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  • Josh Tauberer
    Hyperlinked version on the blog: http://www.govtrack.us/blog/2009/04/06/site-updates/ ... Here are a few changes that happened on GovTrack recently: Social
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 6, 2009
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      Hyperlinked version on the blog:

      Here are a few changes that happened on GovTrack recently: Social Action
      links, subject terms update, Leader-Follower scores for representatives,
      searching by sponsorship in archival data, more maps widgets, and a new
      Developers section. Read on for more.

      Subject Terms: At the start of the year the Congressional Research
      Service, an arm of Congress that assigns the subject terms to bills that
      you see on GovTrack, revised the set of terms it uses. As a result,
      trackers on old terms that are not in the new system will no longer
      generate events in your Tracked Events page or email updates. You’ll see
      a note warning you about the problem. Unfortunately the only fix is to
      look for a newer term to replace it with, if there is one. (More here.)

      Social Action: SocialActions.com is a website that scours the web for
      petitions and other community group actions to create social change. On
      bill pages we’re now linking to any community causes like petitions that
      are relevant for the bill. The social actions are in a blue box toward
      the middle/bottom of the page. Some examples:Food Safety Modernization
      Act of 2009, Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of
      2009, Fair Tax Act of 2009. You won’t see the box if no relevant
      community actions could be found for the bill.

      Leader-Follower Scores: We’ve added a new statistic to the pages for
      Members of Congress: leader-follower scores. Inspired by an idea by Joe
      Barillari (who I knew in college), this score looks at the sponsorship
      and cosponsorship patterns of Members of Congress to see if they
      consponsor others’ bills more than other Members cosponsor their bills,
      or vice versa. Basically, if Member X cosponsors Member Y’s bill but
      Member Y doesn’t cosponsor any of Member X’s bills, Member Y gets a
      point (but the actual computation is a bit more complicated). For
      example, see Minority Leader John Boehner versus relative newcomer Rep.
      Tim Murphy.

      Bill Search & Voting Records: You can now search bills by sponsor or
      cosponsor even for bills in previous sessions of Congress. This was a
      long standing item on the to-do list. Also, in similar news, you can use
      the roll call votes page to see the voting record of any Member of
      Congress in previous years and get vote comparisons between Members in
      previous years. Previously the drop-down Member lists on these pages
      would only show current Members of Congress even when a previous year
      was selected.

      New Map Widget: We have a new easier way you can embed a congressional
      district map on your webpage. If you bring up a map for a state or
      district, there is a new Map Tools link below the map. In addition to
      the other methods we’ve had, there’s now a really small code snippet
      that you can drop right into your webpage. (It uses an iframe.) It’ll
      also remember exactly how you’ve centered and zoomed the map on GovTrack.

      Developers: Finally, the site has a reorganized Developers section. See
      the Dev link at the top of every page. Nothing too new, just reorganized
      & cleaned up.

      - Josh Tauberer
      - GovTrack.us


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