Thursday, October 13, 2011

Blog experiment over for now

I've gone back to the previous design for this blog.  I like Blogger's new "Dynamic Templates", but I suspect that they are changing how easy it is to search and find the blog.  So for now, I'm going back to the previous template.  And after this post, back to our previously scheduled legal technology programming...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

New Blog Views: Try it out

As you can see, the blog looks different.  Google has rolled out a number of new ways to view and navigate blogs, and I'm trying them out here. I like the Timeslide view the best (selection on the right), to see blog topics at a glance.

If you have strong opinions one way or the other, leave a comment and let me know.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

CA Hackathon Update: Mashup of Maplight data and California Statutes

Ever wonder who is responsible for a particular law?  Often the supporters and opponents of a bill are forgotten once the bill is codified into law.

Now, however, as one of the results of the California Law Hackathon held two weeks ago, we can now get more insight into California's laws, section by section. Mike Tahani built a mashup of Maplight data and California statutes, taken from legix.info, which shows, for a given section of California's codes, the organizations that supported and opposed its enactment.  

If you're technically inclined, check it out on GitHub, here.  It is currently a command line utility, and only applies to a very, very small subset of California's codes, because we're only working with legislation passed in the last two sessions of the California legislature.  If you're less technically inclined, wait for version 2 or 3.  Mike plans to add a one-click user interface and data visualization to show the links.

The rich possibilities for open legislative data are just starting to emerge, and Mike's Maplight mashup joins the new wave of data presentation for state codes, that includes Robb Shecter's work on Oregon's and now California's statutes (weblaws.org), and Waldo Jaquith's work on Virginia and soon other states, as part of the Knight Award project, State Decoded.