people.xml format change
- Hi, all.
I'm making a change to the people.xml files on GovTrack. Previously, the
role start and end dates were January 1 of the start year and December
31 of the last full calendar year of the Congress. This was an early
oversight that I have wanted to fix for a very long time: sessions of
Congress don't start so regularly. Usually they start on January 4th-ish
and end two January 3rds later.
Just to clarify terminology, what GovTrack calls a session is really a
"Congress". What people call a "session" are sort of terms within each
Congress. These days there are two per Congress, one for each year.
Early in the nation's history there were three per two-year session.
A list of start and end dates, from a page on the House Clerk website,
You can use that to interpret the people.xml start and end dates, as
opposed to numerical trickery that was possible in the past and now will
Also- Many cases of district="0" were sloppy recording of "I don't
know", in addition to district="-1" which also means "I don't know".
I've got through all of the zeros and the ones that are left are really
At Large reps. The zeros that were "I don't know" are now -1s.
- Josh Tauberer
"Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation! Yields
falsehood when preceded by its quotation!" Achilles to
Tortoise (in "Godel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter)