Friday, September 25, 2009

Is Congressional data defective by design?

I thought this item over at was interesting. The essence of the argument is this:

The current Congressional process for publishing data is, to borrow a phrase from the Free Software Foundation, Defective By Design. As we see in many proprietary, top-down systems affecting the public interest, it’s insistently closed-off. Congress’ processes for distributing legislative info is fundamentally broken — it could and should relatively easily be fixed, starting now. Whether or not you support the Baucus markup or the House version of the health care reform bill, we hope you agree that the public has a right to read this important iteration & political volley in the process.

In general, the contents of PDFs are not searchable by external search engines (like Google). Because the item in question isn't a Bill, it doesn't make its way into LC's Thomas (except as a PDF).

Is this a limit on accessibility? Is this consistent with goverment information policy?

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