[Open-Legislation] "European Parliament to share amendment web tool as open source"

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Sat May 12 21:48:35 UTC 2012

Great news Erik. Would this be worthy of a full blog post?


On 11 May 2012 17:53, JOSEFSSON Erik <erik.josefsson at europarl.europa.eu> wrote:
> Dear all,
> Congrats to all of us!!
> Link:
> https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/news/european-parliament-share-amendment-web-tool-open-source
> Piggyback link: http://epfsug.eu/become-a-member-or-a-supporter
> //Erik
> European Parliament to share amendment web tool as open source
> The IT department of the European Parliament will next year make available
> as open source At4am, software that helps staff at the EP write amendments.
> The tool could be useful for many other parliaments and other public bodies
> that create legislative texts. The United Nations and the parliaments in
> Denmark and in the United Kingdom have expressed interest in the software.
> "Processes for drafting legal texts differ from parliament to parliament. We
> hope that by sharing our software, we can at least inspire other legislative
> bodies", says Claudio Fabiani, Project Manager at DG ITEC, the Directorate
> General of the European Parliament, and involved in the development of
> At4am.
> The decision to make At4am (Automatic Tool for AMendments) open source was
> taken in recent months. It was briefly mentioned last week Thursday during a
> workshop in the EP on the use of XML for drafting legislation.
> The At4am web editing tool was first made available to the EP staff in early
> 2010. It can only be accessed by users logged in to the EP's Intranet.
> Any browser
> The web editor can be used in any web browser. EP staff write amendments by
> creating files in an XML format which is designed especially for
> parliamentary, legislative and judiciary documents. That XML schema, called
> Akoma Ntoso, is currently under consideration for standardisation at OASIS.
> The software saves the EP staff time by automatically applying the rules for
> drafting such amendments. When opening a text, At4am shows which paragraphs
> can be changed and presents the user with editing information. This
> information is stored as metadata for the amendment.
> All amendments are saved in the At4am database as content, rendering codes
> and metadata. They can be exported either in the Akoma Ntoso XML schema or
> saved as a binary electronic document.
> The application itself is available in the three working languages of EP,
> English, French and German. All documents to amend however are instantly
> accessible in any of the official languages of the EU.
> Licence combination
> The IT department at the EP has not yet decided which open source licence it
> will use. "Maybe we will use the EU's open source licence, the EUPL, but we
> might also pick another one, or make a combination", says Fabiani.
> The software developers also have not yet settled where they will publish
> the source code. The EC's Joinup software repository is one option, Fabiani
> says. "Though maybe we will settle for Google's software forge, or both. We
> just started thinking about all of this."
> The open source version will not be exactly the same as the software used in
> the EP, explains Fabiani. "It has some functions that are unique to the EP.
> To make sure it can be implemented by or is useful for other parliaments, we
> will first have to untangle some of the legislative context and services."
> More information:
> International workshop: Identifying benefits deriving from the adoption of
> XML-based chains for drafting legislation
> --
> Erik Josefsson
> Advisor on Internet Policies
> Greens/EFA Group
> GSM: +32484082063
> BXL: PHS 04C075 TEL: +3222832667
> SBG: WIC M03005 TEL: +33388173776
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