As a result of research conducted by bloggers and contributors of Technology for Transparency Network an interesting report was published recently. “Global mapping of technology for transparency and accountability” contains specific case studies of projects related to transparency, but also interesting trends and insights. If you download the report from this site you will find that Sejmometr and KohoVolit projects are included in sections about our region. We are looking forward to similar reports and if you think that there are projects that should have been included in the above mentioned report (we have talked to a few already and hope to feature them here), do let us know!
International collaboration is crucial in work on cloned of the same tool – in this case we are talking about WriteToThem. Jaroslav from KohoVolit team has posted great update on their current work with application prepared in Lithuania by the Parašykjiems team:
“We have also installed the necessary platform for Lithuanian WTT – Parašykjiems, the source code itself and after a short fight get it running on the localhost. A small error needed to be fixed. I am getting familiar with the application as well as the Python+Django platform and hopefuly start soon with customization for Czech republic.”
The team is testing a scraper of data and updater for Senate. The updater of Chamber of Deputies is ready and working, so with this bit done they should have it ready for the entire Czech Parliament.
KohoVolit team has done great job in bringing together 20 celebrities on a screen of their promotional video for NapisteJim.cz – chech WTT. The official launch is planned for tomorrow, so we hope to hear more about it. In the meantime, check out the photos and watch out for the video on their blog!
How do you promote your project? Let us know!
Great idea, great work!
Update: We have just been told that the launch was moved forward to the 26th of May.
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.
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.
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.
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!;)
Veronika Sumova has published two videos documenting eDemocracy Day we have recently posted about.
First one is a general overview of the event:
eDemocracy Day – barcamp-like event 12th March in Prague! from KohoVolitEU on Vimeo.
Second is their interview with Jakub Górnicki from Sejmometr.pl:
Jakub Górnicki from Sejmometr.pl on eDemocracy day in Prague (March 2011) from KohoVolitEU on Vimeo.
Michal Skop posted on his blog on blog.aktualne.cz specific example of usage of their voting advice application on KohoVolit.eu. One of the senators, Jiri Dienstbier senior, has passed away (you might have seen it in the Guardian), so now new voting is required and planned for the upcoming weekend. When I asked about it, Veronika explained:
“These elections are only little, but they are important, because it can quite substantially change the distribution of power in the senate (basically, before it was slightly for the left side of the spectrum (while we have middle-right coalition in government), now it is equal and everybody is waiting who is going to win.”
If you go to the original post, even without understanding the language you can see the vast amount of reactions, including comments of users who decided to test the site!
What a great way and timing to showcase the project! Well done!
Veronika has posted the photos from eDemocracy Day 2011. Here is a short photo story from the event: