Library of Congress Legislative Data Challenge
Markup of U.S. Legislation in Akoma Ntoso


The Library of Congress is sponsoring “Legislative Data Challenges” to advance the development of international data exchange standards for legislative data.  These challenges are part of an initiative to encourage broad participation in the development and application of legislative data standards and to engage new communities in the use of legislative data.  Goals of this initiative include:

•   Enabling wider accessibility and more efficient exchange of the legislative data of the United States Congress;

•   Encouraging the development of open standards that facilitate better integration, analysis, and interpretation of legislative data; and,

•   Fostering the use of open source licensing for implementing legislative data standards.

The Library of Congress Legislative Data Challenges will recognize individuals, teams of individuals, for-profit legal entities, and/or non-profit organizations for developing proposed solutions or proofs of concepts for the exchange and mapping of legislative information.  

The Markup of U.S. Legislation in Akoma Ntoso Challenge will assess the suitability of the Akoma Ntoso XML schemas for representing the bills of the U.S. Congress and will identify potential modifications to the XML schemas to improve the support U.S. Congressional bill data.  Subsequent Library of Congress Legislative Data Challenges may address use of Akoma Ntoso or other XML schemas for the U.S. Congressional Record, U.K. Parliamentary bills, or other legislative data.

The Library has developed these challenges with the assistance of the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Chairs of the OASIS LegalDocumentML Technical Committee.  

CHALLENGE 1: Markup of US Legislation in Akoma Ntoso 

1.    Sponsor.  The Challenge is sponsored by the Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, DC  20540.   In these Official Rules, “we” and “our” refer to the Library of Congress.

2.    Brief Description.   The Challenge assesses the suitability of the Akoma Ntoso XML schemas for representing the bills of the U.S. Congress and identifies potential changes to the schemas that would improve their support for U.S. legislative data.  

3.    Eligibility.

A.    You may participate in the Challenge if you are:

(1)    at least 18 years old at the time of entry; you may enter both individually and as part of teams and organizations;

(2)    a team of individuals where each team member is at least 18 years old at the time of entry; and

(3)    any for-profit or non-profit organization.

A team or organization must appoint a representative to act on its behalf.  

B.    You may not participate in the Challenge if you:  

(1)    are an employee of the Library of Congress, the Congress, or another U.S. federal entity; or share a household with, or are the spouse, or child of such an employee;

(2)    will work on the Challenge using federal funds or federal resources or federal facilities not available to all participants; or

(3)    are an individual involved with the development or judging of the Challenge or the spouse or child of such an individual.  

C.    You will not be eligible to win if:

(1)    you do not comply with these rules throughout the Challenge and judging period;

(2)    we cannot contact you by December 8, 2013;  

(3)    you do not sign and return the affidavit of eligibility or a similar verification document and liability/publicity release(s) within ten  business days after receiving them; or

(4)    either you (including a member of a team or organization) or your entry is disqualified for any reason.  

D.    We will not provide you with a computer, an Internet connection, or any other items that may be necessary to enter the Challenge.  

4.    Prize.  We will award a cash prize of $5,000 USD for the winning entry.  We will invite the winning individual or team to present their solution at a Legislative Data Forum hosted at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.  In addition to the cash prize, we will fund travel to attend the Legislative Data Forum for a winning individual or for the representative of a winning team or organization.  

A.    If a team or organization submits the winning entry, we will contact the representative.

B.    If you are or your entry is disqualified for any reason, we may award the prize to the entry with the next highest score.  

C.    If your employer has a policy that prohibits acceptance of the cash prize, we may award the cash prize to the entry with the next highest score.    

D.    If you accept the cash prize, you are responsible for reporting and paying all applicable federal, state, and local taxes.   

5.    Challenge Requirements.  Develop a solution that converts the text of four marked-up U.S. Congressional bills to Akoma Ntoso XML schema.

A.    Objectives.  The objectives of this Challenge are:

(1)    Create representations of each of the following bills and the corresponding metadata, as available, into Akoma Ntoso XML schema:

Bill Number Version URL for Bill Text PDF (for viewing style/layout characteristics)
H.Con.Res.83[112] Engrossed
H.R. 4310[112] Enrolled
H.R. 1[112] Engrossed Amendment Senate
H.R. 1120 [113] Reported House

(2)    Identify gaps in the Akoma Ntoso framework or U.S. bill text where data cannot be incorporated properly into the existing framework, and propose new schema elements or other solutions as necessary.

(3)    Document the solution’s methodology.

B.    Resources.  

(1)    FDsys Congressional Bills collection:

(2)    Akoma Ntoso baseline conformance guidance:

C.    Contents of Entry.  Your entry will be judged for completeness based on the inclusion of the following:  

(1)    Title of your solution.

(2)    Executive summary. A complete summary will:

(a)    describe your approach and methodology;

(b)    identify unresolved issues;

(c)    include attribution and links to any existing open source tools used; and

(d)    not include proprietary information.

(3)    Converted Bill Text.  Data files and supporting documentation for conversion of the text of the four U.S. bills, including the Akoma Ntoso XML versions of each bill.  

(4)    Decision Criteria Documentation. Complete documentation about decisions you made regarding production of the toolkit and processing of data files will include:

(a)    a list of gaps in the Akoma Ntoso framework or US bill text where data cannot be incorporated properly within the existing framework, and recommendations to propose new schema elements or other solutions as necessary;

(b)    name, description, and URL for source code and user documentation of open source toolkit used (either an existing one or one you developed) and how the toolkit processes data files. Examples of open source tools include:

(i)    Bungeni-Editor:;

(ii)    AT4AM:;

(iii)    WAWE editor:;

(c)    a description of the level of effort, resources, and licensing required to maintain the toolkit (if applicable); and

(d)    evaluation of the open source toolkit used.            

(5)    Open Source Toolkit.  A complete entry will include tools developed for this challenge and will be submitted either under an open source license or committed to the public domain.

D.    Optional Video.  Optionally, you may include a link to a public or unlisted video on or demonstrating your solution, or describing how your proposed solution would work.  Your entry may be disqualified if your video is primarily promotional.    

(1)    If you submit a video, it must:  

(a)    clearly demonstrate your solution;  

(b)    be no longer than five minutes.  Any part of a video exceeding five minutes will be ignored;

(c)    not include music or other copyrighted material unless you have written permission to use such material; and

(d)    remain posted on YouTube or Vimeo for at least one year after the Challenge closes.

(2)    Your video (or the link to it) will be displayed publicly on the Challenge website.  Do not include proprietary information in your video.

(3)    You must obtain consent to post the video online from anyone appearing in your video.  If a minor appears in your video, your must obtain consent from the minor’s parent or legal guardian.   

6.    General Requirements.  Your entry must comply with the following general requirements.

A.    Your executive summary, documentation and video must be in English or be accompanied by an English translation.   

B.    Your entry must be free of malware or other security threats.  We may test your entry to confirm this.  

C.    You may revise your entry before the entry period closes, but not after.  

D.    You may submit more than one entry.  However, each entry must be unique. If you submit entries that are substantially similar, we may disqualify the later entries or require you to choose one entry to enter into the Challenge.

E.    By submitting an entry, you warrant that it is your original work.  You further warrant that your entry does not violate any intellectual property right (including any statutory or common law trademark, copyright or patent) any privacy right, or any other person’s or entity’s rights.

7.    Display of Entries.

A.    We will post your entry and a link to your video (if any) on the Challenge website after the entry period is closed, and after we have screened your materials for basic functionality, accuracy of messaging, security, and appropriateness of content.

B.    Posting your entry does not mean we have determined that it eligible and meets the Challenge requirements.

C.    Your executive summary and open source toolkit will be made publicly available.

D.    Anyone interested in receiving automatic Challenge updates must create an account on the Challenge website.

8.    Judging.  

A.    Judging Panel.  We will select a panel of experts to judge the Challenge entries.  Judges will remain fair and impartial.  A judge will not evaluate an entry if we determine that doing so would be a conflict of interest or would otherwise be inappropriate.      

B.    Evaluation Criteria.  We will evaluate your entry using the criteria below.

(1)    Completeness (40%)

•    Did the entry include all legislative measures listed in subsection 5.A(1)?

•    Were all parts of the legislative measures represented in the final product using the Akoma Ntoso standard?

•    Did the entry include discussion of data structures not accommodated and recommendations to add elements, attributes, metadata, or other solutions designed to resolve these issues?

•    Did the entry include information about and an evaluation of the open source tools used to create the markup?

(2)    Accuracy (40%)

•    Did the entry propose an efficient and easy to use methodology to solve data issues encountered during the creation of the legislative measures using the Akoma Ntoso standard?

•    Did the entry correctly identify data structures not accommodated by the standard?

•    Do new elements, attributes, metadata, or other solutions included to resolve mapping or markup issues conform to the existing standard?

(3)    Practicality (20%)

•    How successful is the proposed solution?

•    How easy might it be to adapt your solution to other jurisdictions and types of legislation? Does the solution adapt to new techniques and changing standards? How has the solution validated these points?

•    What has to be changed for the solution to work? Can it function today? (For example, does it require changes to all U.S. legislation, and require active cooperation by all cooperative governments, or can it work with limited adoption?) Solutions that are deployable at once will be more heavily weighted, as will solutions that give immediate benefits with even small-scale deployment.

•    Is special or proprietary software required to implement your solution?

C.    Scoring.  The winner of the Challenge will be the entry that earns the highest overall score.  In the event of a tie, the prize will be divided equally among the winning entries.

9.    Schedule.

A.    Entry Period.  You may submit an entry between 9:00 a.m. EST, July 16, 2013 to 5:00 p.m. EST, October 31, 2013.  Our computer is the official time keeping device for the Challenge.  

B.    Judging Period.  We will judge the entries from November 1, 2013 to November 30, 2013.  

C.    Results.  We will announce the results of the Challenge on or after December 19, 2013.
10.    How to Participate.

A.    Register via  

(1)    Visit on (the “Challenge Website”) and click “Sign Up” to create an account, or click “Log In” and log in with an existing account. There is no charge for creating an account.  You may sign up beginning 9:00 a.m. EST July 16, 2013.

(2)    After you sign up, you will receive a confirmation email.

(3)    To receive updates, indicate your agreement by clicking “Accept this Challenge.”   

B.    Verification of Potential Winners.

(1)    All potential challenge winners are subject to verification of identity, qualifications, and role in the creation of the solution.

(2)    In order to receive the prize, you will be required to sign an affidavit of eligibility and liability/publicity releases on your (and your team’s behalf) within ten business days.  

C.    Acceptance of Official Rules.  Participation constitutes your (and your team’s) full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules and to decisions of the Library of Congress, which are final and binding in all matters related to the Challenge.

D.    Entry Conditions and Release.  By submitting an entry, you agree to:

(1)    comply with our decisions and the judges’ decisions;

(2)    allow us to use your name and likeness to promote the Challenge.

11.    General Conditions.

A.    The Challenge is subject to all applicable laws and regulations and is void where prohibited.  

B.    We reserve the right to cancel or modify the Challenge or the rules for any reason. We also reserve the right to disqualify you for any reason.

C.    The rules are the definitive authority on the terms of the Challenge. If any part of the rules is illegal or unenforceable, all of the other rules remain valid. Our failure to enforce any of the rules does not waive our ability to enforce that rule.

D.    We are not responsible for incomplete, late, misdirected, damaged, lost, illegible, or incomprehensible entries or for changes in your address or email.  Proof that you sent or submitted your entry will not be deemed to be proof that we received it.      

E.    Disputes.  You agree that:

(1)    you will resolve any claims or lawsuits about this Challenge individually, and not as part of a class action;

(2)    any claims or lawsuits about this Challenge will be resolved pursuant to U.S. Federal law; and

(3)    you will not claim any punitive, incidental, or consequential damages.