessarily make it a whole lot easier to find those hidden gems than it
                          is now.

                          Speaking for myself, and only for myself, I think number two would be
                          the kind of killer feature that would help GovTrack gain steam. Shoot,
                          maybe it's something we could partner up on. Half the battle would be
                          getting these groups to contribute on a regular and timely basis, and
                          maybe they would have the incentive to do so if they knew it was
                          something that was going to be available to a wide audience. We'd have
                          to insist on it being completely free (as in speech) and available for
                          use by anyone, but I think that's doable.

                          Anyway, it's something I'm interested in helping out on regardless...
                          aron

                          John DeBruyn wrote:
                          >
                          > Hi Joshua:
                          >
                          > Two great projects ... what a horse race.
                          >
                          > Project 2 will likely pick up more buzz in the blogosphere and in the
                          > press than project 1.
                          >
                          > One is probably as vital, if not more so, than 2, over the long haul.

                          > Howver, somebody else is likely to do 2. As a consquence doing 2
                          > first as an adjunct of GoVTrack will do more to get GovTrack the
                          > additinal attention and traffic that it deserves. I would also surmize

                          > that project 2 would invove more time and expense and that is another
                          > reason to deffer until GovTrack gains more steam.
                          >
                          > Keep up the good work,
                          >
                          > Thanks for all that you are doing,
                          >
                          > John
                          >
                          > John DeBruyn Denver CO USA
                          >
                          > -----Original Message-----
                          > *From:* govtrack@yahoogroups.com [mailto:govtrack@yahoogroups.com]*On
                          > Behalf Of *Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us
                          > *Sent:* Monday, November 06, 2006 3:48 PM
                          > *To:* govtrack@yahoogroups.com
                          > *Subject:* Re: [govtrack] Two Project Ideas
                          >
                          > Andrew Badr wrote:
                          > > I'm already working Project 2 :)
                          >
                          > When can we all expect to see a demo? :)
                          >
                          > But, seriously, that's great. Keep us all posted.
                          >
                          > --
                          > - Joshua Tauberer
                          >
                          > http://razor.occams.info <http://razor.occams.info>
                          >
                          > "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're about to
                          > have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report
                          >
                          > Andrew Badr wrote:
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > I'm already working Project 2 :)
                          > >
                          > > On 11/4/06, *Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us* <tauberer@...
                          > <mailto:tauberer%40govtrack.us>
                          > > <mailto:tauberer@... <mailto:tauberer%40govtrack.us>>>
                          wrote:
                          > >
                          > > In case anyone on the list is bored and wants to work on a project
                          > > that would be really useful, I want to extract two ideas out of the
                          > > current read-the-bill thread. (And since GovTrack has a moderate
                          > > surplus at the moment, I could potentially fund one.)
                          > >
                          > > Project 1 - Version Tracking Bills
                          > >
                          > > Given two PDF versions of a bill (such as the bill as it was
                          > > introduced and then as it was after being reported by a committee,
                          > > or in the case in the other thread, as it was after being passed by
                          > > the Senate and then again after it was following the conference
                          > > committee), what are the additions, removals, and changes that were
                          made?
                          > >
                          > > The idea is to have the effect of combining the Linux tools
                          > > pdftotext and diff, but better. Or, to tweak that process so that
                          > > the output is actually useful for a regular citizen.
                          > >
                          > > Project 2 - Collecting Advocacy Positions
                          > >
                          > > I want to display on GovTrack the positions of advocacy
                          > > groups/individuals on particular bills. What I need is a way for
                          > > independent organizations/individuals to enter their positions on
                          > > bills/amendments/votes (support/oppose/ambivalent + comment), or to
                          > > import their positions from e.g. blog entries, so that they end up
                          > > in a common data format to be displayed on GovTrack (and any other
                          > > site that wants to display it). This would entail creating a small
                          website.
                          > >
                          > > --
                          > > - Joshua Tauberer
                          > >
                          > > http://razor.occams.info <http://razor.occams.info>
                          > <http://razor.occams.info <http://razor.occams.info>>
                          > >
                          > > "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're about to
                          > > have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          >
                          >

                          --

                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                          Aron Pilhofer
                          Database Editor,
                          The New York Times
                          Phone: 212-556-5849
                          Email: aron@...






                          Yahoo! Groups Links
                        • Joe Germuska
                          ... Why is it password protected? Is it not possible to have something like that public without it being poisoned ? (I ask honestly.) Or was it more a
                          Message 12 of 21 , Nov 7, 2006
                          • 0 Attachment
                            At 7:53 AM -0800 11/7/06, Steve Andersen wrote:
                            >Unfortunately, I can't give you a URL as it's a password protected app.

                            Why is it password protected? Is it not possible
                            to have something like that public without it
                            being "poisoned"? (I ask honestly.) Or was it
                            more a "we're just getting started, so let's keep
                            it in the family."

                            >We built our project on Plone, the open source content management
                            >system. In Oregon, the bill status is provided in machine readable form
                            >every night, so we don't have to do any pdf trickery.

                            Good for Oregon! Where are these documents served? Do other states do this?

                            Joe

                            --
                            Joe Germuska
                            Joe@... * http://blog.germuska.com

                            "The truth is that we learned from João forever to be out of tune."
                            -- Caetano Veloso
                          • Steve Andersen
                            It s a project we did for customers, and one of their requirements was for it to be an invite-only system. The work these folks do around bills and fighting
                            Message 13 of 21 , Nov 8, 2006
                            • 0 Attachment
                              It's a project we did for customers, and one of their requirements was for it to be an invite-only system. The work these folks do around bills and fighting for their positions is very adversarial, and the tools they use are kept pretty close to the vest.

                              The import is done from ftp://landru.leg.state.or.us/pub

                              Steve

                              -----Original Message-----
                              From: Joe Germuska [mailto:Joe@...]
                              Sent: Tuesday, November 07, 2006 8:18 AM
                              To: Steve Andersen; govtrack@yahoogroups.com
                              Subject: RE: [govtrack] Two Project Ideas

                              At 7:53 AM -0800 11/7/06, Steve Andersen wrote:
                              >Unfortunately, I can't give you a URL as it's a password protected app.

                              Why is it password protected? Is it not possible to have something like that public without it being "poisoned"? (I ask honestly.) Or was it more a "we're just getting started, so let's keep it in the family."

                              >We built our project on Plone, the open source content management
                              >system. In Oregon, the bill status is provided in machine readable form
                              >every night, so we don't have to do any pdf trickery.

                              Good for Oregon! Where are these documents served? Do other states do this?

                              Joe

                              --
                              Joe Germuska
                              Joe@... * http://blog.germuska.com

                              "The truth is that we learned from João forever to be out of tune."
                              -- Caetano Veloso
                            • Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us
                              ... Hi, Scott. Take these two: http://www.govtrack.us/data/us/bills.text/109/hc/hc95rds.pdf http://www.govtrack.us/data/us/bills.text/109/hc/hc95enr.pdf The
                              Message 14 of 21 , Nov 8, 2006
                              • 0 Attachment
                                Scott Willeke wrote:
                                > Regarding Project 1:
                                > Can you recommend an example or two with PDFs that could be compared.

                                Hi, Scott. Take these two:

                                http://www.govtrack.us/data/us/bills.text/109/hc/hc95rds.pdf
                                http://www.govtrack.us/data/us/bills.text/109/hc/hc95enr.pdf

                                The first is the resolution after it was passed by the House (at the
                                time it was received in the Senate). The second is the final form of
                                the bill (as it was "enrolled") after the Senate passed it as well.
                                From a cursory look it seems the Senate tacked on some stuff at the end,
                                between the versions.

                                > How do you envision the difference in the output being shown?

                                A list of changes, highlighting, whatever -- as long as it can filter
                                out a whole variety of unimportant formatting changes, like line
                                numbering, section numbering, line wrapping, etc.

                                The first step is to convert it to text -- you can see the text versions
                                (from "pdftotext -layout -nopgbrk") that GovTrack makes at the same
                                addresses, just replace .pdf with .txt. Without "-layout" you get a
                                differently formatted text version that could be more useful for this.

                                Then strip out the formatting things that I mentioned above. (Obviously
                                not trivial for line wrapping, for instance.)

                                Then run a diff, but one would have to figure out how to format the
                                output of the diff so it looks like a bill again. (I have some thoughts
                                on that, for future reference, but I won't get into it now.)

                                > Alternatively, a completely new PDF document with highlighted areas or
                                > annotations could be shown (e.g. something like MS Word's diff
                                > annotations).

                                It's easier to view and navigate in HTML, so I don't think that's as
                                important, but interesting.

                                Difficult, but not impossible. I hope you give it a shot.

                                -
                                - Joshua Tauberer

                                http://razor.occams.info

                                "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
                                about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report
                              • yahoogroups-backupemail@msmith.net
                                ... there s a fork of pdftotext (also free) which has very useful -html and -xml output flags which might be a better place to start from if you don t have
                                Message 15 of 21 , Nov 8, 2006
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  On Wed, 8 Nov 2006, Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us wrote:
                                  > The first step is to convert it to text -- you can see the text versions
                                  > (from "pdftotext -layout -nopgbrk") that GovTrack makes at the same
                                  > addresses, just replace .pdf with .txt. Without "-layout" you get a
                                  > differently formatted text version that could be more useful for this.

                                  there's a fork of pdftotext (also free) which has very
                                  useful -html and -xml output flags which might be a
                                  better place to start from if you don't have tools already.

                                  http://pdftohtml.sourceforge.net/


                                  Sam
                                  www.disruptiveproactivity.com

                                  --
                                  May you always be as vivid as your hallucinations.
                                • Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us
                                  ... Ahha, I think that could be useful. Thanks for the pointer. (It s actually been integrated in the poppler-utils RPM for Fedora Core 6, if that s useful
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Nov 9, 2006
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    yahoogroups-backupemail@... wrote:
                                    > On Wed, 8 Nov 2006, Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us wrote:
                                    >> The first step is to convert it to text -- you can see the text versions
                                    >> (from "pdftotext -layout -nopgbrk") that GovTrack makes at the same
                                    >> addresses, just replace .pdf with .txt. Without "-layout" you get a
                                    >> differently formatted text version that could be more useful for this.
                                    >
                                    > there's a fork of pdftotext (also free) which has very
                                    > useful -html and -xml output flags which might be a
                                    > better place to start from if you don't have tools already.
                                    >
                                    > http://pdftohtml.sourceforge.net/ <http://pdftohtml.sourceforge.net/>

                                    Ahha, I think that could be useful. Thanks for the pointer. (It's
                                    actually been integrated in the poppler-utils RPM for Fedora Core 6, if
                                    that's useful for anyone.)

                                    For reference, the two PDFs in HTML with pdftohtml are:

                                    http://www.govtrack.us/hc95rds.html
                                    http://www.govtrack.us/hc95enr.html

                                    It's not getting the alignment of lines quite right, splitting up things
                                    on the same line, but that might not impact the task anyway since
                                    different line breaks between versions has to be ignored anyway.

                                    --
                                    - Joshua Tauberer

                                    http://razor.occams.info

                                    "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
                                    about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report
                                  • Scott Burns
                                    Instead of trying to convert PDFs and remove formatting you can get basic HTML versions of these bills from Thomas. This bill, for example, can be found here:
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Nov 9, 2006
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      Instead of trying to convert PDFs and remove formatting you can get
                                      basic HTML versions of these bills from Thomas. This bill, for
                                      example, can be found here:

                                      http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:H.CON.RES.95:

                                      From that page select the link to "Text of Legislation". You'll
                                      then be presented with a list of the different versions from
                                      different stages of the process. Pick the one you want there by
                                      selecting the link and, then, on the next page select "Printer
                                      Friendly Display". You'll then get a basic HTML display that, while
                                      somewhat ugly (see the source) should be parse-able into a DOM and
                                      then compared node-for-node to another version to find diffs.

                                      I haven't played around with the queries there enough to figure out
                                      if there's a reliable URL to get directly to the text display of the
                                      version you want, though getting to the bill summary page is easy.
                                      It shouldn't be hard to script a bot to do the navigation.

                                      HTH ...s.

                                      On Nov 8, 2006, at 7:11 PM, Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us wrote:

                                      > Scott Willeke wrote:
                                      > > Regarding Project 1:
                                      > > Can you recommend an example or two with PDFs that could be
                                      > compared.
                                      >
                                      > Hi, Scott. Take these two:
                                      >
                                      > http://www.govtrack.us/data/us/bills.text/109/hc/hc95rds.pdf
                                      > http://www.govtrack.us/data/us/bills.text/109/hc/hc95enr.pdf
                                      >
                                      > The first is the resolution after it was passed by the House (at the
                                      > time it was received in the Senate). The second is the final form of
                                      > the bill (as it was "enrolled") after the Senate passed it as well.
                                      > From a cursory look it seems the Senate tacked on some stuff at the
                                      > end,
                                      > between the versions.
                                      >
                                      > > How do you envision the difference in the output being shown?
                                      >
                                      > A list of changes, highlighting, whatever -- as long as it can filter
                                      > out a whole variety of unimportant formatting changes, like line
                                      > numbering, section numbering, line wrapping, etc.
                                      >
                                      > The first step is to convert it to text -- you can see the text
                                      > versions
                                      > (from "pdftotext -layout -nopgbrk") that GovTrack makes at the same
                                      > addresses, just replace .pdf with .txt. Without "-layout" you get a
                                      > differently formatted text version that could be more useful for this.
                                      >
                                      > Then strip out the formatting things that I mentioned above.
                                      > (Obviously
                                      > not trivial for line wrapping, for instance.)
                                      >
                                      > Then run a diff, but one would have to figure out how to format the
                                      > output of the diff so it looks like a bill again. (I have some
                                      > thoughts
                                      > on that, for future reference, but I won't get into it now.)
                                      >
                                      > > Alternatively, a completely new PDF document with highlighted
                                      > areas or
                                      > > annotations could be shown (e.g. something like MS Word's diff
                                      > > annotations).
                                      >
                                      > It's easier to view and navigate in HTML, so I don't think that's as
                                      > important, but interesting.
                                      >
                                      > Difficult, but not impossible. I hope you give it a shot.
                                      >
                                      > -
                                      > - Joshua Tauberer
                                      >
                                      > http://razor.occams.info
                                      >
                                      > "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
                                      > about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report
                                      >
                                      >

                                      --
                                      Scott Burns, Staff Technologist <sburns@...>
                                      Public Knowledge <http://www.publicknowledge.org>

                                      -- Fortifying and Defending a Vibrant Information Commons
                                    • Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us
                                      ... Right, I forgot that Thomas s HTML versions are pretty good. ... Not as far as I know also. In that case, the task may be a lot easier. Convert the HTML
                                      Message 18 of 21 , Nov 9, 2006
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        Scott Burns wrote:
                                        > Instead of trying to convert PDFs and remove formatting you can get
                                        > basic HTML versions of these bills from Thomas. This bill, for
                                        > example, can be found here:
                                        >
                                        > http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:H.CON.RES.95:
                                        > <http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:H.CON.RES.95:>

                                        Right, I forgot that Thomas's HTML versions are pretty good.

                                        > I haven't played around with the queries there enough to figure out
                                        > if there's a reliable URL to get directly to the text display of the
                                        > version you want

                                        Not as far as I know also.

                                        In that case, the task may be a lot easier. Convert the HTML into XML,
                                        and then run a difference with an XML differencing tool, such as xmldiff
                                        (a Python script, very slow when I tried it just now, but seems to
                                        actually be useful for this project and can read the HTML directly) or
                                        XyDiff:

                                        http://gemo.futurs.inria.fr/software/XyDiff/cdrom/www/xydiff/index-eng.htm

                                        Which might do the same thing faster and better, but I haven't tried.
                                        It's in C++ and needs to be compiled.

                                        --
                                        - Joshua Tauberer

                                        http://razor.occams.info

                                        "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
                                        about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report
                                      • Andrew Badr
                                        http://federallink.org/ There are several aspects of the site that aren t ready for public consumption, like the long lists of data and overall ugliness, but I
                                        Message 19 of 21 , Mar 26, 2007
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                                          http://federallink.org/

                                          There are several aspects of the site that aren't ready for public consumption, like the long lists of data and overall ugliness, but I want to get some feedback, starting with you fine folks on the govtrack mailing list.

                                          Beyond feedback, I'm looking for permanent help with coding, design, or establishing relationships with advocacy groups.

                                          -Andrew

                                          On 11/6/06, Andrew Badr <andrewbadr.etc@...> wrote:
                                          I'm glad to hear that people are interested. It's a friend and I working on the project. We can't devote all our time to it, but we expect to launch some time in February, and something that could be called a demo should be ready much sooner.

                                          Andrew


                                          On 11/6/06, Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us < tauberer@...> wrote:

                                          Andrew Badr wrote:
                                          > I'm already working Project 2 :)

                                          When can we all expect to see a demo? :)

                                          But, seriously, that's great. Keep us all posted.

                                          --
                                          - Joshua Tauberer

                                          http://razor.occams.info

                                          "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
                                          about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report

                                          Andrew Badr wrote:
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > I'm already working Project 2 :)
                                          >
                                          > On 11/4/06, *Joshua Tauberer / GovTrack.us* <tauberer@...
                                          > <mailto:tauberer@...>> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > In case anyone on the list is bored and wants to work on a project that
                                          > would be really useful, I want to extract two ideas out of the current
                                          > read-the-bill thread. (And since GovTrack has a moderate surplus at the
                                          > moment, I could potentially fund one.)
                                          >
                                          > Project 1 - Version Tracking Bills
                                          >
                                          > Given two PDF versions of a bill (such as the bill as it was introduced
                                          > and then as it was after being reported by a committee, or in the case
                                          > in the other thread, as it was after being passed by the Senate and then
                                          > again after it was following the conference committee), what are the
                                          > additions, removals, and changes that were made?
                                          >
                                          > The idea is to have the effect of combining the Linux tools pdftotext
                                          > and diff, but better. Or, to tweak that process so that the output is
                                          > actually useful for a regular citizen.
                                          >
                                          > Project 2 - Collecting Advocacy Positions
                                          >
                                          > I want to display on GovTrack the positions of advocacy
                                          > groups/individuals on particular bills. What I need is a way for
                                          > independent organizations/individuals to enter their positions on
                                          > bills/amendments/votes (support/oppose/ambivalent + comment), or to
                                          > import their positions from e.g. blog entries, so that they end up in a
                                          > common data format to be displayed on GovTrack (and any other site that
                                          > wants to display it). This would entail creating a small website.
                                          >
                                          > --
                                          > - Joshua Tauberer
                                          >
                                          > http://razor.occams.info <http://razor.occams.info>
                                          >
                                          > "Strike up the klezmer and start acting like a man. You're
                                          > about to have a truth-mitzvah." -- The Colbert Report
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >



                                        • Josh Tauberer
                                          ... Hey, Andrew. (Btw, apparently we know someone in common. Small world...) The site looks great. I look forward to being able to link from GovTrack to
                                          Message 20 of 21 , Mar 27, 2007
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                                            Andrew Badr wrote:
                                            > http://federallink.org/ <http://federallink.org/>
                                            >
                                            > There are several aspects of the site that aren't ready for public
                                            > consumption, like the long lists of data and overall ugliness, but I
                                            > want to get some feedback, starting with you fine folks on the govtrack
                                            > mailing list.
                                            >
                                            > Beyond feedback, I'm looking for permanent help with coding, design, or
                                            > establishing relationships with advocacy groups.

                                            Hey, Andrew.

                                            (Btw, apparently we know someone in common. Small world...)

                                            The site looks great. I look forward to being able to link from GovTrack
                                            to FederalLink (and hopefully to include some stats from your site on
                                            GovTrack).

                                            When you correlate the patterns of two advocacy groups, how do you
                                            select which groups to show (given the one the user is looking at)?

                                            I'd love to see some graphical representations of the data (the same way
                                            I made my political spectrum, for instance).

                                            --
                                            - Josh Tauberer

                                            http://razor.occams.info

                                            "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
                                            falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
                                            Tortoise (in "Gödel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)
                                          • Nancy Berry
                                            I went in and registered...easy, and then went into bills...great work! Nancy Berry ... From: Josh Tauberer To: govtrack@yahoogroups.com
                                            Message 21 of 21 , Mar 27, 2007
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                                              I went in and registered...easy, and then went into bills...great work!
                                               
                                              Nancy Berry


                                              ----- Original Message ----
                                              From: Josh Tauberer <tauberer@...>
                                              To: govtrack@yahoogroups.com
                                              Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2007 5:52:17 PM
                                              Subject: Re: [govtrack] Two Project Ideas

                                              Andrew Badr wrote:

                                              > http://federallink. org/ <http://federallink. org/>
                                              >
                                              > There are several aspects of the site that aren't ready for public
                                              > consumption, like the long lists of data and overall ugliness, but I
                                              > want to get some feedback, starting with you fine folks on the govtrack
                                              > mailing list.
                                              >
                                              > Beyond feedback, I'm looking for permanent help with coding, design, or
                                              > establishing relationships with advocacy groups.

                                              Hey, Andrew.

                                              (Btw, apparently we know someone in common. Small world...)

                                              The site looks great. I look forward to being able to link from GovTrack
                                              to FederalLink (and hopefully to include some stats from your site on
                                              GovTrack).

                                              When you correlate the patterns of two advocacy groups, how do you
                                              select which groups to show (given the one the user is looking at)?

                                              I'd love to see some graphical representations of the data (the same way
                                              I made my political spectrum, for instance).

                                              --
                                              - Josh Tauberer

                                              http://razor. occams.info

                                              "Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
                                              falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
                                              Tortoise (in "Gödel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)


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