LocalView, a database of public meetings for the study of local politics and policy-making in the United State

Paper by Soubhik Barari and Tyler Simko: “Despite the fundamental importance of American local governments for service provision in areas like education and public health, local policy-making remains difficult and expensive to study at scale due to a lack of centralized data. This article introduces LocalView, the largest existing dataset of real-time local government public meetings–the central policy-making process in local government. In sum, the dataset currently covers 139,616 videos and their corresponding textual and audio transcripts of local government meetings publicly uploaded to YouTube–the world’s largest public video-sharing website– from 1,012 places and 2,861 distinct governments across the United States between 2006–2022. The data are processed, downloaded, cleaned, and publicly disseminated (at localview.net) for analysis across places and over time. We validate this dataset using a variety of methods and demonstrate how it can be used to map local governments’ attention to policy areas of interest. Finally, we discuss how LocalView may be used by journalists, academics, and other users for understanding how local communities deliberate crucial policy questions on topics including climate change, public health, and immigration…(More)”.