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An Overview of Parliamentary Information Visualization (PIV) Initiatives: Assessing their Completeness and Contribution to Parliamentary Openness

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Abstract

The need for provision of parliamentary information in a simple, systematic and organized way as a corollary of the constant appeal for parliamentary openness by the civil society have paved the way for Parliamentary Information Visualization. Independent organizations and researchers, volunteers, not-for-profit initiatives have deployed Information Visualization methods to visually represent the activity and votes of parliamentarians, particular legislative proposals or legislative texts. These initiatives are quite interesting and at the same time challenging, taking into account the various technical and design requirements, the distinct nature of parliamentary procedure, the availability of parliamentary information, as well as the explanation of parliamentary information and possible engagement of users. This empirical study examines in depth these initiatives, sheds light on several aspects regarding their completeness and evaluates them in terms of their contribution to Parliamentary Openness and subsequent legislative transparency.
CeDEM14 International Conference for E-Democracy and Open Government 2014
Danube University Krems, 21.05.2014 - 23.05.2014
An Overview of Parliamentary Information
Visualization (PIV) Initiatives: Assessing their
Completeness and Contribution to Parliamentary
Openness
Aspasia Papaloi*, Dimitris Gouscos**
*PhD Candidate, Laboratory of New Technologies in Communication, Education and the Mass Media,
Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, University of Athens, Greece, apapaloi@media.uoa.gr
**Assistant Professor, Laboratory of New Technologies in Communication, Education and the Mass Media,
Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, University of Athens, Greece, gouscos@media.uoa.gr
Abstract: The need for provision of parliamentary information in a simple, systematic and
organized way as a corollary of the constant appeal for parliamentary openness by the civil
society have paved the way for Parliamentary Information Visualization. Independent
organizations and researchers, volunteers, not-for-profit initiatives have deployed Information
Visualization methods to visually represent the activity and votes of parliamentarians,
particular legislative proposals or legislative texts. These initiatives are quite interesting and
at the same time challenging, taking into account the various technical and design
requirements, the distinct nature of parliamentary procedure, the availability of parliamentary
information, as well as the explanation of parliamentary information and possible engagement
of users. This empirical study examines in depth these initiatives, sheds light on several aspects
regarding their completeness and evaluates them in terms of their contribution to
Parliamentary Openness and subsequent legislative transparency.
Keywords: Parliamentary Information Visualization (PIV), Parliamentary Openness, legislative
transparency, PIV completeness, engagement
Introduction
isualizing or mapping data has become a new and popular trend for independent
designers and researchers, companies, not-for-profit organizations as well as
governmental bodies. Visualizations enable the visual depiction of data, information or
events in a compact, simple and comprehensible way, using a wide choice of methods.
Card, Mackinlay & Shneiderman (1999) describe Information Visualization (IV) as “the use of
computer-supported, interactive, visual representations of abstract data to amplify cognition” (p.
7). Additionally, Meadows (2003) distinguishes among three forms of interactivity, namely the
“acquiring of information, discovering additional information, and facilitating the distribution of
that information among multiple people” (p. 121). Schrage (2013) goes a step further into
interaction; he draws the attention to viewing visualizations “as interfaces to human interactions
V
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Danube University Krems, 21.05.2014 - 23.05.2014
that create new opportunities for new value creation” and not just “as a medium that substitutes
pictures for words” (para.10).
These definitions are quite interesting when the discussion involves the visual representation of
parliamentary information (Parliamentary Information Visualization-PIV). The large amount of
information concerning Parliamentary Informatics (PI), i.e. text of legislation, information on
individual legislators, specific legislative proposals, votes thereon (Wikipedia, n.d.), needs to be
transmitted to the public in such a manner so that viewers can gain knowledge and be provided
with the ability to interact through distribution and exchange of information. What is more,
empowering them to use this information for action both inside or outside a digital context is a
potential that paves the way for legislative transparency and accountability.
The Declaration on Parliamentary Openness and, in our opinion a breakthrough of the IPU
Guidelines for Parliamentary Websites (2009)1 intends to increase openness and transparency in
terms of legislative bodies and enhance citizen engagement in parliamentary work. It encompasses
all the possible aspects for the achievement of Parliamentary Openness ranging from the
provision, access and usability of information related to parliamentary work, to e-services, ICT
tools and all the involved stakeholders such as Members of Parliament, parliamentary personnel
and administration, media and civil society. Additionally, accessibility and usability characteristics
related to the technical, cognitive and social requirements of IV seem to be convergent to those of
the Declaration.
The present study aims to examine 19 PIV initiatives that visually represent information
regarding several areas of concern on PI. Due to the extensive sample of our research the present
study presents both a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the findings. The first part of the
research focuses on the presentation of findings based on the characteristics of the PIV initiatives
(Section 2). The second part proposes a framework that will be further used to assess the
completeness of the PIV initiatives (Section 3). The last section discusses the overall findings in
order to assess the completeness of PIV initiatives. Finally, a number of PIV initiatives are
distinguished as best practices due to their completeness.
PIV Initiatives at the service of Parliamentary Informatics
Methodology
The study on 19 PIV initiatives has been undertaken during July and August 2013. 22 initiatives
have been examined in total. However, 3 of them are not encompassed in our study; 2 of them
refer to the judicial branch or elections and the third one actually does not visualize information in
a graphical way deploying the existing visualization methods. The research involved three
different phases. As far as the methodology is concerned the analysis of the aggregated data for
each PIV initiative was based on checklists for all the stages of the research. The rating system for
estimating the completeness of the examined PIV initiatives stems from a number of criteria set by
Dörk, Feng, Collins & Carpendale (2013) and how these are encompassed by the PIV initiatives.
1IPU Guidelines on Parliamentary Websites is a recommendation guide for the facilitation of
parliamentary website designers and developers. Accessible: http://www.ipu.org/PDF/publications/web-
e.pdf
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This evaluation is based on our personal point of view as users and also recognizes the limitations
of language in understanding, interpreting and further exploring some information and metadata
contained in the visualizations.
The first phase of the research involved the gathering of the PIV initiatives. The documentation
covered facets such as the enabler’s status (NGOs, governmental, individual enablers), country
they refer to, project scale and type of parliament (regional, national, federal, European) where
applicable, methods of visualization, deployment characteristics and scope. A tabular overview of
the aggregated PIV initiatives and the most significant aspects of this classification are presented in
Annex I in order to provide readers with a better understanding.
The second phase of data elaboration included the compilation of a checklist in order to record
for each examined PIV initiative all the kinds of visualization methods that correspond to each
area of PI. Scope of this classification is: (i) to locate the frequency of the used methods for
informing the audience in general, and (ii) to discover the most commonly used visualization
methods for each area of PI.
The third and final stage of the research goes a step further attempting to evaluate the
completeness of the examined PIV initiatives based on the existing literature and setting a number
of criteria as proposed in the theoretical framework. A checklist has been compiled for this
purpose in order to ascertain, which of the five features (connection, disclosure, plurality,
contingency and empowerment) and their characteristics correspond to the PIV initiatives.
An overview of PIV initiatives and initial findings on visualization methods
The examined initiatives were created either by independent and not-for-profit organizations or
private companies and individual researchers.
As far as the PI is concerned, there has been an adaptation to the four principle areas of concern
encompassing: (i) additional aspects such as Senators, MEPs, political groups and Member States
(MS) as well as dimensions of the activity, behaviour and performance of individuals or political
groups (‘individual legislators’ area); (ii) the general legislative procedure and means of
parliamentary control indicating the actions of MPs/MEPs etc., the number of different legislative
documents or actions used for the legislative procedure as well as the status of a legislative
document during the legislative procedure as far as the particular legislative proposals are
concerned; (iii) different types of voting (voice vote, roll-call votes), as well as other aspects related
to voting (missed votes percentage, vote distribution etc.) addressed to MPs/MEPs, Senators,
political groups, MS countries; and (iv) the change of a legislative text (already as an enacted law)
over time by giving details such as additions, removals, modifications regarding an article or a
sentence. This area of concern (‘text of legislation’) also covers the words that have been mentioned
or used by legislators or political groups focusing on several aspects (frequency, popularity etc.).
The adapted classification of PI areas of concern indicates not only the complexity of the
parliamentary function but also highlights the possibilities in terms of PIV initiatives regarding
data combination and visual representation using a variety of visualization methods. In particular,
the majority of PIV initiatives focuses on the visual representation of characteristics, personal data,
attendance, activity, behaviour and performance of MPs, MEPs, political groups or member-state
countries. On the other hand, only a small percentage of PIV initiatives (5 out of 19 initiatives)
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focuses on the visual representation of particular legislative proposals or actions of MPs, MEPs etc.
based on the means of parliamentary control.
With regard to the visualization methods that have been observed in general, bar charts, pie
charts, line charts, timelines, tables, scatterplots, data maps, word clouds and tree maps are the
most common.
The ‘individual legislators’ area of concern uses bar charts; tables and pie charts as the preferred
methods to visually represent information related to characteristics of this grouping. A noteworthy
feature is the use of timeline with other visualization methods such as area chart, histogram, line
chart, scatterplot. Despite the small scale use of these methods, this is an interesting dimension for
this area of PI. Tables is the method used by the majority of ‘particular legislative proposals, while
bar charts, pie charts and area charts is the most common visualization method for ‘votes’. Finally,
wordcloud appears to be the most common practice for the visual representation regarding ‘text of
legislation’.
Moreover, the variety and number of visualization methods deployed for each PIV initiative, the
focus on many areas of concern regarding Parliamentary Informatics or the visualization of as
much as possible information, do not necessarily render a PIV initiative successful. Reinforcing
this argument, Kosara (2013) mentions characteristically that, for instance, “the seemingly simple
choice between a bar and a line chart has implications on how we perceive the data” (para.10);
moreover, “findings and distinctions in visualization can be subtle, but they can have a profound
impact on how well we can read the information and how we interpret it” (ibid.para.12). This is
also the case of the timelines in conjunction with other visualization methods. Different methods as
well as the selection of different time variables such as ‘time points vs. time intervals’, ‘linear,
cyclic or branching structure of time’, ‘static vs. dynamic representations’ (Aigner, Miksch, Müller,
Schumann, Tominski, 2007) and others can provide different interpretations and results to the
viewers. Wordclouds are another interesting visualization method when enablers try to visually
represent text. These are the cases of ‘Nupubliek’, ‘Nos Députés’, ‘Nos Sénateurs’,
‘Congressspeaks’ and ‘Folketsting’ that depict “statistical and semantic attributes such as the
frequency and context of individual words and the combinations of words into topics or themes”
(Wise, Thomas, Pennock, Lantrip, Pottier, Schur, Crow, 1995, p. 52). On the contrary, there is an
exception to this rule with the ‘Capitolwords’ initiative deploying a timeline method in
conjunction with parallel coordinates to combine words into topics or themes.
Setting criteria for PIV completeness
The previous discussion showed that there is a variety of visualization methods implemented by
each PIV initiative and each area of concern on PI. For this reason, the current study furthermore
attempts to assess the completeness of PIV initiatives based on a critical approach of Information
Visualization proposed by Dörk, Feng, Collins & Carpendale (2013) for the examined PIV
initiatives. This theoretical framework encompasses four principles such as disclosure, plurality,
contingency and empowerment (ibid., para.16). Dörk et al. (2013) also claim that “the main aim of
engaging visualizations is to make a connection between the viewer and an issue” (ibid., para. 39).
For this reason, the present study encompasses connection as an additional principle. The selection
of this classification, although not an authoritative one, “but rather a starting point for exploring
issues of power in visualization” (ibid., para.16), suits the present study because it enables a
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holistic approach of the aspects related to a PIV initiative: (i) user engagement and empowerment,
(ii) enabler aspirations, and (iii) aspects related to the visualization method.
Connection is the most crucial principle for a visualization, linking the issue with the viewer
(Dörk et al.). If an issue is not engaging to the viewer, then the viewer will not proceed to
understand and explore the visualization. This principle encompasses the following
techniques for the needs of our study: “high-level view and a broad perspective of the
visualization(s)”; “provision of a map for the connection with the viewer’s world”;
“invitation for shaping the visualization”; “personal connection via biographical
information” (ibid., para. 41, 42, 44) particularly about MPs;
Disclosure encompasses the designers’ aspirations on the potential effects of the
visualization. These effects invite “the viewer into exchanges with the designer, reflections
about the visualization, and engagement with an issue” (Dörk et al., para.17). In particular,
“description of designers’/creators’ aspirations for the potential effects of the
visualization”; “invitation of the viewer for the exchange of views with the designers as
well as reflections about the visualization”; “information about the goal of the exploration”;
“accompanying articles and background information for the intent behind the project” as
well as “the ability of the viewer to comprehend the reasons of the generated issues” are
the techniques used for the evaluation of the examined PIV initiatives as adapted for the
needs of the current study;
Plurality implies not only the exposure of the multiple aspects regarding visualizations but
also the variety of the interpretations (Dörk et al., para.18). This principle includes
techniques such as the “perspectives that are emphasized or hidden”; the provision of
facets for the exploration of statistical and personal information “allowing the viewer to
approach the information at different levels”. Dörk et al. (2013) explain in the case of
emphasized or hidden perspectives that “it is feasible to expose marginal, unconventional,
and challenging angles of an issue to help the viewer to reflect their own assumptions.
There may be situations in which the visualization designer deliberatively chooses to
advocate a specific standpoint instead of offering a nuanced set of perspectives” (para. 18);
Contingency implies the technical and operational provision of “flexible visualizations” that
do not lead to “pre-determined conclusions” but rather engage viewers more deeply with a
given issue and relate it to their life”, enable them “for more unique and profound
experiences and insights” (Dörk et al., para.19). Contingency indicates the element of the
unexpected and the uncertainty in the visualization. The question that has to be answered
in our study is if “it is possible to design a visualization that acknowledges the situation of
the viewer in relation to the phenomenon being represented”(ibid., para. 19);
Empowerment is the end result and scope of a successful visualization, i.e. it enables
“visualization creators to let their voice be heard and perspective be seen”; permits
“viewers to question visual representations, utilize them to tell their own story, and shift
from awareness to action”; “help people interact with one another, and make linkages
across different backgrounds and connect visualizations with actual civic engagement”
(Dörk et al., para.20). At the same time, the designer has to take into account impediments
in terms of the viewers, such as their different background, literacy issues or access to
technology, “perceptual abilities, gender, and other forms of oppression” (ibid., para.20).
For the needs of this study, the empowering character of the PIV initiatives is evaluated
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based on the following: ability to add comments and links; ability of subscription for
following up specific areas of the platform; possibility to print and forward by e-mail the
provided information; sharing in social media; access of data programmatically; references
to other links which are related to the main theme; creation of links and visualizations by
the user.
Findings on PIV completeness
The abovementioned framework serves as a good guide for the completeness assessment
regarding the documented PIV initiatives. Having in mind: (i) our intention to focus impartially on
the completeness of the PIV initiatives, (ii) the fact that our point of view as users may be
subjective in some cases regarding the perception and further exploration of the visualizations’
context, and (iii) the limitations in encompassing all the aspects of each examined visualization,
following conclusions have been extracted:
The techniques encompassed in the connection principle prove that the majority of PIV
initiatives offer a high-level view and broad perspective of the visualizations via their home page.
The use of maps in these initiatives in order to connect with the viewers’ world is encountered in 7
of them. This fact relies on the enablers’ disposition on how they want to attract the viewer (in the
cases of the ‘Nos Députés’ and ‘Nos Sénateurs’) but also in the case of the initiatives that are
addressed to countries with a federal system (U.S.A., Germany). With regard to personal
connection by providing MPs’ personal information, most of the cases focus directly on the
visualization based on the respective PI areas of concern. Furthermore, only a few initiatives
provide a personal connection to biographical information of MPs through a link redirecting either
to their websites or to their social media profiles. Similarly, only a few of them invite users to
shape the visualization.
The disclosure principle provides satisfactory results for all of the five characteristics. The
enablers have developed the part of providing information on their aspirations and provide
communication channels to contact with the users. However, only 1 of the examined initiatives
explains in detail the use of the selected visualization methods and their scope. Accompanying
articles and background information are provided by almost all the initiatives. Similarly, the
majority of initiatives allow viewers to comprehend the reasons for the views generated except for
one that redirects to an external link.
As regards plurality, the majority of the PIV initiatives enable users to see perspectives that are
emphasized or hidden, such as characteristic words spoken in debates, performance since the
beginning of the parliamentary term, loyalty or rebellion from a political party. In the same
manner, the provision of facets for the exploration of statistical and personal information is
ensured. A characteristic example is that of the U.S. Congress Members (GovTrack.us). In
particular, the enablers via the contribution of scatterplots focus on emphasizing angles of
Members of Congress behaviour in order to show the frequency of cosponsorship in bills
(leadership score) (Govtrack.us, 2013, para.1), as well as cosponsorhip of similar sets of bills among
them (ideology score) (Govtrack.us, 2013, para.2).
In terms of the visualizations’ contingency, several methods are deployed, while results may
vary. For example, the use of tables – which is the most common visualization method for the
majority of PIV initiatives – is not always applicable, effective and comprehensible to the user. In
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some cases tables provide useful insights, whereas in others toggling between several variables
without further explanation on their use may be confusing to the user and impede further
exploration and use. Similarly, in the case of scatterplots the results are diverse. In one case, useful
insights are offered to the viewer via background documents and redirection to relevant scientific
articles not only on the use of scatterplots but also on the further exploration of the information
regarding MPs’ behaviour or performance. Yet, other initiatives do not provide sufficient
information on this method. This results in depriving the user from fully understanding and
exploring the given data.
The empowerment principle is of utmost importance because it proves the completeness of the
initiative connecting it with other contexts, digital or physical. Following results have been derived
on this aspect: (i) only 9 out of 19 PIV initiatives provide commenting or embedding links; (ii) 13
initiatives deploy social media in their platforms. However, most of them are related to the
enablers’ profiles and not the actual sharing of data or information; (iii) only 2 initiatives provide
the possibility to share information of MP votes or user votes compared to those of an MEP on
social media; (iv) only 8 initiatives offer subscription for following up specific areas of the
platform, only 7 of them offer the print or e-mail possibility of information, whereas 13 of them
enable access to data programmatically; (v) only 4 initiatives enable users to create links or
visualizations usually by providing free software or embedding links to one’s website.
Discussion
The examined PIV initiatives reveal significant aspects not only in terms of the visualization
methods but also as regards the extent of their completeness and their contribution to
parliamentary openness and subsequent legislative transparency. Each initiative shows its
originality by visually representing different areas of concern on PI, deploying different
visualization methods without any concrete criteria on this selection and achieving different
results.
Connection seems to rely on the disposal of each enabler regarding the choice of method to
connect or further engage the viewer (map, shaping of visualization, redirection to personal
information of MPs etc.). A map is a technique that immediately attracts viewer interest to
be further engaged with the initiative and is recommended on a project scale, which
involves countries with a federal system or if the enablers want to focus on constituencies.
Connection and engagement are even more effective when users are asked to shape the
visualization according to their ideas or preferences. For example, when users are called to
use their own preferences or variables to shape the visualization or to compare their votes
with those of MPs or MEPs, this self-exploration creates the feeling that much more
interesting insights are in store for the given visualization. With regard to personal
connection via biographical information of MPs, the intention and focus of PIV initiatives
seems to be the visual representation of data and information regarding MPs’ activity and
performance,
Disclosure plays a crucial role for further engagement of the viewers and their subsequent
empowerment. The findings have led us to the following observations: (i) whereas a simple
visualization method (e.g. pie chart) does not necessitate further explanation, other
methods encompassing several variables (e.g. tables, scatterplots, wordclouds, combination
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of timeline with another visualization method) require sufficient reasoning on the choice of
method, based on the aspirations of the enablers and clarifications via background
documents for the function of the chosen method(s); (ii) a well-designed visualization that
provides its message with simplicity and immediacy does not always require a detailed
explanation. However, it does not always provide further insights or engagement; (iii) a
data set containing too much information requires a detailed analysis; (iv) lack of
background information on the function of a more complicated visualization method can
lead to disengagement at the stage of exploration and failure in empowering the viewer for
further action either online or offline,
Plurality determines whether there is a variety of interpretations behind the sole visual
representation of information and provides the enablers with the ability to focus on several
angles of the issue. This is a challenging case in terms of European projects due to the
complexity of parliamentary work and procedures, the absence of viewer knowledge on
EU or European Commission (EC) document terminology or abbreviations and the
additional habituation with the provided visualization method. In other words, instead of
letting viewers search among different information or provide them only a variety of
different information, it would be preferable to focus on some aspects of an issue. In this
case, the provision of supportive material regarding the use of the specific visualization
method and the expected outcomes by the enablers can be helpful to non-expert viewers.
This is an issue of utmost importance that will be further discussed,
Contingency seems to be dependent on several aspects ranging from user perception to
enabler choice: (i) to design according to the needs of their audience; (ii) to their ability to
faithfully present data; and (iii) to deeply engage their audience with the visualized
information. There seems to be a connection between contingency and disclosure as far as
the provision of background or supportive information is concerned on the use of the
selected visualization methods and the expected outcomes. This fact justifies our previous
observations as regard the disclosure principle, as well the findings mentioned above on
visualization methods (wordclouds, tables, timelines in combination with other
visualization methods). In our opinion, enabler weakness in some cases to focus on a user-
centric design and perception, deprives them of the possibility to fully exploiting the
benefits of PI visualization,
The empowerment principle is crucial not only in terms of the completeness of a PIV
initiative but also in terms of enabling viewers to participate both in digital or physical
context. The more options for information and participation that a PIV initiative
encompasses – both traditional and contemporary - the more inclusive it is. These data
signify that the percentage of traditional means of communication is relatively low
compared to the means of accessing data programmatically. This percentage is inversely
proportional to the number of novice versus qualified users indicating that these initiatives
are possibly addressed to a qualified public rather than citizens who intend to get informed
on the actual parliamentary work. This argument is also reinforced by the fact that a small
percentage of the initiatives focus primary on the technical part with data provision via
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), addressing solely a group of people
acquainted with them. The detailed data provided by two initiatives with regard to the
user registration and engagement in the platform proves that the number of users
commenting on several parliamentary issues is quite low relatively compared to the
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number of subscribers. This fact determines that most users visit the platform to get
informed and are not actually engaged in an issue. Yet, this remains a point of further
research regarding the evaluation of PIV effectiveness by the provided initiatives.
In our opinion, the following cases are characterized as best practices due to their completeness:
(i) both initiatives addressed to the National Assembly of France and the French Senate (‘Nos
Députés’, ‘Nos Sénateurs’); (ii) the initiative addressed to the Italian Chamber (‘Open Parlamento’);
and (iii) the one focusing on the European Parliament (‘Votewatch Europe’). All of them seem to
engage their users either online or offline. Nevertheless, further research is needed in order to
evaluate their effectiveness.
Concluding remarks
This study on the PIV initiatives has proved their usefulness and their role as mediators between
all the interested parties (public, civil society, NGOs, media) and parliaments. Undoubtedly, PIV
initiatives can contribute to Parliamentary Openness and pave the way for legislative transparency
and accountability to some extent. In particular, by providing information as complete as possible
and stating the limitations (e.g. not 100% verified results in votes’ extraction due to absence of
voting records in parliamentary websites; not knowing all the aspects on MPs’ absence such as
justified absence due to sickness; lack of the appropriate supportive technological tools in terms of
the parliaments for the extraction of data); stating the time of data updating (every few hours,
daily etc.); the manner of data updating (e.g. scraping of the data through parliamentary websites
etc.); providing information on MPs assets, votes etc. or trying to assess their performance indicate
the efforts on this direction.
For the time being, visualizations fulfil the informative part and in some cases encourage
exploration as regards the visualization of several PI areas of concern. This study has revealed that
engagement even with the aid of visualizations is a hard to reach task requiring an in depth and
constant commitment in terms of the enablers with: the recruitment of teams acquainted with the
legislative procedure; the ability to focus on user-centric design of visualizations; the disposal on
guiding their audience and explaining the use and the expected outcomes of the deployed
visualizations; the provision of both traditional and contemporary means of information sharing;
the disposal in motivating viewers and users to be further engaged both online and offline.
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About the Authors
Aspasia Papaloi
Aspasia Papaloi is a public servant at the Hellenic Parliament since 2002 with an extensive experience in
European and International issues and is currently working in the IT and New Technologies Directorate.
She holds a B.A. in German Literature and Language and an MA in ICT Management. She is a research
fellow of the Laboratory of New Technologies in Communication, Education and the Mass Media (University
of Athens) and her PhD research involves e-parliaments with a special focus on the use of visualizations for
the achievement of transparency.
Dimitris Gouscos
Dimitris Gouscos is Assistant Professor with the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies of the
University of Athens and a research fellow of the Laboratory of New Technologies in Communication,
Education and the Mass Media, where he contributes to the co-ordination of two research groups on Digital
Media for Learning and Digital Media for Participation. His research interests include applications of digital
communication in open governance, participatory media, interactive storytelling and playful learning.
More details available at: http://www.media.uoa.gr/~gouscos.
CeDEM14 International Conference for E-Democracy and Open Government 2014
Danube University Krems, 21.05.2014 - 23.05.2014
Annex I. Parliamentary Information Visualization (PIV) Initiatives
Country/
Region
PIV initiative/Website Project scale
Visualization
methods
1. USA
Open States
http://openstates.org/
Federal
Pie chart
2. USA GovTrack.us
http://www.govtrack.us
Federal Scatterplot, bar
chart, line chart
3. USA CongressSpeaks
http://www.congressspeaks.com/
Federal Bar chart, area
chart, wordcloud
4. USA
CapitolWords http://capitolwords.org Federal Bar chart, pie chart,
timeline and parallel
coordinates
5. EUROPE
VoteWatch Europe
http://www.votewatch.eu/
European Bar chart, area
chart, pie chart,
timeline, timeline and
histogram, wordcloud,
table
6. EUROPE ParlTrack
http://parltrack.euwiki.org/
European Table, treemap, bar
chart
7. EUROPE It’s Your Parliament.eu
http://www.itsyourparliament.eu/
European Bar chart, area chart
8. GERMANY
Namentliche Abstimmungen
http://www.bundestag.de/bundestag/ple
num/abstimmung/index.jsp
Federal Area chart
9. GERMANY
Additional Incomes of Parliamentarians
(Nebeneinkünfte)
http://vis4.net/labs/nebeneinkuenfte/
Federal,
Regional
Data map
10. GERMANY
The Making of a Law (Parteiengesetz)
http://visualisiert.net/parteiengesetz/index.
en.html
Federal Timeline
11. FRANCE
Nos Députés
http://www.Nos Députés.fr/
National Bar chart, area
chart, pie chart, table,
wordcloud, timeline
and area chart
12. FRANCE
Nos Sénateurs
http://www.Nos Sénateurs.fr/
National Bar chart, pie chart,
timeline and area
chart, wordcloud
CeDEM14 International Conference for E-Democracy and Open Government 2014
Danube University Krems, 21.05.2014 - 23.05.2014
Country/
Region
PIV initiative/Website Project scale
Visualization
methods
13. CZECH
REPUBLIC-
SLOVAKIA
Kohovolit
http://en.kohovolit.eu/about
Regional,
national,
European
Table, timeline and
scatterplot
14. SLOVAKIA Dotankoch
http://dotankoch.sk/
National Histogram, pie
chart, line chart
15. DENMARK Folkets Ting
http://folketsting.dk/
National Pie chart,
wordcloud
16. ITALY
OpenParlamento
http://parlamento16.openpolis.it/
National Bar chart, pie chart,
wordcloud, timeline,
table
17. LITHUANIA
Seime.lt
http://seime.lt/
National Bar chart, area
chart, pie chart,
histogram
18. NETHERLANDS Nupubliek
http://www.nupubliek.nl/
National Timeline, table,
wordcloud
19. SPAIN-BASQUE Parlio
http://parlio.org/
Regional Timeline and line
chart
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Austria License
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/at/).
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The process of manually consolidating the historical revisions of law documents, by finding and applying in the appropriate chronological order all existing modifications to the original text, is usually tedious and mentally demanding. However, since legal language is highly structured, natural language processing techniques can be adopted to automate this process. In this paper, we present a semi-automatic system for the consolidation of Greek legislative texts, following an approach based on regular expressions. Consolidated versions of laws are pushed in a revision control system, enhancing open access to legislation. A manual step is necessary in order to fix system failures caused by syntax errors or related to wrong application of the legal rules by law makers.
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The paper describes an approach to IV that involves spatializing text content for enhanced visual browsing and analysis. The application arena is large text document corpora such as digital libraries, regulations and procedures, archived reports, etc. The basic idea is that text content from these sources may be transformed to a spatial representation that preserves informational characteristics from the documents. The spatial representation may then be visually browsed and analyzed in ways that avoid language processing and that reduce the analysts mental workload. The result is an interaction with text that more nearly resembles perception and action with the natural world than with the abstractions of written language.
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This groundbreaking book defines the emerging field of information visualization and offers the first-ever collection of the classic papers of the discipline, with introductions and analytical discussions of each topic and paper. The authors' intention is to present papers that focus on the use of visualization to discover relationships, using interactive graphics to amplify thought. This book is intended for research professionals in academia and industry; new graduate students and professors who want to begin work in this burgeoning field; professionals involved in financial data analysis, statistics, and information design; scientific data managers; and professionals involved in medical, bioinformatics, and other areas. * Full-color reproduction throughout * Author power team - an exciting and timely collaboration between the field's pioneering, most-respected names * The only book on Information Visualization with the depth necessary for use as a text or as a reference for the information professional * Text includes the classic source papers as well as a collection of cutting edge work
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As information visualization is increasingly used to raise awareness about social issues, difficult questions arise about the power of visualization. So far the research community has not given sufficient thought to how values and assumptions pervade information visualization. Taking engaging visualizations as a starting point, we outline a critical approach that promotes disclosure, plurality, contingency, and empowerment. Based on this approach, we pose some challenges and opportunities for visualization researchers and practitioners.
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From the Publisher:Narrative surrounds us. We see it in television, movies, newspapers, video games, web sites, and books. These art forms are evolving and merging in new, exciting ways. With its roots in film and theater, the art of interactive narrative is visual, it includes character perspective and it follows dramatic patterns. It diverges from these roots, however, because it allows readers to change the plot. This book examines the intersection of storytelling, visual art, and interactivity. It proposes working methods, theories, interviews, and examples for authors of this art form. This means that the roles of the authors and readers are merging. It not only changes the ways we read and write, it changes the way we see.
The Science of What We Do (and Don't) Know About Data Visualization
  • R Kosara
Kosara, R. (2013, April 11). The Science of What We Do (and Don't) Know About Data Visualization [Harvard Business Review Blog Network].
Guidelines for Parliamentary Websites Geneva: Inter-Parliamentary Union Retrieved
IPU (2009). Guidelines for Parliamentary Websites. Geneva: Inter-Parliamentary Union Retrieved December 6, 2013, from http://www.ipu.org/PDF/publications/web-e.pdf
Ideology Analysis of Members of Congress
  • Govtrack
  • Us
GovTrack.us (2013). Ideology Analysis of Members of Congress. Retrieved August 26, 2013, from https://www.govtrack.us/about/analysis.
The Question All Smart Visualizations Should Ask
  • M Schrage
Schrage, M. (2013, March 26). The Question All Smart Visualizations Should Ask [Harvard Business Review Blog Network].