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France Fillon III cabinet added

We have also added the recently formed French cabinet that had previously resigned. The cabinet stepped down to allow President Sarkozy to appoint a new reshuffled cabinet.

Adding this cabinet was a little delayed by the recent stable release. Most of the new observations are added within a week after an event took place or the official information (election statistics) are available.

Sat 18 December 2010 — recent event · France
Mannheim presentation

Another Tuesday presentation: Yesterday, we gave a presentation about ParlGov and our ideas on the future of collaborative data collection at the conference "Quantifying Europe" in Mannheim (Collaborative Research Center SFB 884 'Political Economy of Reforms' and Mannheim Center for European Social Research [MZES]). It was the first talk that focussed almost exclusively on ParlGov and we discussed potential applications of ParlGov to map political actors in the European Union. We have to thank the organisers and conference participants for very insightful discussions.

Wed 15 December 2010 — presentation
IHS Vienna talk

On Tuesday, we gave a public lecture about ParlGov and one of the projects that it originated from at the Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) in Vienna. In the discussion following the presentation, we have received many valuable comments, feedback and encouragement. Many thanks to Johannes Pollak and Guido Tiemann for inviting and welcoming us at the IHS.

Thu 9 December 2010 — presentation
EUDO conference

We are cooperating with the European Union Democracy Observatory (EUDO). One of the core projects of EUDO is setting up the EUDO Data Centre which will also host the ParlGov data. There are many advantages of making use of the Dataverse software to distribute data sets.

Over the past months, we have supported the EUDO Data Centre team and last week's EUDO Dissemination Conference in Brussels was the place to present the current state of the data centre. Lorenzo de Sio (EUI) gave a longer presentation about the EUDO Data Centre and we summarized our experience from working with the EUDO team.

We will post a separate news entry about the promises of distributing ParlGov data through the EUDO Data Centre later on.

Wed 24 November 2010 — presentation
ParlGov 10/11 online -- second stable release

Today, we have put online the second stable release of our project, ParlGov 10/11. There is an earlier news entry that gives a summary of the changes that come with this new version and the changelog provides a very detailed list of all changes. Most significant for users of previous versions is the change of all id variables as well as most table and variable names. Again, these changes turn ParlGov into a significantly cleaner data structure.

More information about the plans and schedule for the next version will follow in a separate news post.

Tue 16 November 2010 — stable release
Latvian election and cabinet added

Results of the recent election in Latvia and the new Dombrovskis cabinet have been added.

Mon 15 November 2010 — recent event · Latvia
EES party ids added

We have added the party codes of the European Parliament Election Study 2009, Voter Study, Advance Release, 30/06/2010. to our main party table. Here is an example of the Swedish parties. The original data set is available at the website of the PIREDEU project.

Integrating EES party ids allows us to combine this information with all other data sets that are linked through our party table. One of the goals was it to establish an interface between EES and EUProfiler party ids.

This information will also be part of the next stable release.

Sun 14 November 2010 — new data
Beta version ParlGov 10/11 online

A beta version of the next stable relase, ParlGov 10/11 – Autumn 2010, is now available online. We will test and may update it over the next days and plan to relase the next stable version at the beginning of next week.

Wed 10 November 2010 — stable release
New web design and refactored database launched

We have just put online the implementation of our new web design and the refactored database schema.

Implementing the new design, developed by Jens Hoffmeister from underline webdesign, has kept us busy for the last three months. In addition to applying the new layout, we have used the opportunity to significantly clean up the structure of our html templates. The web design has already been very well received by some of our colleagues who gave their views on the new layout. The structure of the page remains more or less the same. However most links have changed and we are making now use of more explicit naming conventions to define our URLs.

Converting the old database structure into the new schema has been an even bigger challenge. While working with the first release, we realised that many of the table and variable names were not explicit enough. In addition, we had planned to redesign some of the table structures and revise table and variable names. There is an earlier news entry that gives the bigger perspective on the changes to the database. Please remember, most IDs, table names and variable names have changed in the new version.

The next release, ParlGov 10/11, will follow shortly. The plan is to have a beta version out tomorrow or the day after. We will test the beta version and the new development version for some days and plan to have a release of the new version at the beginning of next week.

Mon 8 November 2010 — announcement
ZeS is ParlGov's new home institution

We have moved to another university and are now based at the Centre for Social Policy Research (ZeS), University of Bremen.

For ParlGov, our time at the European University Institute (EUI) and the University of Heidelberg has been very productive. It was the academic year when we released the first public version of the projects and both institutions have provided significant support in finding out how ParlGov is received.

We keep a connection to the EUI through our cooperation with the EUDO Data Centre project.

Wed 3 November 2010 — announcement
Dutch government added

The new Dutch minority cabinet was appointed today and we have added it to ParlGov.

Thu 14 October 2010 — recent event · Netherlands
Belgium with votes level data

Today (12 October), we finished adding all votes level data for Belgium. For the country, there is a good official source with the results of all national and European Parliament elections and most of our updated information is from this source. Nevertheless, coding the Belgium parties is always a challenge especially for the 1970s. We did our best to link all existing parties. Nevertheless some enhancements may be suggested by country experts later on.

With "votes level data" we cover all parties that gained more than 0.5 percentage of the votes in post-war national and EP elections. It is our long term goal to move from "seats level data" to "votes level data" for all OECD/EU countries in the post-war period. Only the latter level allows to use ParlGov as a device for research and teaching about electoral systems.

Tue 12 October 2010 — votes level · Belgium
Australian election results and new government

It takes some time until the final result of an election is determined in Australia, due to the complexity of the electoral system. The election took place in August and a dramatic process of government formation followed. Nevertheless, the official election results have only been presented recently.

We have added the Australian election and the new minority cabinet to ParlGov.

Fri 8 October 2010 — recent event · Australia
Sweden election results and government added

Yesterday (5 October) was an interesting day for students of cabinet formation. The Swedish prime minister presented his new minority cabinet after failing to enlarge his coalition. In the Netherlands, the Christian Democrats party group approved the formation of a new and highly controversial minority government supported by Geert Wilders Freedom Party. In Belgium, coalition talks on government formation have collapsed on the same day.

We have included the results of the recent elections in Sweden and the new cabinet. We will add the new Dutch government as soon as it is appointed.

Wed 6 October 2010 — recent event · Sweden
ParlGov II -- database refactoring

The second major change for the next ParlGov version will be a major refactoring of our database design. The causes for the need to refactor the structure of our database are similar to the previously described plans to relaunch the web design. Some of the fundamental design decisions were made at the early stages of the project and limit its growth now. Over time, our experience and technical expertise has grown and we are convinced that the benefits of a redesign outweigh the (transformation) costs.

Most fundamental will be the overhaul of all IDs. In the next version or ParlGov, there will be newly defined identifiers for all observations, most importantly for countries, parties, elections and cabinets. Previously, we had unique identifiers per country only and some of the ID variables were based on other observations and contained meaningful information. We will change that to a system of IDs were all identifiers are unique for every variable and are just numerical identifiers without containing other information. In database terminology, we are moving from a system of composite (natural) primary keys to (surrogate) primary keys.

There will also be a clean-up for some table and variable names and the new names are often more explicit than the previously used shortened versions. In addition, we are changing from camel case VariableNames to underscore variable_names. Finally, there are some updates on the table structure.

These modifications require users of ParlGov to update the scripts they have written to work with ParlGov data. We are convinced that it will be for the better. The new database design is easier to understand and allows us to integrate innovative aspects into future versions more easily.

Tue 28 September 2010 — change data
Latvia with votes level data

We have updated, revised and extended all election results for Latvia and code now all parties with more than 0.5% of the national vote share. Previously, we found some mistakes in the Latvian election results and decided to add all official results.

Sun 19 September 2010 — votes level · Latvia
ParlGov II -- new web design

The next version of ParlGov will include a new web design and we have worked with Jens Hoffmeister from underline webdesign over the last months to give our website a fresh look. Here is an example of the new design.

The old design with the current layout, logo and colors has not changed over the last five years and there were only some improvements to the navigation. Honestly, it was in strong need of a fresh look. Jens has created the new design by defining a modern layout, color scheme and logo based on the existing pages. The structure of the pages will remain but some of the underlying html and css code has been significantly cleaned up.

Ones we have put up online a first beta version of the next release you will see how fresh and modern the new design is.

Thu 9 September 2010 — announcement
Swiss cabinets added

We have added all Swiss cabinets into ParlGov. Determining a cabinet for Switzerland according to the four criteria defining a cabinet was a little difficult. We decided not to code a prime minister in the case of Switzerland so that we have one cabinet for every legislative term that ends with an election.

Tue 31 August 2010 — recent event · Switzerland
Resarch paper published

During his year as a Max Weber Fellow, Holger has written a paper about the more general idea behind ParlGov, shortcomings of contemporary data sets and the future of collaborative data collection in political science. The paper was recently published as EUI Working Paper MWP 2010/21.

Wed 11 August 2010 — publication
ParlGov II -- release plan

We have started to push our work on the next stable version of ParlGov and aim to have a beta version by the end of the month. This new version includes two major changes: a new webdesign and a database refactoring. In addition, it includes recent political events and some data revisions. The changelog in the ParlGov Development wiki lists all data updates. We also aim at fixing all tickets that are assigned to 'milestone 1.1' and have priority 'high'.

The final release of the second stable version of ParlGov is scheduled for the end of September. We will post a second news entry to describe the new webdesign and the causes for the database refactoring.

Mon 2 August 2010 — stable release
ParlGov and EUDO cooperation

Recently, we have started a cooperation with the EUI based European Union Democracy Observatory (EUDO) and we will distribute the most recent stable version of ParlGov in the new EUDO Data Centre.

Fri 23 July 2010 — announcement
Czech cabinet appointed

The new Czech cabinet was appointed today.

Tue 13 July 2010 — recent event · Czech Republic
Slovak cabinet appointed

A new Slovak cabinet took office last week.

Mon 12 July 2010 — recent event · Slovakia
Dutch election added

On June 9 2010 an election took place in the Netherlands. We have now added the official results of this elections into ParlGov. The new cabinet has yet to be formed or needs to pass an investiture vote. Once the cabinet has been appointed, we add it as well and leave a short note in this news section.

Sun 4 July 2010 — recent event · Netherlands
Slovakian elections added

On June 12 2010 an election took place in Slovakia. We have now added the official results of this election into ParlGov. The new cabinet has yet to be formed or needs to pass an investiture vote. Once the cabinet has been appointed, we add it as well and leave a short note in this news section.

Sun 4 July 2010 — recent event · Slovakia
Belgian election added

On June 13 2010 elections took place in Belgium. We have now added the official results of these elections into ParlGov. The new cabinet has yet to be formed or needs to pass an investiture vote. Once the cabinet has been appointed, we add it as well and leave a short note in this news section.

Sun 4 July 2010 — recent event · Belgium
Australia with a new prime minister

Kevin Rudd was replaced by Julia Gillard today in a surprise move by the Labor party and a new cabinet formed.

Thu 24 June 2010 — recent event · Australia
new Finnish prime minister

Today, Mari Kiviniemi was elected in parliament as prime minister of Finland. The new cabinet includes the same coalition partners as the previous cabinet. The former PM Matti Vanhanen announced his resignation last Friday.

Tue 22 June 2010 — recent event · Finland
Czech Republic election results

We have added the results of the recent election to the Chamber of Deputies in the Czech Republic. The new centre-right coalition is expected to take office at the beginning of July.

Mon 21 June 2010 — recent event · Czech Republic
Japan with new government

The new Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan was elected in both chambers of the parliament last Friday and ministers of the Kan government were appointed on Tuesday. The new cabinet is now included into ParlGov.

Thu 10 June 2010 — recent event · Japan
RSS news feed and Django upgrade

The ParlGov website is programmed in Django and we have upgraded to the latest version of the framework. With this upgrade, an RSS feed for the news entries is now available.

Sun 6 June 2010 — announcement
UK election results and Cameron coalition

The final results of the recent UK election became only available when the results of the delayed election in the district of Thirsk and Malton were announced. We have added the election results and the new Cameron cabinet into ParlGov.

Fri 4 June 2010 — recent event · United Kingdom
Hungarian election results and Orban cabinet

We have added the results of the Hungarian parliamentary election that took place in April and the new Orban II government that took office last week.

Thu 3 June 2010 — recent event · Hungary
Portugal with votes level data

We have finished updating the Portugal data in ParlGov and coded all parties with more than 0.5% vote share and their official election results for national and EP elections.

Sun 23 May 2010 — votes level · Portugal
EP turnout data completed

We completed the coding of turnout data for all elections to the European Parliament. In ParlGov, some countries are coded at the vote level others at the seat level only. For the former, we have recorded the official election results for all parties with more than 0.5% of the vote share and turnout data is included in the coding of these countries. For seat level data, we collect only the number of seats and the percentage of votes but plan to add vote level data at some later stage. The wiki page on country coding gives information about the level of coding. Nevertheless, we have now included information on turnout for all EP elections.

Sat 22 May 2010 — update
Finnish cabinets revision

We coded the list of Finnish cabinets according to the official website following our coding scheme. We keep a more fine grained list of changes in the wiki.

Tue 30 March 2010 — update · Finland
Dutch caretaker government and defector parties added

We coded the fall of the Balkenende IV goverment and the succeeding demissionary cabinet due to the change in party composition. In addition, we also went through all previous Dutch cabinets, added links to their Wikipedia entries and coded defector parties.

Sun 14 March 2010 — recent event · Netherlands
UK with votes level data

We have coded the United Kingdom election results for all parties with more than 0.5% of the vote now and included the number of votes for these parties. These updates were included in the ParlGov 10/02 release already. Nevertheless, we have now also put up a wiki page with open questions and comments about our codings.

Fri 12 March 2010 — votes level · United Kingdom
ParlGov 10/02 — Quo vadis?

Just some notes about the status and quality of data in the ParlGov 10/02 release. We have been working with the data in ParlGov for many years. First, this was only an internal project. Over the last year, we have made significant efforts to clean up our data and to document tables, variables and data sources in order to provide a first version about our vision of the future of data collection in political science. This is what ParlGov 10/02 is about: a first version of a long term project and commitment on our side. We have a long list of future enhancement. However, from now onwards, we document all our changes and make sure that you can track the evolution of the project. At this point, most changes are a result of feedback we receive.

Fri 26 February 2010 — announcement
ParlGov 10/02 online

We put up a first stable release of ParlGov today – www.parlgov.org. Many thanks for more beta comments from Potsdam and Florence. More information to follow.

Thu 25 February 2010 — stable release
beta-3 uploaded

This is the last version uploaded for testing purposes. We fixed some issues with broken links and fine tuned the navigation. There should be no changes to the final version. We will keep this version for a couple of days to test if everything is working properly.

Thu 18 February 2010 — stable release
beta-2 released

This is the second of three beta releases. We have received some valuable comments on the first beta version from colleagues in Cologne, Florence, Heidelberg, Konstanz and Vienna.

Mon 8 February 2010 — stable release
beta-1 released

This is the first release used for internal testing. Beta 2 will be released within a week from now.

Mon 1 February 2010 — stable release
release schedule

A first release of ParlGov was scheduled for January. Let us specify how we proceed with the release. Tomorrow, we will provide a first beta version at www.parlgov.org and will ask for some feedback. To this version, we also have to add some very minor corrections. A week later, we will introduce a second version for testing purposes, including recommendations and fixed open issues. The first official version of our data project will be ParlGov 10/02 (February 2010) and we release it in the third week of February.

Sun 31 January 2010 — stable release
New Belgian cabinet added

The recent formation of the Leterme II cabinet in Belgium has been added to ParlGov. Together with the recently added Boc II cabinet in Romania this should complete all political data in ParlGov until the end of 2009.

Wed 13 January 2010 — recent event · Belgium
New Romanian Cabinet added

The recent formation of the Boc II cabinet in Romania has been added to ParlGov. Together with the recently added Leterme II cabinet in Belgium this should complete all political data in ParlGov until the end of 2009.

Wed 13 January 2010 — recent event · Romania
ParlGov in Siena

Today, Holger gave a presentation at the Jean Blondel Tuesday Seminar of the Political Science department from the University of Siena. In the presentation he discussed recent innovations in gathering political science data and presented the ParlGov project. Thanks to Nicolò Conti and Luca Verzichelli for the invitation and the warm welcome in Siena.

Tue 12 January 2010 — presentation