Widgets, Blidgets and Nods


As we recently reported, MAPLight.org and OpenCongress.org recently launched widgets to make it easy for anyone to keep track of the presidential money race, current bills and legislative issues on their site or blog. What good is political information if it’s relegated to to just one Web site? As John wrote on the Open House Project blog, widgets and other new forms of data visualization help spread the information further and faster.

There’s clear interest in adopting these widgets to surface information about the federal government in new ways and we love some of these early adopters. TechRepublican just recently incorporated the MAPLight.org presidential fundraising widget on its site and NTEN is planning on using
using MAPLight.org’s new API

In the public interest world, POGO is using the widget to follow issues like improving the state of the federal contracting system, which I heard they used to pay a for profit organization to monitor for them. American Rights at Work is using OpenCongress.org‘s bill tracker widget to keep union advocates updated on latest developments affecting The Employee Free
Choice Act. (We think the bill tracker widget, in particular, should be of immense value to issue organizations involved in legislative advocacy.)

We’re also excited to see that Courier-Journal (home-town paper, after all) editor Mark Schaver is using an OpenCongress.org widget to keep readers of his of Depth Reporting blog updated on the most viewed bills regarding freedom of information.

Bloggers from Texas and Utah went a step further and are using Widgetbox to create new "blidgets" (who knew there was such a thing?….it’s a widget that shows information gotten from a blog). They are using OpenCongress widgets to keep tabs on several members of Congress’ latest votes and bill sponsorship.

The fun doesn’t stop there. New widgets are in the works: MAPLight.org will offer a "Money and Votes" widget, which will track the correlation between campaign contributions and votes on bills in Congress (available on September 30th) and OpenCongress.org is developing its own widgets for members of Congress to make it easier for local local political bloggers to simply enter their zip code, and return widgets for their senators and representative. Look for an update about yet another widget OpenCongress.org has in the works to help you with your watchdogging.

Are you using these widgets? Let us know.