I have been developing legalerts.us slowly over the last couple years and finding it helpful to myself and the few others that use it.
One recurring feature wish I have is for better search functionality via the OS API. I see from the GitHub issues that many of the things I wish for (bill id, case insensitivity, fuzzy, full text) are already represented on GH.
One of the things I have also been thinking about is some automatic meta-tagging of bill text, so that if (e.g.) a bill about gun control exists but does not use the phrase “gun control” (or even “gun”) in it that a search could find it.
I have a good deal of experience building search engines (I created dezi dot org and was a contributor to Apache Lucy and Swish-e amongst other things), and would love to contribute to OS in this way. My preference is to build search functionality outside the db though, using a tool built for search (Elasticsearch, Solr, Dezi, etc). This architecture has a few advantages (fast, feature-ful, scalable) but does add complexity to an overall system architecture, so I’m curious what y’all think about that and whether you are open to such a design. I wrote a bit about how I did this at 18F: https://18f.gsa.gov/2016/04/08/how-we-get-high-availability-with-elasticsearch-and-ruby-on-rails/
Happy to chat more about this, here or in real-time.