Comparison Political Websites

Current point of critique on the Dutch political parties CDA en PvdA is that they are too much alike. The voters complain that they don't know what they are voting for. Below we will have a look at the websites of PvdA and CDA, compared over time. Goal is to see if they are alike, and if they are becoming more alike over time.



Tool: Wayback Machine

For this research we will focus on important, mainly natively digital features of the two websites. Using the Wayback Machine, we determined when and in what way certain features first appeared on the different websites. Using this information we would like to create a timeline, which could form the basis of a movie in which the changes over time could be visualised.

Tool: Wayback Automatic Screenshot Visualizer Generator by Erik


Suggestion for improving the Screenshot Generator

In order to discover when a certain feature first appeared on a site, we had to manually search all the sites, clicking on the pages, trying to find out when it first appeared. It would be very useful and time-saving to have a tool that could search in the HTML of the different websites found in the Wayback Machine for the first time a certain feature was introduced. For example, the code of a forum or a blog could automatically be traced back to the first time it was used.

Tool spec

Site History builder

Screenshots taken from the Wayback Machine are placed in chronological order to create a movie of the site history. This tool can be used for historical research. The importance of the History Tracker is that it shows in a simple glance the development of websites over time. Different sites can be compared in one track/view/window.

Different options:

* History of a single site

The screenshots of a single site are taken from the Wayback Machine, and turned into a movie which shows the development of this specific site over time.



* Comparison of two sites

The screenshots of two sites, taken from the Wayback Machine, are displayed simultaneously. The developments of the two sites can be compared to each other, over time.

* Comparison of multiple sites

- It should be possible to select or deselect particular screenshots. Screenshots can be selected to create a movie focussing on a particular development.

- A timeline at the bottom of the screen is linked to the screenshots, to visualize the dates to which the screenshots belong. When there aren't any updates the website remains the same while the other might change.
  • A possible visualisation of our tool:

The data input should be:

Step 1

URL: Date:

www.cda.nl 23-11-97

www.pvda.nl 16-12-98

x …………

x …………

URL 40 …………

BUTTON to make the comparison

Step 2

Is the output: our History Tracker



What kind of research can be done with this tool?

When the development of a site can be visualised, it is possible to link it to more general changes in the (in this case) political environment.

For instance, changes in issues can be compared with certain events. Floodings in the Netherlands could be expected to lead to more attention to the environmental issues. An escaped TBS-er could lead to more attention to issues surrounding the penal system. Websites give parties the possibility to respond quickly to events. The question could be whether or not they do so? And if so, why or why not?

A comparison among different political parties could also generate interesting results. A sudden rise of the attention to a subject could be traced back to other political parties. Goal could be to either set themselve apart from the other parties, or to make sure they don't miss out on the general 'hot topic'. Trends could be detected. Is one party always first to pay attention to 'hot issues', are other parties following their lead or keeping to their own track?

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Topic revision: r13 - 31 Aug 2007, BramNijhof
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