Category Archives: data

links to archives and sources of interesting data

Oilmoney Redux

The main conference on Social Network Analysis was is in San Diego this year, so I decided to make a trip down. Was nice to step away from the screen and see old and new faces from the far-flung research community. Amusingly, the conference landed in the middle of spring break celebrations, so there were bearded academics wandering geekily around in crowds of drunken sunburnt 20-something revelers.

prezoilmoney movie placeholderI gave a presentation at the very tail end of the conference to demonstrate some features of the oilmoney website—including a presidential contribution movie, and bit of analysis on the data. Much of this will be familiar to anyone who has read these earlier posts, but the stat stuff is new.
Warning: the rest of this post is pretty geeky, read at your own risk ;-)

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Digging into’s Bill Endorsement Data

Diagram of bill supportersDan Newman, director of the money in politics watchdog/transparency site kindly shared some of their bill endorsement data for me to explore. In addition to providing an elegant interface for accessing California and U.S. Federal campaign contribution data and voting records, MAPLight’s interns do extensive research to determine various organizations positions on bills that are being voted on in Congress. These endorsement and opposition relationships can be thought of as ties linking the organizations to the various bills they take a position on. The ties can then be assembled to form—yup, you guessed it—networks of bills and their supporters. My hope is that giving the bill data a relational treatment might reveal some of the coalitions and give additional context for each organization’s position.
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San Francisco Political Contributions

Closeup of SF 2008 political contribution networkI’m very interested in trying to figure out ways to map the political landscapes and power structures that are operating around us. I’d like to be able to see various organizations and political actors in the context of their allies, enemies, and supporters in order to understand where the political boundaries are between various factions.
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Oil Networks, Advertising, Imaginary Data?

ChevronHarpersAdI found an interesting Chevron advertisement inside the back cover of the July 2007 issue of Harper’s magazine. Captioned “There are 193 countries in the world. None of them are energy independent.” it depicts an open notebook with clippings of a number of graphics and charts showing information about energy interdependence.
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MAPLight takes on congress

maplight video tour

This month Berkley-based non-profit expanded their coverage of the relationships between interest groups, legislators and votes to include data for US Congress. for Congress combines all campaign contributions to U.S. legislators with legislators’ votes on every bill, using official records from the Library of Congress web site and the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics ( The resulting database of bills, voting records, and campaign contributions powers the search engine at and enables people to see the links between dollars spent and votes cast in Washington D.C. [maplight press release]

Maplight is doing some serious legwork to augment the CRP data with industry positions on bills. They are also doing neat things with timelines so that the user can get a better idea of the relations between donations and key votes.

I took a quick stab at creating a network from some of their example California data on a Bottled Water Bill

Place holder for network map of bottle bill

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Unfluence Project Launched!

Greg Michalec and I just launched a website that allows users to interactively explore political contribution data as a network map. We won first prize in the Sunlight Foundation Mashup competition! Try your own query at

This was done as an entry in the Sunlight Foundations Mashup Contest. Cross your fingers that we win and get some resources to continue the project! ;-)
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API access to US state political funding data

MoneyInStatePoliticsLogoThe National Institute on Money in State Politics now provides a service where users can submit queries and download data in xml format. The documentation for the service (which requires setting up an account login) is here.

They also include services for generating various graphic reports including a Political Contribution Logorithmic Scatterplot Profile with interactive javascript inspection of candidates.


I did quick cut-and-paste from another site which uses thier data, and was able to generate network maps of the top tend funders for a few california candidates. But with access to the full DB via the API, it is possible to do much more sophisticated maps and even animations – for most states they have data going back several years.


Network Data Formats Wiki

Network Data Formats wiki logoSeveral weeks ago I created wiki to archive discussion and documentation of the various formats for storing network data, hopefully leading to future work converging on some common standards. For now, it is a quick-and-dirty archive to collect and sumarize information about data formats and software for Social Network Analysis and related fields. Most of the material has been lifted from an interesting discussion on the SOCNET listserv. Please feel free to edit and add to documentation, especially if you are the author of any of the formats (or to fix my spelling ;-) Hopefully this could move to a more centralized server at some point…

Extraction, Visualization & Analysis of Corporate Inter-Relationships

Interesting project EVA with goal of creating a semi-automated system for parsing and extracting corporate relationships from SEC 10-K filings, ‘tho they did use some existing ownership dbs as well. Software uses a nice technique of identifying paragraphs likely to contain owership information and presenting to user for verification. Seems that much of the work was done in 2001, I can’t tell if it is an ongoing project.
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