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OpenGov Voices: PDF Liberation Hackathon – At Sunlight in DC, SF and Around the World – January 17-19, 2014

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the guest blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of the Sunlight Foundation or any employee thereof. Marc JoffeSunlight Foundation is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information within the guest blog.

Marc Joffe is the founder of Public Sector Credit Solutions (PSCS), which applies open data and analytics to rating government bonds. Before starting PSCS, Marc was a Senior Director at Moody’s Analytics. You can contact him at marc@publicsectorcredit.org. Marc is also one of the winners of Sunlight Foundation’s OpenGov Grants.

Extracting useful information from PDFs is a problem as old as … PDFs. Too often, we focus on extracting information from a specific set of documents instead of looking at the bigger picture. If you’ve ever struggled with this problem, join us for Sunlight’s PDF Liberation Hackathon, dedicated to improving open source tools for PDF extraction.

Instead of focusing on one set of documents, coders will come together to add features, extensions and plugins to existing PDF extraction frameworks, making them more flexible, useful and sustainable. Sunlight’s PDF Liberation Hackathon will tackle real-world PDF data extraction problems. In doing so, we will build upon existing open-source PDF extraction solutions such as Tabula and Ashima’s PDF Table Extractor. ( A full list of PDF extraction technologies relevant to the hackathon can be found on our resource page here.) In addition, hackers will have the option of using licensed PDF software libraries as long as the implementation cost of these libraries is less than $1,000. If you have an idea for a library you want to use, please mention it in your signup form and we will try to work out the licensing ahead of time so that things run smoothly.

Register now to attend the PDF Liberation Hackathon!

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See You at National Day of Civic Hacking this Weekend

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This weekend, patriotism gets a technical upgrade as civic hackers and open government advocates all across the U.S. will participate in National Day of Civic Hacking events. At Sunlight, we've witnessed (and encouraged!) the growth of the community of civic hackers, and are proud to sponsor and participate in several events this weekend. Will we see you there?

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OpenGov Voices: Beyond the Big City: Think Federally, Hack Locally

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the guest blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions headshot-croppedof the Sunlight Foundation or any employee thereof. Sunlight Foundation is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information within the guest blog.

Becky Sweger is the Director of Data and Technology at National Priorities Project. NPP is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to making the U.S. transparent and accessible so people can prioritize and influence how their tax dollars are spent. You can reach her at bsweger@nationalpriorities.org

Hack for Western Mass is happening at UMass Amherst on June 1-2—one of over 80 Hack for Change events happening across the country. We hope you’ll join us at UMass Amherst as we bring the first-ever civic hackathon to Western Massachusetts.

Isn’t Western Mass in the middle of nowhere? Can’t you just hack in Boston?

National Priorities Project (NPP), a national federal budget research organization, has long thought about how our local community can benefit from the open data and civic hacking movements that are quickly gaining worldwide momentum. We attend events all over the country, and as transparency champions, we applaud when DC hacks its municipal code, Philly gets a Chief Data Officer, and Chicago starts posting data on Github.

Participants-HackForWesternMass

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Please Vote for Sunlight’s “Civic Hacking in Pursuit of Democracy” Video

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Here’s an appeal for our readers: please help Sunlight spread the news of the great work civic hackers do as far and wide as possible by voting for our storytelling video in the Looking@Democracy contest organized by the Illinois Humanities Council with support from the MacArthur Foundation. (Voting ends May 16.) We couldn’t wait to tell this (previously) untold story through a short video to demonstrate how the nascent movement of civic hackers are creating apps and tools using open government data to make their communities better. These men and women are equipped with laptops, open data and creative ideas to positively reconstruct the way we relate with government.

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