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Last modified: July 05, 2002
United States Congress: XML for Legislative Documents

[August 13, 2001] A public announcement was made on August 10, 2001 for a new web site of the United States Congress 'XML.HOUSE.GOV' supporting XML and Legislative Documents. The public web site provides a number of XML DTDs for bills, resolutions, house membership, etc. The document type definitions (DTDs) presented on this site were developed at the U.S. House of Representatives by employees of the Federal Government. The purpose of the new web site is "to provide information related to the ongoing work of the U.S. House of Representatives in relation to the Extensible Markup Language (XML). Under the direction of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and the House Committee on Administration, the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House have worked together with the Library of Congress and the US Government Printing Office to create Document Type Definition files (DTDs) for use in the creation of legislative documents using XML. The DTDs may be redistributed and/or modified freely provided that any derivative works bear some notice that they are derived from it, and any modified versions bear some notice that they have been modified. As this is an ongoing project, it is important to note that the DTDs presented on the web site have not been finalized, and may change over time; any documents or programs created with these DTDs should be treated as beta material and not used in a production capacity. A date has not been set for producing legislative material with XML."

Resolution: The top level 'resolution' element "contains all the text and markup for an entire resolution. This element encompasses the resolution's pre-form (metadata used by the Legislative Counsel during the drafting stage), the form (metadata which is the information about the resolution such as the congress and session), and the resolution-body (the actual words that comprise the content of the resolutions). Resolutions include simple, joint, and concurrent types."

Bill: The top level 'bill' element "contains all the text and markup for an entire bill or Act. This element encompasses the bill's pre-form (metadata used by the Legislative Counsel during the drafting stage), the form (metadata which is the information about the Bill such as the official title), and the legis-body (the actual words that comprise the content of the bill)."



  • [July 05, 2002] "House Makes Resolutions in XML." By Susan M. Menke. In Government Computer News (July 02, 2002). "The House of Representatives is pioneering its shift to Extensible Markup Language with simple resolutions, which started in January. 'Our goal is to begin production of some introduced bills using XML by January 2003,' said Joe Carmel, chief of legislative computer systems. Testing is now under way on XML output of new bills, he said. The House last year completed more than 100 document type definitions (DTDs) for its entire output of bills, resolutions, correspondence and other production elements... Current House output is searchable only by bill numbers or keywords, but in XML it would be searchable by titles, names, tables, subheadings and other components... A sample of the XML coding for a House bill appears at It shows how each line, name and term has an identifying tag, created by exporting the document from a word processor such as Microsoft Word or Corel WordPerfect into a special XML template. The tags automatically control typography and create entries for tables of contents and indexes. They can serve for paper or electronic publication. The House DTDs, which the Government Printing Office helped design, are in the public domain..."

  • "House Builds an XML Foundation." By Susan M. Menke. In Government Computer News Volume 20, Number 25 (August 27, 2001). "The House of Representatives has drafted 110 Extensible Markup Language document type definitions for its legislative activities. The public-domain DTDs cover categories ranging from bills and resolutions to deletions and anomalous document structures. No date has been set, however, for starting to format the congressional materials in XML, which would ease searching and reusing the volumes of legislative output. Current searches at are limited to bill numbers and keywords. The DTDs define the elements and relationships of what a legislative body produces, as distinct from, say, DTDs that already exist for the automotive, banking and other industries..."

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