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Capitol Words

The Sunlight Foundation has an interesting site entitled “Capitol Words.” Per their website, Capitol Words “visualizes the most frequently used words in the Congressional Record, giving you an at-a-glance view of which issues lawmakers address.” The site provides users with graphs, tag clouds, and maps outlining the most popular words spoken by Federal lawmakers.

Researchers can enter a word into the search box (e.g. Autism) to retrieve a variety of visual data. Information includes a timeline showing the frequency of the word used in Congress over the past few years and by particular lawmaker.

The site allows for searching by day, week, month, year or a particular session. On the homepage is also a list of the “quietest” and “most vocal” lawmakers. A search of Senator Kohl indicates that his two most frequently spoken words so far this session are “price” and “antitrust.”

Other features include the ability to compare word usage (e.g. education vs. grant) and an interactive map of the U.S. This map leads the researcher to the lawmakers for a particular state, listing who is the most vocal and which words were spoken most frequently. Here is the screen shot from Wisconsin:

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I am still trying to identify some work applications for the site. It is interesting material, but I think the site would have more value if it linked directly to the Congressional Record. Any ideas?

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