GPO to Make U.S. House of Representatives Rules and Manual Available in XML

The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) is working with the House of Representatives Committee on Rules, the House Parliamentarian, and the Clerk of the House to make Jefferson’s Manual and the Rules of the House of Representatives available in XML format using the United States Legislative Markup (USLM) schema. USLM is an XML information model designed to represent the legislation of United States Congress. These files have been released on GPO’s GitHub account for comment and will be released in the future on GPO’s new govinfo website.

Making Government information available in XML permits data to be reused and repurposed not only for print output but for conversion into eBooks, mobile web applications, and other forms of content delivery, including data mashups and other analytical tools by third party providers, which contributes to openness and transparency in Government. In addition to the files made available through the govinfo Bulk Data Repository, GPO ensures the authenticity of all information provided on govinfo by making available digitally signed copies in PDF format, which is the official, authentic version that matches the printed document. USLM is an XML information model designed to semantically and structurally describe legislative and legal documents in a machine-readable format. This is the first USLM document to be made available on GPO’s GitHub account and govinfo site.

“GPO once again is meeting the needs of Congress by providing Members and the public with Government information in useful digital formats,” said GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks. “GPO’s continuing adaptation to technology enables us to provide the tools necessary to provide congressional bills, summaries, status, and now the House Rules and Manual in XML.”

Jefferson’s Manual and the Rules of the House of Representatives is published by the House Parliamentarian and contains the source material for parliamentary procedure used in that Chamber. The document includes the Constitution of the United States, applicable provisions of Jefferson's Manual, the rules of the House, provisions of law and resolutions having the force of rules of the House, and pertinent decisions of the Speakers and other presiding officers of the House and Committee of the Whole interpreting the rules and other procedural authority used in the House of Representatives.

GPO joined GitHub in 2015 to provide documentation to the developer community about the process used to create metadata for the legislative, executive, and judicial content collections posted on govinfo. GPO’s GitHub account can also be used to find documentation about GPO’s sitemap implementation and supporting resources that are currently available on govinfo’s Bulk Data Repository. GPO’s presence on GitHub aligns with the agency’s increasing involvement in XML formats, including publication of House and Senate bills, bill summaries, and bill status information prepared by the Library of Congress’s Congressional Research Service, for XML bulk data download.

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