Center for Archival Resources On Legislatures (CAROL)
People want to access legislative data in different ways. Some expect traditional access to paper records in state archives or other repositories. Increasingly, however, people expect find such information on the Internet and expect websites to offer immediate and comprehensive access to the data. Providing access to born digital records is a common practice and somewhat more straightforward than providing access to older records. The demand for older records is considerable, however, and organizations must grapple with digitization projects to create this access. Information on digitization practices can be found in the Foundations section of this resource center as well as under the White Paper section below.
As part of providing access to materials online, organizations must be aware of design considerations. Depending on the format or method used for providing access, people with disabilities may not be able to use the site. Access methods must follow accessibility standards.
More detailed information on these and other access issues can be found under the White Papers link as well as the Projects and Tools link on this page.
Before you can begin to provide access to legislative data or records, you must understand what is it that you have and what your legal requirements are for providing access.
Information on these issues can be found in the Foundations section of this Resource Center.
You must also understand who your audience is and what they want. Answers to these questions will help determine what access methods or processes are the most appropriate.
Many of the white papers written during the course of the NDIIPP project cover access issues.
These topics include general ADA accessibility, a business case for digital preservation based on access, digitization and format standard information including audio and video formats and XML, legislative record metadata, and issues around open government data and reuse.
Links to these white papers can be found here.
Projects and Tools
The NDIIPP project team explored many different ways to provide access to legislative records.
In addition to research on ADA accessibility issues, the project team created a legislative metadata schema and XML wrapper to describe legislative records, tested an XML native database for access purposes, experimented with web archiving, and worked with the Sunlight Foundation on various open government projects including developing a Minnesota OpenGovernment page and a mobile application built on the OpenStates data.
Links to more information for each of these projects or tools can be found here.
The following are a few selected resources relating to the access issues discussed in this section of CAROL. A more extensive list of resources can be found here.
Resource Center Navigation
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Links to the main sections of CAROL are provided below.
April 24, 2012; links verified March 29, 2013