Promote collaboration and the open exchange of information with standards-ready legislative and regulatory drafting tools
All of our LegisPro legislative drafting and amending tools have been built to support Akoma Ntoso, the XML standardized data model for the world’s parliamentary, legislative and judiciary documents. Our commitment to this international standard, as well as to the related U.S. of this standard, USLM (United States Legislative Markup), runs very deep. In fact, the Xcential team, led by Co-Founder and CEO Grant Vergottini, has played an instrumental role in promoting the use of both the worldwide and U.S. standards. (A link to Vergottini’s guide to using Akoma Ntoso is here.)
But why is standards-ready software so important?
The need for a standard schema for legislative and regulatory documents began to take shape in the early 2000s when governments all over the globe began introducing information and communications technologies (ICT) into their organizations. As drafters, IT professionals, and citizens all know, these institutions produce massive amounts of data and information. While governments were utilizing ICT to electronically disseminate these documents, laws and judgments online, there was no effort to identify a standardized way to classify, structure, publish or make reference to these documents, information resources and business processes.
This lack of standardization has had repercussions for not just the legislative bodies, themselves, but also for citizens, who should be able to easily access and understand the legislation of their jurisdictions. The impact of non-standardization includes:
Unnecessary, and significant, local investment in ICT tools and systems
Lack of cooperation and information integration between governmental bodies within individual countries and between them
Inability for readers to use modern technology to access, navigate between, and reference documents across types, languages, and governmental bodies.
No opportunity to create data repositories, deep search engines, comparison tools and more to help governments and citizens access and analyze legislative and regulatory documents
Right now, with today’s sophisticated, internet-based systems and services, there is significant potential and opportunity for government organizations to share documents, increase public access to information, and free up drafters and IT teams from proprietary vendor products. But, this can only be achieved if common standards are widely accepted and used to produce, classify and share parliamentary, legislative and judiciary electronic documents.
At Xcential, we are extremely proud to have been part of the development of the Akoma Ntoso (LegalDocML) and USLM standards and we have always been strong supporters of the movement to bring about ever-greater data transparency and to dramatically increase the efficiency and accuracy of the drafting process.
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