Public Comment “Toolkit” - great tool for analizing large data

3. May 2010 – 23:25 by Civil College


We always have the pleasure, to give news about great tools on the edge. One of them is released again, aiming reliable data analisys as an easy process.

Searh, classify, annotate, verify and report on text data. A great combination of social networking and social science.


Dr. Stuart W. Shulman is an Assistant ProfessorUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst and an associate director at the National Center for Digital Government and also the director of the  Qualitative Data Analysis Program at
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

He is behind the development of the PCAT system, which is  based upon Shulman’s award-winning Coding Analysis Toolkit (CAT), also developed by QDAP. CAT enables researchers to code, validate, and analyze large digital, text-based datasets. CAT is designed for use with any digitized text dataset, whereas PCAT is tailored to improve analysis in the rulemaking process. “PCAT is an example of successful technology transfer from an academic laboratory to the government sector. It speaks to the needs of federal officials who must be responsive to the increasing volume of public comments in the new digital landscape.”

Although the tool is free and web based, it assists agencies in searching, analyzing, and responding to citizen comments submitted to federal regulatory agencies through sites such as is a centralized federal portal that enables “citizens to search, view, and comment on regulations issued by the U.S. government.” PCAT is designed to work seamlessly with bulk downloads from It allows agency officials to review the hundreds, thousands, or at times hundreds of thousands of comments submitted to agencies in response to the several thousand federal rules proposed each year.

The previous functionalities are showing, that this software has been designed in the USA for federal usage-  but it does not restircts its functions to the USA. It can extract data from

  • Federal Docket Management System archives
  • IdeaScale archives
  • RSS Feeds, archived or live
  • Email, Blog, Wiki, and other Web 2.0 documents
  • CAT-style datasets
  • Plain text, HTML, or XML documents
  • Extracted Microsoft Word and Adobe PDF document

What can you do with it?

  • Search for key concepts & code raw text
  • Annotate coding with shared memos
  • Remove duplicates and cluster similar comments
  • Auto-highlight unique and offensive language
  • Form peer and project networks
  • Establish multi-level credentials and permissions
  • Assign multiple coders to specific tasks
  • Easily measure inter-coder reliability
  • Adjudicate valid & invalid decisions
  • Generate reports in RTF, CSV or XML format
  • Archive or share completed projects online

I am really wondering, when our old Europe will have something like a Federal Docket Management System ( It might boost up some participation, but we would need to solve the language issues still…

Tags: , ,

Post a Comment

The PEP-NET Blog uses the gravatar service to display your picture next to comments!