Minnesota  State Archives

Center for Archival Resources On Legislatures (CAROL)

Access: Sunlight Foundation

Sunlight Foundation Projects

To gain a different perspective on access to government data, the NDIIPP project team worked with the Sunlight Foundation. The Sunlight Foundation is a data user, rather than a data producer.

Sunlight assisted with creating the Best Practice Principles for Opening Up Government Information paper. They also worked on two projects using government information; a OpenGovernment page for Minnesota and a mobile application with government data for Minnesota and other states.


OpenGovernment Website

OpenGovernment.org is an example of a mashup. OpenGovernment allows people to track legislation, follow money trails, and contact legislators all in one spot. Combining all of the data sources necessary to create such a site is a challenge.

The Sunlight Foundation and Participation Politics Foundation (PPF) have implemented OpenGovernment.org with five initial states: California, Louisiana, Maryland, Texas and Wisconsin. A Minnesota specific site is now available.

This blog post announces the OpenGovernment Minnesota page and provides details about the content and process of creating the page.


Mobile Application

The Sunlight Foundation has also created a mobile application that uses OpenStates data. Based on TexLege, the mobile app will allow users to track legislative information for the states for which OpenStates collects data. The Open States app can be found in iTunes here.



This report, written by Sunlight in November 2011, explains the purpose of both projects, the issues encountered, and recommendations for access to government data, as well as initial evaluation of both projects.


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February 21 2012; links verified March 29, 2013.

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