In this post Mr. Schuman decries the unexplained 14-month delay in making the current version of The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation (also known as The Constitution Annotated or CONAN) — Congress’s official treatise on U.S. constitutional law — publicly available on the Web, free of charge, in XML.
A PDF version of The Constitution Annotated is published on the U.S. Government Printing Office’s FDsys Website, but this version is disfavored because (a) the PDF format is unsuited to information reuse, and (b) the FDsys version is very difficult to process because it consists of a 2002 base volume plus four supplements, each of which must be consulted separately. By contrast, the “master version” of The Constitution Annotated is in XML format, and is said to be current and integrated in a single edition without supplements.
In his post Mr. Schuman offers numerous reasons — including reducing Congressional printing costs, increasing the public’s knowledge of U.S. constitutional law, and fostering innovation — for publishing The Constitution Annotated in XML on the free Web. Mr. Schuman refers to additional arguments expressed in a 2010 letter signed by more than 20 organizations advocating free Web access in XML to The Constitution Annotated.
For more information, please see the Sunlight Foundation’s earlier posts on this issue.
Tags: Bulk XML for legal information, CONAN, Constitution Annotated, Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation, Constitutional law treatises, Daniel Schuman, Free access to law, Legal information in bulk XML, Public access to legal information, Publishing legal information in XML, Sunlight Foundation, U.S. Constitution Annotated