States leading the way: take 2

After writing my previous post about states leading the way in publishing raw database dumps of legislative activity (making the data really reusable, besides providing a nice web interface), I checked in with Illinois’ Legislative Information System Executive Director Tim Rice, who said:

The XML data is the result of a total rewrite of our systems that was completed in 2003. Since we had the data in XML, it made sense to provide it. Putting it on our FTP site was the best means to do that. It made the data available in a useful format, and it provided access to data that kept our site from being crawled constantly by those wanting that data.

There really haven’t been any problems with maintaining the FTP site. The data is moved there as part of our regularly scheduled processes, so it doesn’t require special attention.

So that’s the word from IL: Publishing the data they already had is easy and even cuts back on the number of “spiders” crawling their site (like GovTrack does to THOMAS).  (Thanks to Tim Rice for the info.)

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