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Tag Archive: databases

Online Contracts Monitoring: First Year Lessons Learned

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Sunlight’s International Fellow presents an up-for-grabs contracts monitoring platform and year-one takeaways. In late 2011, the government in the small country of Slovakia took a bold policy step mandating almost all public contracts and invoices be published online. A reaction to series of scandals this was done in hopes of bringing unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability (read more here). However, the official portal government launched in early 2012 was half-baked, missing full-text search, documents preview or space for comments. While the policy produced more data (“transparency,” if you will), it left accountability untouched.

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Political Web Innovations

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The political Web continues to grow as new databases are established every week regularly using new technologies to present important information. I came across three new Web sites, one government and two from nonprofits, today and figured I'd pass them along. The first is the Government Printing Office's online guide to members of Congress. The GPO's online guide allows users to search members of Congress by a number of categories, including name, hometown, terms served, and more. The database is fairly rudimentary but it does allow someone to do quick searches for members from a particular state or see how many members have served for 5 terms. This is good step for GPO as it shows that they looking towards using the Web to project information; all they need is to add more search categories and more information for the member profiles. More links to more information makes the data more useful.

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FedSpending.org’s Offspring

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Earlier this month, Texas released a state spending database. The database, “Where the Money Goes,” allows citizens to search state spending by agency and recipient. The Houston Chronicle, makes the point that the bill that created this database was “modeled after federal legislation passed last year.” The Coburn-Obama bill’s teeth went all the way down to state level.

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