1. Update on InformataZyrtare.org

    Valon has sent us a quick update on their project too. In terms of the international development:

    “There are quite a few bugs in Internationalized (i18n) version of the WDTK code. Seb and Faton are testing and fixing them. Also Faton did some tweeks for Kosovan specific code.”

    As for the local site:

    “I have translated most of the strings in Albanian, I’m hoping to finish it in a few days.”

    There is also news on the project of mapping of public institutions:

    “The project has been approved last week and we will move forward very soon. I have spent some time last week helping our young team members with administrative and scheduling stuff.”

  2. Sejmometr.pl last week

    Sejmometr.pl team submitted the website to the Polish bookmarking engine Wykop. As a result of it the traffic to the site increased drastically as below (data from 4 and 5th of April):

    The original Wykop page contains really positive responses. Maniaks posted:

    “Generally mega useful website, one can realyl easily check what MP’s are up to. Bookmarked.”

    VitQ aded:

    “O_o really?!… Maybe it’s time for democracy to work? Man (meaning the one behind the site), this is a brilliant tool!”

    Content of comments proves that users test the features, flag up potential issues (and praise Daniel’s prompt response to those) and look forward to more developments on the site. Team’s reaction?

    “We are even more motivated to work on this further. Thank you!”

  3. KohoVolit.eu last week

    We have posted that the Czech parliament data still needed to be incorporated in the development of scraping process of KohoVolit.eu structure. Jaroslav posted an update yesterday stating that this part of work, mainly the part for the data of Lower House of Czech Parliament is ready now:

    “The updater scraping the data from the Lower house of Parliament of Czech republic and storing them into KohoVolit.eu database structure is ready now. The downloaded and processed information include MPs data (personal data, image, contact information, assistants, office), constituencies, groups (political groups, committees, commissions, etc.), membership of the MPs in those groups and roles they stand. All those data will be updated nightly from the official website of Czech parliament.”

    Now the team will focus on main functionality of WTT site and ensure that the list of office addresses and constituencies associated to the right representatives, as well as contact details of MP’s is complete and ready to use.

  4. Sejmometr.pl last week

    Sejmometr.pl has just introduced search for MP’s based on postal addresses and regions of Poland. It looks like this in practice:

    MP's from region 22, postal address "37-207"

    MP's from Sub-Karpatian Region of Poland

    Here is how the team managed to put this together:

    “In order to make this search happen based on postal addresses we have combined the data from three sources:

    1. „The Registry of Postal Addresses” (Polish Post)
      Database of all postal addresses and regions in Poland.
    2. Using this website (official website of National Voting Committee), we have built a database of regions connected to voting areas.
    3. Using this website (official website of Sejm), we have built a database of MP’s connected to voting areas.”

    Great work!

  5. WriteToThem Slovakia collaboration with SME.sk

    KohoVolit.eu team has also talked to representatives of SME.sk – major news portal in Slovakia. It looks like the news portal is interested in the integration of local WriteToThem clone into the SME.sk website.

    “They are interested in an easy way to immediately write to the politician directly from the article where he is mentioned. We expect to insert the writing form also to their web and create a simple widget for inserting to articles that refers to the form. Thus readers can write to a particular politician directly from the SME portal. More advanced features like search of the best representative to write to or browsing in sent messages marked as public and the respective politicians’ answers will be available only on our main site.”

    As mentioned by Jaroslav in his original post, integration will take place in May, when the Slovak clone of the site will be completed.

  6. WriteToThem in Czech Republic and Slovakia

    Jaroslav from KohoVolit.eu team has posted an update on their local clone of WriteToThem portal. The team has decided upon names of the local domains:

    “Among a dozen of candidates the classics won – the domains being registered this week are NapisteJim.cz and NapisteIm.sk which means exactly “write to them” in Czech and in Slovak language. So, together with the Lithuanian ParasykJiems.lt and UK WriteToThem.com the family of “write to them” named sites is growing to at least four. (I wonder why the UK version is on .com domain.)”

    Team is working on development of of the scrapers and updaters for two chambers of Czech parliament and hopes to finalise the Czech site at the end of April. Slovak part of the portal is planned to be completed in May.

  7. Update on InformataZyrtare.org

    Valon has sent us a quick update on InformataZyrtare.org. Apart from few meetings with various local NGO’s Valon has also presented about the project during TechSoup Global meeting about “Community Driven Innovation”.

    “Present were representatives from a number of mission based  NGOs and a number of local technologists.  In the meeting we explained InformataZyrtare project, how we got the idea, what mySociety has done, etc. We also emphasized very good cooperation between us (FLOSSK) and Gap Institute in InformataZyrtare project which is leading to new concrete ideas about new projects in the near future.”

    The team has also worked on the guidelines for public institutions, which is basically a collection of team’s ideas for better implementation of the FOI law on the digital front. How about development?

    “On the development front, Faton has made the changes in the code to suit our law. Now, more or less we could have had the site online but we decided to wait a bit more until the multilingual (i18n) version of the site is done. Seb is working on that and Faton is getting up to speed with it as we speak, hopefully they can have a production version ready for next week.”

    Valon is also researching the best approach to the interface, which should be documented shortly.

  8. KohoVolit.eu this week

    Jaroslav posted on KohoVolit.eu blog that their team has finished data scraper for Chamber of deputies of Czech parliament:

    “The scraping of official website will be performed periodically to keep the data up-to-date. Three issues are needed to address within it: insert new information that appeared on the official website into the database, update the information that is already stored in the database but it has changed on the official website and finally mark the information in the database that is no more present on the official website as obsolete. The obsolete information is rather marked than completely deleted in sake of references to history or providing some statistics in time. The same is true for any database updates – the original information is never deleted but together with time interval it was valid through moved to the set of historical records.

    Thus the scraper that solely extracts the data from source is called by an updater that controls the process of updating data in the database.”

    Next steps? Similar scraper for the Senate and updaters for both!;)

  9. WriteToThem clones in the region

    After the meeting in January, Darius has worked with Jaroslav and Danko on changes to the WTT clone in Lithuania required to make it possible for other teams to use it as a starting point of their own platforms.

    Most of the internationalization work is done, although email templates and some small things still needs polishing:

    “I have made necessary DB refactorings, so that it would be possible to import data for Serbian and Chech/Slovakia WTT.”

    There is still work to be done, but it’s really good to see this international cooperation arriving to the stage where others can avoid re-inventing the wheel, instead building on the work already done in Lithuania.

  10. Parasykjiems.lt last week

    Darius has updated us on the developments at Parasykjiems.lt. After series of tests run on their data it looks like the team has quite a big chunk of data to look through still. Some of it needs correcting, some of it is missing. Darius is meeting the representatives of Transparency International Lithuania this Wednesday to discuss potential additional resources for this task. He also added:

    “There are also some small programming things that need to be addressed:

    * migrate from sqlite to mysql on our server

    * merge DB refactoring branch

    * make some other small improvements, such as introduce “Subject” field in the message, and improve “Feedback” form, as we have no means to contact the person who contacted us.”