Today the Government Publishing Office and Library of Congress completed a full revolution in public access to legislative information. Information about legislative actions in congress–the bills, summaries of the bills, and their status–is now available online, in bulk, in a structured data format. As I wrote in December, this has great significance:
- It marks the publication of essential legislative information in a format that supports unlimited public reuse, analysis, and republication. It is now possible to see much of a bill’s life cycle.
- It illustrates the positive relationship that has grown between Congress and the public on access to legislative information, where there is growing open dialog and conversation about how to best meet our collective needs.
- It is an example of how different components within the legislative branch are engaging with one another on a range of data-related issues, sometimes for the first time ever, under the aegis of the Bulk Data Task Force.
- It means the Library of Congress and GPO will no longer be tied to the antiquated THOMAS website and can focus on more rapid technological advancement. (At least for data from the 113th and 114th Congresses).
- It shows how a diverse community of outside organizations and interests came together and built a community to work with Congress for the common good.
Many more good things are on the horizon, and we have hopes for many more from Congress and civic coders, but for now, congratulations to our tireless friends in Congress and the legislative support offices and agencies that have labored to make this happen. Read their announcement here.