New DiscoverText Import Available: Congressional Bills Via GovTrack

Tonight we’ve added a new import ability to DiscoverText – for any user with a Professional or Enterprise license (as well as the 30-day free trial license), you can now directly import data on Federal Congressional bills.

Thanks to the excellent efforts of GovTrack and the Sunlight Foundation, we are able to use the GovTrack search API to provide you the ability to search for bills, then using the Sunlight Lab’s Congress API, pull in the bill summaries and related metadata as new importable documents into DiscoverText.

As of the moment, only the summary of the bill text is available to us via the API, however, we hope that in the near future, we will be able to not only import the full text, but also integrate this new import option as a scheduled feed to automatically pull in new statuses on bills as they become available.

Here’s a quick primer on the new import functionality:

1) From your data import page for a project, select “GovTrack Data”:

2) Enter your search criteria and select the Congressional Term to search in:

3) From your list of search results, pick and choose which items to add to your “shopping cart” of bills to import into an archive. Also from here, you can go back to the search page to enter a new search to add more items to your “cart”:

4) When you have your items in your cart and are ready to “checkout”, click on the “view selections” link to view your selections. From this view, you can remove any and all items from your selections:

5) Finally – when you have the items ready in your selection “cart”, click the “create archive” link at the top of your selection list to create an archive:

Once you click the “Import” button, sit back and allow DiscoverText to gather your results in the background and create (or add to) an archive.

We hope you enjoy and find this new import ability useful – keep on the lookout here and via the @DiscoverTextDev and @Texifter twitter accounts for new and exciting updates to DiscoverText – and as always, feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.


About Mark J. Hoy

Texifter CTO Mark J. Hoy brings over 18 years of professional IT experience as well as over 28 years of programming hailing from a wide swath of areas including academic research, R&D for the defense industry and the Director of Programming for a graphic design and multimedia firm. Mark graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2007 with a Masters in Information Technology, Software Design and Management as well as in 2000 with a B.S. in Information and Decision Systems. When not poking around with the internals of DiscoverText, Mark keeps himself busy as an amateur guitarist for over 20 years and a tinkerer of all things.
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