Apture, WashingtonPost.com, and Tech-assisted Transparency
December 15th, 2008

I first became aware of Apture when it was in beta, through one of my digital journalism students. I would be doing Apture a disservice by describing it only as an online tool useful to journalists. By teaming up with WashingtonPost.com, Apture demonstrates exactly how it is also an online tool for citizens — technology-assisted transparency in government.

First, WashingtonPost.com will now be using Apture across their entire web site whenever the name of a United States Congressman is mentioned. Just click on their name to instantly view voting records, biographies, and financial disclosures — all without leaving the page. Give it a try right now with these links (if you’re reading this in RSS, open this page in a browser to view the links):

* see Barack Obama’s missed votes in Congress,
* Joe Biden’s financial disclosures, or
* see John McCain’s full WashingtonPost.com congress profile.

The WashingtonPost.com has an incredible database of Congress & Votes data going back to 1991, and we wanted to make it even easier for their readers to access this dormant content. There’s a big difference between the availability of information and the accessibility of information. Just because you build a library doesn’t mean people will want to go and read. Apture is a way of bringing the library to users, so they don’t have to go. Reducing the number of clicks or seconds it takes to get to the center of the information Tootsie Pop matters a lot.

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