The Open House Project from The Sunlight Foundation

Entries from March 2007

Transparency Takes a Hit

March 31st, 2007 · No Comments

I write about the notoriously secretive Congressional Research Service this week in my Townhall column. I make the case that CRS reports should be publicly available — a priority of the Open House Project.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who vowed to make this Congress the “most honest, ethical, and open� in history, is facing pressure to [...]

Tags: OpenHouse

We’re typing away

March 18th, 2007 · 2 Comments

In case you’re wondering why it’s been a little silent on the blog and the mail list recently, we’ve begun drafting our report. The group has broken down into smaller groups each working on a different section of the report. I’ve been working on the section of the report that will recommend using structured data [...]

Tags: OpenHouse

Committee Feeds: Some Recommendations

March 16th, 2007 · No Comments

When creating an RSS feed, one should have two audiences in mind: first is your human readers that will be subscribing with their news readers, second are the computers that will be mixing your feed with others, and transforming your feed into other formats (iCal feeds, integrating it into a website, etc.) For committees in [...]

Tags: Congress · OpenHouse · Structured Data

Props to Carl Malamud

March 8th, 2007 · No Comments

Carl Malamud more than anyone has pushed Congress to open up its video capacity.  In keeping with his aggressive approach and tremendous leadership, he has now uploaded a 2.5 hour Committee hearing to the internet archive, validating C-Span’s new copyright policy.
Carl, it’s leaders like you that make great things happen.

Tags: OpenHouse

Why Aren’t These Documents Available Online?

March 7th, 2007 · No Comments

Today I paid a visit to the Capitol to figure out how your average Joe or Jane gets information related to members of Congress. Turns out that if you’re based in Washington and have some time to kill, it’s not so hard. But for everyone else, the process could be daunting.
The House Legislative Resource Center, [...]

Tags: OpenHouse

C-SPAN Loosens Reins on Copyright Control

March 7th, 2007 · 1 Comment

Today comes news that, effective immediately, C-SPAN footage of any event sponsored by Congress and any federal agency — which the network estimates to be about half of its programming — will be released under a Creative Commons non-commercial/with attribution license. If you’re unfamiliar with it, Creative Commons is something of an alternative to the [...]

Tags: OpenHouse

How To Take i-Transparency Seriously: Create An Office For It

March 5th, 2007 · No Comments

You’ve read on this blog about how the House can use the Internet better for fostering transparency. What the suggestions come down to is making use of the latest Internet technologies, the new low-cost distribution network, to bring as much information, in an organized way, to the public.
With the number of separate data sets that [...]

Tags: House of Representatives · OpenHouse

Organizing the Report

March 1st, 2007 · No Comments

Here’s an update on the likely chapters of our final report:
CRS: Congressional Research Service reports are created through public funding, and should be publicly available. While keeping the needs of legislators and CRS researchers in mind, Congress should recognize CRS reports as a public resource, and standardize and centralize a process for making [...]

Tags: OpenHouse

States leading the way: take 2

March 1st, 2007 · No Comments

After writing my previous post about states leading the way in publishing raw database dumps of legislative activity (making the data really reusable, besides providing a nice web interface), I checked in with Illinois’ Legislative Information System Executive Director Tim Rice, who said:
The XML data is the result of a total rewrite of our systems [...]

Tags: OpenHouse