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Pop politicians onto your blog or site

Pop politicians onto your blog or site

Here's something I'd like to see added to every mention of a politician on a Web site: Sunlight Labs' PopUp Politicians links. Example: . Roll over the sun icon. All I had to do to add that to this post was insert a very simple hyperlink around the senator's name, plus a small snippet of code at the beginning of the blog entry (and if I put it the code in the site's header, I'd never have to do again). I didn't have to find a page about Senator Feinstein to create the link. I didn't even spell her name right. With the Sunlight Foundation's new AJAX utility, the useful little pop-up is created automatically.

High-end political blogs such as Wonkette and Spot-On might want to provide their own consistent hyperlinks to politicians (even though they don't), but for the rest of us, whenever we're writing about politics, this service provides good context by linking to useful sources that tell us about our elected representatives.

I'd like to see a little more info in the pop-ups, though. Browster, my favorite Firefox plug-in, pops up entire Web pages. That'd be overkill for this utility, but it does show how much context you can provide for Web users without diverting them from the page they are on or requiring them to click things. And for a really interesting look at a clickless Web site, see the experiment, DontClick.it.

On the other hand, clickless links can go too far. Vibrant Media's Intellitxt program automatically converts words to pop-up advertising links, which I find very distracting. Inside a story, links should remain under the control of the people who create and edit the content.