Center for
 Responsive
   Politics

   OpenSecrets.org

      Susan Alger
Information Technology
        Director
Who We Are

•   The nation’s premier research group tracking money in U.S.
    federal politics.
•   Our goal is to create...
What We Do

•   We gather raw data from the FEC , IRS, SOPR and
    others

•   We standardize and code millions of indivi...
Core Databases
New Databases
How We Do It

• 16 full time staff
     3 Administration
     2 Communications
     7 Data coding and Research
     4 Tech...
Challenges
• Maintaining our core functions
  – Shrinking, insufficient resources
  – Expanding data sets
  – New data set...
Got Some – Need More!

• Social Networking   • Mash Ups
• RSS                 • APIs
                      • Mapping
In the Works

• Databank            • ASPs
• Pivotability        • Personalization
                      • Power Searching
Considered – but Rejected

  • Blogs
  • Distributed Networking
  • Wikis
What’s Worked

•   Hire well and leverage talents
•   Automate
•   Open source and low cost specialty tools
•   Partnershi...
Guiding Principles

•   Hire brightest creative self-learners
•   Focus on the organization mission
•   Keep your core str...
Center for
     Responsive
       Politics
      OpenSecrets.org

          Susan Alger
Information Technology Director
  ...
Forum One Web Executive Seminar Series: Internet Technology Investment Planning at The Center for Responsive Politics
Forum One Web Executive Seminar Series: Internet Technology Investment Planning at The Center for Responsive Politics
Forum One Web Executive Seminar Series: Internet Technology Investment Planning at The Center for Responsive Politics
Forum One Web Executive Seminar Series: Internet Technology Investment Planning at The Center for Responsive Politics
Forum One Web Executive Seminar Series: Internet Technology Investment Planning at The Center for Responsive Politics
Forum One Web Executive Seminar Series: Internet Technology Investment Planning at The Center for Responsive Politics
Forum One Web Executive Seminar Series: Internet Technology Investment Planning at The Center for Responsive Politics
Forum One Web Executive Seminar Series: Internet Technology Investment Planning at The Center for Responsive Politics
Forum One Web Executive Seminar Series: Internet Technology Investment Planning at The Center for Responsive Politics
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Forum One Web Executive Seminar Series: Internet Technology Investment Planning at The Center for Responsive Politics

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This presentation was given by Susi Alger, the Director of Technology for The Center for Responsive Politics during Forum One's Web Executive Seminar Series at the National Press Club in Washington DC on June 21st, 2007. More information at http://www.forumone.com/content/calendar/detail/2169 . Contact: Kurt Voelker / kvoelker@ForumOne.com .

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Forum One Web Executive Seminar Series: Internet Technology Investment Planning at The Center for Responsive Politics

  1. 1. Center for Responsive Politics OpenSecrets.org Susan Alger Information Technology Director
  2. 2. Who We Are • The nation’s premier research group tracking money in U.S. federal politics. • Our goal is to create a more educated voter, an involved citizenry and a more responsive government. • Our web sites: – OpenSecrets.org provides a personal investigation kit for anyone inquiring about money’s impact on elections and public policy – CapitalEye.org provides analysis
  3. 3. What We Do • We gather raw data from the FEC , IRS, SOPR and others • We standardize and code millions of individual contribution, expenditure and lobbying records using automated processes, research and manual edits. • We make this information available on our web sites and via specialized research requests to journalists, advocacy groups, academics and the public
  4. 4. Core Databases
  5. 5. New Databases
  6. 6. How We Do It • 16 full time staff 3 Administration 2 Communications 7 Data coding and Research 4 Technology (IT Director, Systems Administrator, DB Manager and Web programmer) • $1.3 million annual budget
  7. 7. Challenges • Maintaining our core functions – Shrinking, insufficient resources – Expanding data sets – New data sets • Meeting/exceeding the expectations of the public, our board, our funders and ourselves • Making HUGE data sets accessible, meaningful and interesting • Limited funding sources
  8. 8. Got Some – Need More! • Social Networking • Mash Ups • RSS • APIs • Mapping
  9. 9. In the Works • Databank • ASPs • Pivotability • Personalization • Power Searching
  10. 10. Considered – but Rejected • Blogs • Distributed Networking • Wikis
  11. 11. What’s Worked • Hire well and leverage talents • Automate • Open source and low cost specialty tools • Partnerships • Teamwork
  12. 12. Guiding Principles • Hire brightest creative self-learners • Focus on the organization mission • Keep your core strong • Insist on maintainability • Cross-train and cultivate • Learn from your mistakes
  13. 13. Center for Responsive Politics OpenSecrets.org Susan Alger Information Technology Director salger@crp.org

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