XML is Swell


The White House announced on Monday that the Government Printing Office is making the Federal Register available in Extensible Markup Language (XML), a computer language that stresses simplicity, generality and usability over the Internet. The transition to XML presents new opportunities for creative interactions with the Federal Register by making public announcements easier to search, organize, and access.

For example, XML-based language is used for Really Simple Syndication (RSS). Thus, the Federal Register is now available through RSS, which allows individuals to receive real-time feeds of data. Likewise, creative XML-based applications can be seen at Fedthread.org, which allows users to annotate the Federal Register and comment in its margins, and GovPulse, which enables users to visualize the Federal Register by topic or location to see how particular government actions affect individual communities. As new applications emerge that utilize the XML version of the Federal Register, citizens, scholars, and organizations will find it easier to reorganize the Register’s contents in ways that are more meaningful, track issues that are likely to affect their community or profession, and engage in real-time public discussion about the Register’s contents with others.

Open government advocates, rejoice.

-brandonwaite

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