Digital Humanities

Automatic Bill Recommendation for Statehouse Journalists

AI4Reporters is a project designed to produce automated electronic tip sheets for news reporters covering the statehouses (state level legislatures) in the United States. The project aims to capture the most important information that occurred in a bill discussion to allow reporters to quickly decide if they want to pursue a story on the subject. In this paper, we present, discuss and evaluate a module for the tip sheets that is designed to recommend additional bills to investigate for the reporter that receives the tip sheet.

Feature Engineering for US State Legislative Hearings: Stance, Affiliation, Engagement and Absentees

In US State government legislatures, most activity occurs in committees made of lawmakers discussing bills. This paper presents systems to extract legislators' engagement and absence during committee meetings and the stance and affiliation of non-lawmakers making public comments. We propose a system to track the affiliation of organizations in public comments and whether the organizational representative supports or opposes the bill.

African Californios: Uncovering the African past of Spanish and Mexican California using Data Science Methods

Scholars and the public readily accept that Afro-descendants populated Spanish and Mexican California, though little work has been done on the topic. Often cited is the 1790 census of California’s four presidios, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Monterey, and San Francisco, and its two struggling towns, San Jose and Los Angeles, which identifies roughly 19% of their populations as being of African descent.  The extent of the impact of Afro-descendants in early California, however, has been little understood and underexamined.

Government Transparency at The State Level and the Challenge for Democracy

Government transparency challenges exist in many forms but at the level of US State legislatures, but they are particularly egregious as public hearings are not documented in text. No official written record of public legislative meetings exists in any state legislature in America. Although a number of states have close captioned videos, these are not accurate or searchable. They are only in English. There is also no identification of speakers, bills, votes, locations, committees, etc.

Exploring Reporter-Desired Features for an AI-Generated Legislative News Tip Sheet

This research concerns the perceived need for and benefits of an algorithmically generated, personalizable tip sheet that could be used by journalists to improve and expand coverage of state legislatures. This study engaged in two research projects to understand if working journalists could make good use of such a tool and, if so, what features and functionalities they would most value within it. This study also explored journalists’ perceptions of the role of such tools in their newswork.

Morgan Papers: Exploring the Correspondence of California’s First Female Architect

Descriptive metadata and full-text transcripts have long been valued for their roles in powering search engines and faceted browsing. But as the web application demonstrates, such textual data (both structured and unstructured) can be leveraged to build a variety of tools which provide deeper and broader insight than simple searching and browsing. The Robert E.

Digital Democracy Project: Making Government More Transparent one Video at a Time

The Digital Democracy platform obtains data about the legislative committee hearings: the video archives, the information about the state legislature and so on. Figure 1 shows the design of the DD system. The main source of information for the DD platform is the Cal Channel video archive of legislative sessions, a service provided courtesy of cable TV companies that operate in California.