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The Library of Congress > Digital Preservation > News Archive > Minn. Project Partners Meeting

January 12, 2009 -- Partners in the Model Technological and Social Architecture for the Preservation of State Government Digital Information project met in December in St. Paul, Minn. to get updates on the latest project work, and to plan activities for the next phase of the project.

The project is part of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program’s Preserving State Government Information initiative, which is focused on capturing, preserving, and providing access to a rich variety of state and local government digital information.

The project is lead by the Minnesota Historical Society, and is focused on preserving and making available state legislative information. The overall goal of the project is to create a framework that will be flexible enough for other states to use as a template to create their own methods of capturing and preserving legislative records. The meeting was the first opportunity to bring all the participating partners together to discuss early results.

Bob Horton, the Minnesota State Archivist and the principal investigator of the project, opened the meeting with a summary of the results from the first round of site visits conducted throughout 2008 with the state partners, who include California, Illinois, Kansas, Tennessee and Vermont.

These visits laid the groundwork for the multistate collaborative efforts, and helped the project identify the main points of interest for each state. Common goals include concerns about the authenticity and accessibility of records, preservation, and digitization.

The next step of the project is to translate these common goals into a system to capture and preserve legislative data. This next phase involves using an XML wrapper schema and a core set of metadata elements to tag legislative data. Project participants acknowledged that creating a standardized XML schema for bill drafting systems is problematic in that a "one-size" solution would have difficulty finding a foothold in the diversity of state legislative information systems.

Instead, the project’s approach has been to work on the development of an XML wrapper for legislative information exchange, which would contain a standard set of metadata elements as well as the legislative data in its original formats.

These efforts have been accelerated by the project’s engagement with partners in the Minnesota state legislature and the private sector who are dealing with similar issues. This was exemplified by the presentations from Tim Orr from the Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes and Daniel Dodge from Thomson Reuters. Both discussed the XML Wrapper Schema for legislative records, with Orr providing the background on the development and Dodge discussing the technical details.

The final portion of the meeting was spent discussing the project’s work plan for 2009. The project plans to engage with each state to undertake a gap analysis to see how the draft wrapper schema integrates with each state’s particular situation.

The unique individual state legislative environments will provide opportunities to test the wrapper with other data types and to learn more about open government systems and methods of sharing different data types.

Other activities for the next year include increased collaboration with the other NDIIPP-funded states projects, and continued outreach and education efforts with legislative constituencies such as the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, and other groups.

Documents from the meeting are available on the project web site (external link).