Home Google’s Summer of Code Helps Government Transparency

Google’s Summer of Code Helps Government Transparency

In its fifth year, Google’s Summer of Code continues to usher advanced education students into the open source environment. For a three-month period, 150 open source projects benefit from the work of 1000 students and 2000 mentors. Some of the organizations involved include Creative Commons, Drupal and the Sunlight Foundation.

The Sunlight Foundation’s government-related efforts are particularly good projects. In the Fifty States Project, volunteers work to collect data from all 50 state legislative pages. Participants work to develop scrapers and parsers in order to standardize government data. For the Summer of Code, student Rebecca Shapiro led the effort to parse data from the Connecticut General Assembly and Legislation and Michael Stephens worked on the State of California. Similar to the work already completed on Open Congress, the Fifty State project gives citizens open access to the latest state policy changes and legislation. The official State Legislation project page is available here.

Another Sunlight Foundation project is Get Represented. In a nutshell, Get Represented uses the GetSatisfaction model of public corporate discourse and applies it to Congress. Student Kyle Powers worked on this project for the Summer of Code in order to create a public feedback mechanism for government decision-making. Members of Congress have their own GetRepresented page and voters can comment, vote up articles and have public conversations with their representatives. While the final product is not yet available to the public, you can check for updates on the Sunlight Labs blog.

To view more Summer of Code projects visit the Google Open Source Programs page.

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