RIT Information Technology Honors Thesis

I won an undergraduate research grant to work to build a prototype of a web platform in Ruby on Rails that would enable users to add personal annotations to government documents and share them with other users. I continued work on the prototype and wrote up the documentation in Spring 2006 for my honors thesis.




This undergraduate Honors capstone project involves the creation of the novel web application called .GOVernator. The purpose of this social software tool is to allow users to “markup” government documents, like the Bill of Rights, with XML tags using an interface that does require in-depth knowledge of XML. The application is programmed using the Ruby on Rails framework with JavaScript and its implementation in Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX), XHTML, CSS, XML, and XSLT. The resulting program is prototype for allowing users to create an account via registration, navigate their own home page allowing them to select government documents to markup (a.k.a scrutinize), and then use a browser-based interface for adding XML tags to government documents—storing tag names to a database for later analysis. All program functionality, except for the critical markup functionality, is in place. Help documents are also still needed to guide the user through interaction with the application’s interface. The future of the project is further development (programming) of the .GOVernator web application, a case study involving 10-30 users, and a proposal to the Lab for Social Computing as an adopted project for school year following this publication of this paper.