U.S. House Launches Website, iPad App - InformationWeek
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U.S. House Launches Website, iPad App

House website provides machine-readable legislation, while iPad app gives users access to the full Congressional Record.

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More than eight months after proposing a new website that aimed to make House of Representatives legislation and documents more readily available, the House Administration Committee launched a new website and iPad app to help do just that.

The website, docs.house.gov, will provide legislative documents in the machine-readable XML format, while the new iPad app, The Congressional Record, will provide improved access to the official Congressional Record.

The moves come several months after House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Eric Cantor, R-Va., announced that the House Administration Committee would work toward a way to publicly release House legislative data in a machine-readable format.

[ The government is making lots of data available. Read Data Mine This: Government Challenges Scientists. ]

"The new House majority is dedicated to changing how our institution operates, with an emphasis on real transparency and greater accountability," the two said at the time. "Ultimately, legislative data is the property of the American public. It is our hope that these reforms will continue to rebuild the trust between Congress and the people we serve."

In separate statements about the website and iPad app, House Administration Committee Chairman Daniel Lungren, R-Calif., applauded the work as "vital to legislators doing their job and to the public holding them accountable" and as helping to "spur greater public participation and ultimately improve the legislative process."

The website, created by the Clerk of the House, includes a list of legislation under consideration, with links to PDF- and XML-formatted versions of the bills. The site also links to other online sources for legislation and Congressional activities.

The iPad app, developed with help from the Library of Congress and the Government Printing Office, includes a daily digest of all Congressional activity and sections on House and Senate activity, and allows users to browse issues of the Congressional Record back to Jan. 4, 1995. The app includes social features, the ability to save documents, and search capabilities.

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