Release Notes: Building GovLens, an automated .gov analysis platform

Release Notes: Building GovLens, an automated .gov analysis platform

Come hack transparency with us Tuesday evening

Edited by JPat Brown

Last week, there were no new feature releases on MuckRock, but we continued pushing improvements on GovLens as we get it ready for launch.

For previous site improvements, check out all of MuckRock’s release notes, and if you’d like to get a list of site improvements every Tuesday - along with ways to help contribute to the site’s development yourself - subscribe to our developer newsletter here.

Site Updates

Refactoring GovLens and an AWS tutorial

We recently announced the name for our new .gov site analysis tool, GovLens, and last week at Code for Boston we continued to develop it out, refactoring a few minor features and talking through the production environment.

This included a group discussion of AWS and how we wanted to stage GovLens, as well as a discussion about key areas of site messaging (including a new about page!). Work will continue Tuesday evening - read on for details.

Come hack transparency with us

Every Tuesday night, we gather in Cambridge with a group of coders, designers, and others who want to see more open government. The past few months, we’ve been mixing MuckRock’s agency database with a set of scanners and scrapers to help gauge the accessibility, mobile-friendliness, and security of America’s digital infrastructure.

You can find out more and join us by checking out Code for Boston’s website.

Reporting bugs and submitting fixes

There are a number of other ways to help us continue to improve the core MuckRock site experience. We have a project and a weekly newsletter, “Release Notes,” that highlights everything we’re working on. Register to get a summary of site updates each week and details on open issues you can help with.

Check out some of our issues labeled “help wanted” for ideas on where’s good to start, or just pop into our Slack’s #Developers channel.

Subscribers to the weekly newsletter get exclusive data sets, FOIA-related scripts, and other transparency hacker tidbits exclusively for subscribers. You can subscribe to the newsletter at the top or bottom of this page.

If you spot a bug or have a feature request, you can also help by opening an issue on GitHub.

If you do, please search open issues first to make sure it hasn’t already been reported. If it has been reported previously, please leave an additional comment letting us know it’s an issue for you, particularly if you can provide more details about when it crops up or what you think is causing the problem.

In addition to the new newsletter, we have a developer channel on the MuckRock Slack.

Image via Wikimedia Commons