Senate Opening Up? Offers Up Vote Data In XML Format

from the fun-to-watch dept

There's been a big push lately to get the gov't to be a lot more open with its data, and both the new federal government CTO and CIO have spoken up about the importance of opening up more data. While it may take some time, we are starting to see things happen -- and happen quickly in some cases. Apparently, the Senate agreed (despite some reservations) to make the data from Senate votes available in an open XML format, and just a few days later that data is available. This is absolutely a good thing, but the real test will be seeing what people do with this and other open government data sources. It's nice to report on the government doing something right every once in a while....


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Bettawrekonize, May 5th, 2009 @ 5:17pm

    Good, we need a lot more governmental transparency.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Sanketsu, May 5th, 2009 @ 5:29pm

    What? The Government giving us information? Accurate, usable information?

    Wow. Awesome.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Sal, May 5th, 2009 @ 5:29pm

    Why not...

    ...link to the actual primary source material? It is very annoying clicking through links to your other posts and news articles. Other than that, good stuff you have here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2009 @ 6:14pm

    After clicking through a few links, I was able to find two examples of the information in XML format.

    It's nice, but there doesn't seem to be a list of all available roll call votes. I would certainly like to go to www.senate.gov and find a list of the XML files. A quick search on the site did not reveal a list of files.

    Also, it would be nice to see the DTD, Schema, or Relax NG information for the files. That way it would be easy to process the information, write XSLT transformations, and otherwise make use of this resource.

    Still, this is an excellent first start.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Paul, May 5th, 2009 @ 6:18pm

    Pointless

    Whoop'd f'ing doo. Absolutely useless.

    If Congress truly, sincerely cared about transparency, they'd use source control for drafting legislation. I'd love to see them use Subversion to track exactly which congressman inserted that particularly heinous clause into an otherwise normal bill.

    That's the kind of transparency we need. Once it's up for a vote, it's way too late to affect change.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Dorai Thodla, May 5th, 2009 @ 6:21pm

    Re: Why not...

    http://xml.gov/ is a good source of most of govt xml (data) initiatives.

    Dorai Thodla

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Mr Big Content, May 5th, 2009 @ 6:22pm

    What is this "Ecch-Smell" format?

    Sounds like it might raise a stink...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Sal, May 5th, 2009 @ 7:25pm

    Re: Re: Why not...

    I usually find this stuff after a short search, but it would be nice if the guy writing the blog linked to more than a news article that also has no link to the source.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    joe, May 5th, 2009 @ 7:57pm

    This is not really news

    Every vote, by every congress representative, Senate and House, since 1991, has been online on the Washington post web site since past year when one of my sons programmed it for them.

    http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/

    Further, as you will see there, the votes are analyzed, disected, cross-referenced and summarized by just about any data point you might wish.

    You can also see the other amazing data projects he did for them on his blog entry (http://push.cx/2009/washington-post-update) that summarizes his work for them.

    Sign me, Proud Father of a fantastic young man.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Joe, May 5th, 2009 @ 8:08pm

    a correction

    After re-reading what I posted, I realize it sounds as if I am saying Peter did the whole WP stuff by himself. If you read his blog entry, you will see that he credits those whose works he added to and those whose prior work and current contributions were essential o his own part. And, the comments on his entry continue a dialog with some of those people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Bettawrekonize, May 5th, 2009 @ 10:20pm

    "If Congress truly, sincerely cared about transparency, they'd use source control for drafting legislation. I'd love to see them use Subversion to track exactly which congressman inserted that particularly heinous clause into an otherwise normal bill.

    That's the kind of transparency we need. Once it's up for a vote, it's way too late to affect change."

    I COMPLETELY agree!!! We should know EXACTLY how every single person voted. When federal agencies, like the FDA, pass laws there should be COMPLETE transparency over who was responsible for the passage of such laws.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2009 @ 10:57pm

    Re:

    Haha, good one! I actually laughed out loud!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2009 @ 11:00pm

    Re:

    They only just discovered what Emails are .. give them a few centuries and you might get SVN.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    MattP, May 6th, 2009 @ 8:34am

    Re: Pointless

    They'd use SourceSafe and you know it!

    All kidding aside, it would be great to have change tracking implemented.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This