A deluge of data is challenging scientific researchers across disciplines to develop new techniques for detecting patterns in large and complex datasets. This general area of research is known as data-driven discovery, or ‘D3.’ Visualizations are a particularly important area of innovation because they help researchers to investigate complex processes at a more holistic level. The goal of Legislative Explorer is to leverage the same benefits of data-driven visualizations to advance understanding of government.
A more in-depth discussion of Legislative Explorer with multiple animations and videos is available at the Center for American Politics and Public Policy.
Anyone can use Legislative Explorer to observe large scale patterns and trends in congressional lawmaking without advanced methodological training. In addition, anyone can dive deeper into the data to further explore a pattern they’ve detected, to learn about the activities of an individual lawmaker, or to follow the progress of a specific bill. Start Exploring!
John Wilkerson (firstname.lastname@example.org, CAPPP) provided the initial vision; Nick Stramp (email@example.com, CAPPP) wrangled the extensive underlying data; Christian Marc Schmidt and Sergei Larionov (Schema) converted our rough ideas into a polished product. We had a good time doing it!
We are pleased to make LegEx freely available but it was not free to develop. Please consider contributing a small amount toward the next phase of development. Specifically, we hope to incorporate information about the changing substance of bill texts as bills move through the process.
Legislative Explorer draws from an underlying relational database that includes information about the legislative histories, topics and sponsors of more than 250,000 bills and resolutions (1973-present). The database is updated nightly to reflect changes in the status of current bills.
Legislative Explorer data is updated nightly. More detailed descriptions of the data sources and bulk downloads are available at: http://cappp.org/index.php/data.