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On the Records: A Data Manifesto

We've created "On the Records" to help you explore these databases and records — and the visualizations, mashups and stories that use them.

The Texas Tribune today launches several database applications designed to give readers more information about their government and elected officials -- and all in one place.

Among the first offerings is the Directory, a database with the biographies, photos and other details about the 242 statewide elected officials and members of the Texas Legislature and U.S. Congress. Each Directory page has an official's biography, photograph, elections history and contact information. Readers can read each official's personal financial filings and, soon, see details about committees, campaign finance history, lobbyist contacts and staff. The Directory also has records about the state's legislative and congressional districts — pages that feature an interactive boundary map, links to demographic data and elections results dating back to 1992.

The site also has the Library, a navigation bar with links to other data applications related to politics and government. Readers can search and download state and federal campaign finance transactions for currently elected officials, for example, or browse more than 230,000 government salaries. The Library also has state lobbying records, information about the 5,300 appointments made by Gov. Rick Perry since 2001 and records about state lawmakers' travel spending during the last fiscal year.

In the coming weeks and months, the plan is to add more data for readers to search and download. Those records will be linked to news, topics and elected officials. It will also be available in interactive charts and maps — and eventually embeddable in readers' blogs and Web sites.

We've created On the Records to help you explore these databases and records — and the visualizations, mashups and stories that use them. The goal also is to highlight the fine work produced by other Texas reporters and bloggers using data.

Readers can make suggestions, complain, offer tips or tout their own work by sending e-mail, leaving comments here or using our data feedback form. We hope to hear from you.

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