Summary Documents and the Secrets they Hold -- Part 1

Apr 13, 2021 -

Projects: 130-years-Swiss-Parliament

One of our main data sources for our Project 130 Years of Swiss Parliament (click here for the project overview) are so-called summary of proceedings documents. The Amtliches Bulltin publishes summary documents (dt. Übersicht der Verhandlungen or summary of proceedings) for each parliamentary session. These documents contain a list of proposed bills by the members of parliament along with additional information (date of submission, bill text, committee assignments, co-sponsorship, and dates of important decisions).

One of the main tasks of our project is extracting all relevant information in these summary documents and structuring them in a relational database.

The following entities are extracted for each bill listed in the summary documents:

  • bill number, identifier
  • bill title
  • date of submission
  • bill text
  • committee assignments (for NR and SR)

The following entities are recorded in the summary documents, but are not (yet) extracted:

  • dates of important decisions (no need yet)
  • whether or not the bill is recorded in the AB (no need yet)

The following page extract highlights (red) how a certain bill is generally represented in the summary documents. The text boxes in blue show the different entities that can be separated and extracted.

Summary document 110000511, page 9

For certain interventions (Motion, Postulat, Interpellation, Anfragen, etc), members of parliament can sign onto bills, i.e., co-sponsor bills. These Mitunterzeichner are recorded in the summary documents:

Summary document 110000507, page 15

Over the years, the layout of the summary document changed slightly. However, the information recorded has remained relatively stable:

Summary document 110001683, page 21