Thursday, May 27, 2010

XML in legislature/parliament environments

Last time I talked about KLISS I said I would talk about some of the reasons why a legislature/parliament is not a happy hunting ground for the blind application of standard IT architecture patterns from the document management/content management/publishing space.

The first, often quite glaring architectural non-sequitur goes like this:

1) legislatures/parliaments are full of very structured documents : bills, resolutions, journals, calendars, statutes, annotations...all have readily apparent structure.

2) XML is all about handling very structured documents.

3) Therefore, classic XML approaches fit legislatures/parliaments.

There are a variety of reasons why this analysis is, in my opinion, wrong but it will take me a number of posts to explain why.

Before I start, let me point out that XML *has* an enormous role to play in legislatures/parliaments but it cannot be simply applied blindly per the standard XML value model without causing significant problems. The 7 main reasons are:

a) the centrality of line/page number citation in amendment cycles

b) the complex nature of amendatory actions

c) the critical nature of fidelity with historically produced renderings

d) the fluid nature of work-in-progress legal assets

e) the complexity of amendment cycle business rules that often pre-date computers and cannot be changed to make life easier for modern software

f) the subtle inter-play between legal content and legal content renderings

g) content aggregation and derived document types

Next up : "the centrality of line/page number citation in amendment cycles"

1 comment:

GJ said...

It's good to find someone raising this issue. FWIW, I think you're right (if I have correctly anticipated your arguments). Looking forward to the posts.