Parliaments and Citizens

Visualizing politics: Network analysis of bill sponsors

With open parliamentary data at their disposal, parliamentary monitoring organizations, data journalists and scholars can gain significant insight into how new legislation is shaped and how parliaments work as social groups. Apart from multidimensional scaling of voting patterns, an often used technique of reducing and visualizing complex parliamentary information is social network analysis. This post introduces it using an example of sponsoring bills in the lower chamber of the Czech Parliament.

JURIX 2013: 26th International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems

Wed, 11/12/2013 - Fri, 13/12/2013

Entering a second quarter century of supporting and enhancing cutting edge research in the interface between law and computer technology, the 2013 JURIX conference will take place at the University of Bologna from 11 to 13 December 2013.

Facebook and Twitter Accounts for Parliaments World Wide

The table, prepared by the University of Hull, lists the Facebook and Twitter institutional accounts for parliaments (accounts for committees, events or specific services are not listed here) across the world.

Report of the World e-Parliament Conference 2012

The Report of the World e-Parliamente Conference 2012 is now available. This report summarizes the presentations and practices showcased during the different sessions of the conference,  and highlights the main points of discussion.

Ukrainian translation of the World e-Parliament Report 2012 now available

The Parliamentary Development Project for Ukraine has worked with the Division of Computerized Systems of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the Institute of Telecommunications and Global Information Space of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine to provide the Ukrainian translation of the original English language World e-Parliament Report 2012.

The open parliament in the age of the internet: can the people now collaborate with legislatures in lawmaking?

Cristiano Ferri Soares de Faria
Publication date: 

The book, published by the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil, is based on a study of two particular cases where parliamentary bodies designed and implemented participatory digital processes, namely, the e-Democracy Program developed by the Brazilian House of Representatives, and the Virtual Senator Program developed by the Chilean Senate.

Guides on parliamentary websites and social media

The University of Hull published 3 guides aimed at practitioners on the use of websites and social media by parliaments, drawing from the research developed for the project Managing Parliament’s Image. The themes of the guides are: Organising and Managing Parliamentary Websites, Using Parliamentary Websites as an Engagement Tool, How Parliaments Use Social Media.

How Parliaments Use Social Media - A guide for parliaments

Cristina Leston-Bandeira, David Bender

This guide is intended to be used by parliaments for the purposes of building effective social media operations. In analysing social media operations, we identified a number of instances of best practice, and problems, that might come up as part of such an operation. It stems from research conducted as part of the Managing Parliament’s Image project.

Organising and Managing Parliamentary Websites - A guide for parliaments

Cristina Leston-Bandeira, Louise Thompson

This Guide is intended to be used by parliaments for the purposes of effectively organising and managing their websites and the staff responsible for them. It stems from research conducted as part of the Managing Parliament’s Image project.

U.S. House of Representatives: House Floor Summary in real-time RSS feeds and new search tool in

The Clerk’s office of the House of Representatives of the United States implemented two projects: 

  • The House Floor Summary may now be accessed through a real-time RSS feed. The feed displays legislative proceedings as they occur, in addition to the proceedings of the previous five legislative days.
  • New speaker search tool: now provides users with the ability to search the full transcript of any legislative day to find the video of where a Member of the House spoke on the Floor. The  search function is accessible via the dropdown menu at the top of the Floor Summary window.

Using Social Media to Enhance Citizen Engagement and Democracy

Delegates to IPU’s 128th Assembly have adopted a resolution that calls on parliaments to both use social media to better inform and engage with their citizens but also to protect the right to freedom of expression on and off-line. The resolution also underscored that a free, open and accessible internet is both a fundamental human right and a tool for citizen engagement. Parliamentarians also needed to take on the responsibility for ensuring citizens’ access to free and secure online communications. The resolution followed IPU’s release of its first ever social media guidelines for MPs and parliamentary staff. Available freely online, it aims to encourage the more widespread and effective use of social media by parliaments and politicians, as well as provide guidance to those responsible for managing social media channels. The guidelines help to define the scope and purpose of social media for parliaments whilst also providing a benchmark for good practice in citizen engagement. The World e-Parliament Report identified that by the end of 2012, a third of all parliaments were already using social media with another third planning to.

Call for interest: World Forum for Democracy to showcase democratic innovation

Wed, 27/11/2013 - Fri, 29/11/2013

The 2013 World Forum for Democracy "Rewiring democracy - reconnecting citizens and democratic institutions in the information age" will be held in Strasbourg (France) on 27-29 November 2013.

The NYS Senate's open government initiatives: CiviCRM, Open Legislation, JGeocoder, and more

The New York State Senate has been working on FOSS open government initiatives for constituent relationship management, open legislation, geocoding, and more. That software can be downloaded from GitHub here:
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What opening parliamentary information can tell us about our parliaments (Vol. 3)

Providing parliamentary information in open and structured formats reduces the barriers to citizen use of legal information. How? Open and structured documents have properties underlying the visible information, such as metadata, that allow machines to recognize various characteristics about the document – including its title, whether it’s a bill or transcript, and even its contents in many instances.
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‘Ask Your MP’ communication tool launched in Serbia

For the first time in Serbia, citizens have the opportunity to directly communicate with their MPs. Within its parliamentary monitoring and advocacy initiative, Otvoreni Parlament (Open Parliament), CRTA recently launched an online communication tool “Ask Your MP” that allows direct public communication between citizens and MPs.
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