There's a fortuitous convergence happening right now at the City of Portland. The Bureau of Technology Services is in the process of providing a new system to the Auditor's office to manage City Council agendas. At the same time, many of the same folks on the technology team (Portland's IT department) are working on the City/Regional Open Data initiative and CivicApps community effort.
Today at the CivicApps hacking event at the Open Source Bridge conference, I sat in on an effort to brainstorm what could be done with agendas. Some of the ideas include (some could be provided by the City, others by community members building apps based on open data):
- An RSS feed of agenda items
- Standing searches (like Google alerts) on keywords that would be accessible via RSS or e-mail
- Permalinks for agenda items and their related documents so bloggers can consistently link to them
- hashtags for agenda items so they can be referenced on Twitter and other social media tools
- A public comment thread for every agenda item
- The ability to navigate from an agenda item to its final resolution (including documents in the City's online archive) and to the video of the Council discussion of the item
For all of you activists out there who follow City Council issues, what would make the agendas more accessible to you? I'll pass your comments back to the Technology Services folks and the people working on CivicApps around the agenda data.