Midterm Assignment

Part One

You’re a congressional reporter looking at how partisanship, expressed through voting behavior in the House, is playing out in the 111th Congress. You have three tables to work with: members, votes and positions (each member’s actual vote). You’ll need to import them into a sqlite database and use SQL to answer a number of questions. Some of the questions will require joining two or more tables together. I will be emailing each of you your questions, and I’ll need you to send me both the sqlite file you create as well as the queries. You may zip up the database file or use a utility like YouSendIt.com to email it to me, or bring the file to class on a portable drive.

Part Two

A few weeks ago, we looked at Facebook’s FQL – the way that Facebook grabs information about its users and groups from its database. What I’d like you to do is to draw up – either on paper or using Excel – database tables representing information you’d be likely to find on Facebook. Think of this as a bit of reverse engineering. Your tables should relate to each other through _id fields, and while I don’t expect you to be able to perfectly document all of Facebook’s data, I’d like for you to think about what you see on Facebook *as* data. Then tell me whether you think Facebook could be storing some kinds of information differently, and why. For example, how should Facebook deal with people who attended more than one high school? Be creative about this assignment: imagine that you’ve been given the chance to re-organize what you see on Facebook. Are there any new features you’d add or questions you’d like to answer?


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