Students Bringing State Into the Digital Age
The stereotype of policy decisions made by elected officials in smoke-filled rooms far away from the eyes of their constituents is about to be transformed thanks to students at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Digital Democracy project.
The project’s website explains:
Digital Democracy is a product of the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy. The new online platform features a searchable database of state legislative committees hearings, allowing the user to search videos by keyword, topic, speaker or date. Digital Democracy is a first of its kind tool because it will transcribe all legislative hearing videos and will make the transcriptions available to users in their searchable entirety. These data rich transcripts represent an entirely new data set that is currently unavailable to the public. Additionally, sophisticated meta tags attached to the transcripts will enable users to run in depth analytics to identify trends and relationships. A robust database of all speakers will track individual participants’ testimony, positions, and donation and gift histories.
This project is pushing beyond the technical challenges of providing mere access to information, instead focusing on how this new data set can be meaningfully interpreted and acted upon. Tools within the system will allow a user to quickly and easily search, locate, view, clip, and share this information and opinions on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and other social media platforms. The video clips will provide dynamic content for grassroots mobilizers, online media outlets, bloggers, professional associations, and government watchdogs.
Sign up for their launch this spring at Digital Democracy.