Contest Aims to Make Proposed U.S. Laws Machine Readable Worldwide

The challenge is to align federal legislation with emerging international standards.

The Library of Congress is crowdsourcing an initiative to make it easier for software programs around the world to read, understand and categorize federal legislation.

The library is offering a $5,000 prize to the contestant whose entry best fits U.S. legislation into Akoma Ntoso, an internationally-developed framework that aims to be the standard for presenting legislative data in machine-readable formats.

“Akoma Ntoso” means “linked hearts” in the Akan language of West Africa. If enough legislation from different nations is translated into the format, it will be easier for researchers and others to automatically compare legislation from one region to another based on topics, keywords and other factors.

The Library of Congress contest is aimed at spotting flaws in the Akoma Ntoso format as well as spotting flaws in the way Congress makes its legislation machine readable.

The contest closes Oct. 31. The library will announce the winner Dec. 19.