The point of publishing bulk data is so it can be reused as widely as possible. This is particularly true for government data, which belongs to the public.
Government agencies can sometimes also be concerned with ensuring the authenticity of their legal information - especially when the data might be seen as an official source. It breaks down into two major concerns: integrity (ensuring the text is accurate), and origin (proving it's official). A lot of people are used to the "wax seal" model of authenticity - the experience of opening a PDF and seeing that the document is signed and official. This model quickly breaks down for distributing bulk data.
The goals of ease of reuse and authentication are frequently presented as being in tension, but that tension is just as frequently overstated. There are straightforward approaches to guaranteeing authenticity of bulk data that do not encumber reuse.Continue reading
Seventeen years after the creation of THOMAS, Congress today launched a sleeker, more intuitive and user-friendly legislative information website, beta.congress.gov.... View ArticleContinue reading
It’s been 225 years since the signing of the U.S. Constitution in September 1787, so the three years that have... View ArticleContinue reading
Data and Research Intern Alex Engler wrote this post. The regulatory process is a politically charged arena, where the perception of over-regulating, or not regulating enough, can become a political liability. Whether it’s Tom Donohue of the Chamber of Commerce warning of the oncoming “tsunami” of regulations from President Obama, or the National Resource Defense Council striking at the Bush administration for an “assault on our clean air protections,” there can be no doubt that the perceived level of regulation matters. However, one should look skeptically towards assertions about the degree of rulemaking, especially when those assertions include specific numbers. These claims are often based on research that can be structured so as to intentionally mislead. And beyond the political motivation in how one measures regulatory action, there are also many opportunities for genuine methodological error.Continue reading
578 days ago, Congress directed that the legal treatise Constitution Annotated be published online, but it’s still not available. The Constitution... View ArticleContinue reading
The media's magnifying glass is concentrating attention on actions by the House Appropriations Committee that could stall progress on the public's access to legislative information.Continue reading
Does information about legislation belong to Congress or to the American people? This basic question is at the heart of... View ArticleContinue reading
In the last 24 hours there have been three significant developments on providing the public with better access to legislative... View ArticleContinue reading
In the last 18 months, the House of Representatives has made significant strides towards greater openness and transparency in congressional... View ArticleContinue reading