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Re: [govtrack] Getting bills in HTML from Thomas

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  • Harvey Frey
    ... Yes, please! It does need a little manual post-editing, since the section numbers in amended texts can be (and are) duplicates. Harvey
    Message 1 of 14 , May 26, 2010

      if anyone wants it just let me know<

           Yes, please!

          It does need a little manual post-editing, since the section numbers in amended texts can be (and are) duplicates.


      Neil M. wrote:
      Yes I wrote a quick Python script if anyone wants it just let me know.
      On 5/26/2010 11:05 AM, Harvey Frey wrote:
          Precisely! :-D
          Thank You!
          Did you write a script to do that?
          Manually it would surely have taken more than a little "free time" !!
      Neil M. wrote:
      I had some free time, something like this?
      On 5/25/2010 7:23 PM, Harvey Frey wrote:
      Hi Neil:
          Thanks for the response!
          I simply want to use the 'contents' section of a bill to hyperlink
      to the actual text paragraphs within the same bill, to make the bills
      easier to navigate and comprehend.
          If I save the contents page from Thomas, the links point to a cgi
      script and disappear within a few minutes. AFAIK, Thomas uses no
      permanent links - everything runs through their cgi script.
          If I download the entire bill from Thomas, it contains no links at
      all, so I need to be able to find section headings and put name anchors
      there, and put corresponding href anchors in the correct TOC line, but
      not do it for incidental references which are not headings.
          So it's not a problem of finding stereotypical text references to
      USC sections and constructing HTML from them. That would be a pretty
      straightforward RegExp problem.
      Neil M. wrote:
      I've got an old python script that takes the US Code text files (from
      http://uscode.house.gov), scans for references and outputs mediawiki
      formatted pages and wiki links.  It shouldn't be too difficult to modify
      it to parse some other text/HTML file and output HTML instead.  What is
      it you want to link to exactly?  The aforementioned US Code website?
      Thomas?  Both?
      On 5/24/2010 3:59 PM, Harvey Frey wrote:
          Has anyone tried downloading bills from Thomas in HTML format, or
      converting their Text downloads to HTML?
          The guy at the Thomas help desk at first didn't understand what I
      wanted, and then said that no one had ever asked for that before.
          As you know, when you download the Contents page of a bill, the
      hyperlinks to the actual sections point to your own local folder instead
      of to the Thomas page where they exist.
          If you add a base statement to point them back to the Thomas site,
      the links disappear in a few minutes since the search expires.
          If you download all their referenced pages, you can't use their
      links to convert them to local hyperlinks, since they address them
      through a cgi program instead of through static name anchors.
          Your can download a bill as plain text rather than HTML, but
      manually adding all the name anchors and hyperlinks would be a massive job.
          (I did it for the Patriot Act, and it wasn't fun, especially since
      it looked like they intentionally obfuscated the references, sometimes
      using Public Law References, sometimes USC, and sometimes common names,
      so it was a detective job to find the sections they were amending.)
          Has anyone tried this, say with perl?
          I'm specifically interested in HR 3590, the recent Health Reform
      Bill. Some bills are posted as a massive XML file, but this one isn't.
      (If it were, I suppose you could use their id/id-ref pairs to construct
      href/name pairs, and then clean out the rest of the XML cruft.)
      Harvey S. Frey MD PhD Esq.
      hsfrey@...  www.harp.org
      "Withdrawing in disgust is not the same thing as apathy."
      - Brian Eno
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