December 15, 2011

'Capitol Words' Revamped and Much Improved Returns

MORE THAN three years ago, the Sunlight Foundation launched a website called 'Capitol Words' that gave an at-a-glance view of what word was most popular in Congress. On December 12, the Foundation unveiled a completely revamped and rewritten Capitol Words.

Capitol Words scrapes the bulk data of the Congressional Record from the Government Printing Office, does some computer magic to clean-up and organize the data, then presents an easy-to-use front-end website where you can quickly search the favorite keywords of legislators, states or dates.

The new version allows users to search, index and graph up to five-word phrases that give greater context and meaning to the turns-of-phrase singing across the aisle. Where the site once could only track individual terms like 'health' or 'energy,' now the site can break down the issue further into 'health care reform,' 'renewable energy,' 'high energy prices,' or however you wish.

The new advanced comparison chart pits two terms against each other in a contest of partisanship or popularity. The simple chart plots the contest winner and visualizes the debate with an embed code as easy to use as a YouTube video.

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