We decided to do this project after Tim OReilly's post asking for version control on Change.gov. We know and understand the tremendous amount and work and pressure the Transition Team is under. So we decided rather than try and get something like this done internally in such a short time frame (January 20 2009) we would just help them out by doing it ourselves and illustrating a point.
Ourselves being one valiant programmer, Brian Gannon, some assistance from Artur Bergman at wikia.com and me - rallying the troops as it were. A super big thank you to Jimmy Wales for letting us do this on wikia.com!
I am super excited about it because I think it will illustrate the do-ability of the Transparent Federal Budget project. The backbone of this project is what I was calling the "abstract database." Waaay too techie of a term I know. What it really is are 3 little things.
What is significant about permalinks - is that anyone can use them anywhere to refer to something specific. It allows people to talk about things on their blogs and such. For example, if I want to talk about a specific topic in the 6,000 page federal budget and have everyone know specifically what line item I am talking about. I can! And with an RSS feed of changes, I can know when it is changed and update my blog.
Bloggers - this is your call to arms. Use this tool to document your discussions! Show them how useful permalinks are and how they disambiguate a discussion. Talk about how knowing when change happens allows you to keep up!