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Library of Congress Announces First Legislative Data Challenge

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Legislative Data Challenge: Markup of US Legislation in Akoma Ntoso
Legislative Data Challenge: Markup of US Legislation in Akoma Ntoso

Andrew and I have both mentioned the Akoma Ntoso schema for representing law and legislation in XML and enabling easier exchange of this information on In Custodia Legis in the past. Today we have more exciting news for you. To help advance the development of international exchange standards for legislative data, the Library of Congress is sponsoring data challenges incorporating Akoma Ntoso. The first challenge, Markup of US Legislation in Akoma Ntoso, opened today and invites competitors to create representations of four specific US bills using the most recent Akoma Ntoso schema.

Rather than trying to convert existing US bill XML to the proposed Akoma Ntoso standard, this challenge asks competitors to markup the raw text versions of US bills using the structure, elements, and attributes of the Akoma Ntoso schema and produce an entirely new XML version of the bill.

We hope the results of this challenge will help identify gaps in the Akoma Ntoso schema and examples of US bill text data that cannot be incorporated properly into the framework. We are also looking for suggestions of how to solve these kinds of issues, and we would like to gather more information about tools the community can use for this kind of markup.

Three experts have agreed to act as judges for this challenge. Kirsten Gullickson is a Senior Systems Analyst with the Office of the Clerk, United States House of Representatives and co-chair of the Legislative Branch XML Working Group.

Monica Palmirani is an Associate Professor of  Computer Science and Law at the School of Law, University of Bologna in Italy.  Fabio Vitali is an Associate Professor in Computer Science at the University of Bologna in Italy. Ms. Palmirani and Mr. Vitali are chairs of the OASIS LegalDocumentML Technical Committee, which is moving forward specifications for a common legal document standard for parliamentary, legislative and judicial documents based upon Akoma Ntoso.

The challenge is open to participants 18 years of age or older until October 31, 2013. For the official rules and more detailed information about the challenge or to enter a submission, please visit The winner of the $5,000 prize will be announced on December 19, 2013.


  1. This is a good system. We tried it here at parliament of Uganda, but the management seem not to understand it.

    They have kept postponing its implementation citing a need for sensitization and training

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