What we do
Parlameter is a web application that automates parliamentary data collection, processing and visualisation (computer-generated infographics). It structures data in information cards about MPs and parliamentary groups. It helps political journalists and researchers to more efficiently analyze and present information on MPs’ activities in the parliament to the public. It provides analysis of voting (e.g. similarity of voting records) and does natural language processing to automate analyses of MPs’ speeches (content analysis as well as basic statistics about speaking habits).
The information cards (visualisations) are automatically generated based on parliamentary data. They can be easily embedded into web articles and are readily exportable for print media, so journalists can use them without relying on their understaffed development and design departments. The platform also features a powerful search engine that is able to search through large datasets of speech transcripts and voting records based on specific criteria (author, time range, political body …). This way, researchers and journalists are able to quickly get an overview of how certain topics are discussed through time and get a feel of the kind of rhetoric MPs or their parties engage in.
Our social impact
In any representative democracy, monitoring the representatives is one of the most important tasks of the civil society. The first obstacle is data availability, and the second the costs (in time, money, and human resources) associated with data-journalism. Political news departments are often heavily underfunded, and consequently understaffed, and lack the necessary tools to efficiently sift through data on a daily basis.
There is a lack of data-based political journalism and low public interest for parliamentary work due to bad parliamentary data presentation. While the parliament provides information about its work online, data is not open and ready for consumption. The higher quality data one can access, the easier it is to read and analyse it. Parlameter provides already gathered, organized, analyzed and visualized data, which enables users, both members of civil society and journalists, to easily access information about parliamentary work. The technology for information card embeds was designed in cooperation with journalists and news houses in Slovenia to make the platform serve as a stepping stone in standardising journalistic data-driven embeds. This is how Parlameter impacts the wider journalism field beyond its niche positioning as a tool for political reporters.
Parlameter is also a part of a broader open data struggle. There is a lot of supposedly public information, which is not accessible to the public. Parlameter helps to generate media and political pressure on decision-makers for more available data and more transparency.