The Government Printing Office will publish bills from the U.S. House in machine readable XML format through its Federal Digital System bulk data repository beginning with the 113th Congress, which convened Jan. 3, the office said Thursday.
The printing office already publishes other federal products as XML bulk data including the Federal Register, the Code of Federal Regulations and other executive branch documents.
XML, or Extensible Markup Language, is an extremely simple Web document language that’s favored by information sharing and transparency advocates because it is especially responsive to search queries and easy for other computer programs to read and extract information from. Agencies prefer to publish official information in a more secure format than XML, such as a PDF, to ensure it’s not altered after publication.
“Making Government information available in XML permits data to be reused and repurposed not only for print output but for conversion into e-books, mobile web applications, and other forms of content delivery, including data mashups and other analytical tools by third party providers,” the office said.
GPO’s five-year plan is focused on making government content available in a variety of digital formats rather than simply as a print product. The office is the official printer for documents across the legislative and executive branches including U.S. passports.
GPO recently adopted a new system that will allow it to manage its entire workflow in XML format.