Ellen Miller writes of a one-click political record, an accountability matrix. I see such a virtual political records as having two parts:
1. mashed-up “filed” informaton– campaign finance filings, lobbyist and political consultant records, hiring records, etc. The key here is figuring out xml protocols for such info and getting people to buy in.
2. massed-up web information, that is, information contributed by the masses in a wikipedia like manner. I don’t envision unstructured wiki information, but more structured information like a politician’s web pages, related committees, blogs, and articles (urls) about them or by them. Just collecting all the information that is now scattered all over the web.
The masses might also be allowed to put people in arbitrary lists (e.g., republicans, senators, californians).
Roughly, (1) corresponds to the web services movement, while (2) corresponds to the user-data collaborative system movement.
Ok– I’m working on a system like (2), and you can get to it at opencampaigns.com. Its a general system, now, with no data specific to politics. But I’d like to add the ability for a user to add links to things like opensecret.org pages to get to the filing information (1 above).
Its all about connecting the dots and giving journalists and watchdog organizations the ability to uncover and expose a thousand things instead of a few.