Tuesday, November 29, 2005

What RSS Feeds Can Do For You, part 4

Most states are not yet taking full advantage of RSS feeds to distribute government information. As with previous uses of the internet to distribute state government information, some states are far ahead in their use of RSS technology, but the others will catch up soon. By this time next year, states that are not using RSS feeds to distribute a significant amount of government information will probably be in the minority.

Here in Illinois

As far as I have been able to determine, only two Illinois agencies use feeds. The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ILJIA) has feeds for news, grants, recent publications, links, and news releases. The State of Illinois Business Portal has feeds for regulatory changes and for business news. Neither the judicial branch nor the legislative branch seems to have any feeds at all.

Other State Executive Branches Using Feeds

Rhode Island seems to be leading the way in the use of RSS feeds to distribute state executive branch information. The official RI state website has feeds for highlights and news, and REX, the RI eGovernment Exchange Portal was set up to aid in the rapid deployment of shared data. The RI Secretary of State has a news feed and a feed for recently promulgated regulations, as well as experimental customizable feeds of the rules or corporations databases. Missouri and Michigan have compiled impressive lists of agency feeds. Like Illinois, most states probably have agencies that are using feeds, but they do not yet have portal pages with links to all the agency feeds.

State Judicial Branches Using Feeds

The North Dakota Supreme Court has been using feeds to distribute court news and opinion summaries, with links to the full text, for years. The West Virginia Supreme Court has four feeds—for recent opinions, civil topics, criminal topics, and family topics, each providing summaries of opinions with links to the full text. The Louisiana Supreme Court has a feed for its news releases, with links to the full text of the opinions, but the existence of the feed is not prominently displayed on the court's site. The Utah State Courts have a feed for Appellate opinions that are posted on its website. And the Oklahoma State Courts Network recently made opinions of its Supreme Court, Court of Civil Appeals, Court of Criminal Appeals, and Attorney General available via feeds.

State Legislative Branches Using Feeds

The Minnesota State Legislature has multiple feeds—for additions to its website, bill tracking, and reports and audits from the Office of the Legislative Auditor, as well as feeds from the MN House of Representatives and Legislative Reference Library. The Texas Legislature has multiple feeds—for bill text and analyses, fiscal notes, and house and senate schedules and calendars. The Utah State Legislature has a feed for news and featured links, as well as customizable feeds for bill tracking and legislative committees. Other state feeds for legislative information include: Hawaii Legislative Reference Bureau Reports, Rhode Island Secretary of State bill tracking, West Virginia Legislature's news and information feed, and the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau publications.

Non-Governmental Sites

There are also non-governmental sites that publish state government information. Stateline.org, a website funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, has news, topic, and state feeds. LeapLaw's 50 State Blawg (fka Secretary of State Blawg) monitors state-specific information and requirements for corporate and UCC services that legal professionals commonly need to know. You can subscribe to the RSS feed for the entire blog or individual feeds for the states in which you are interested.

RSS in Government, a blog of news about how RSS is being used by international, federal, state, and local governments, has many feed options.

There is more to come on what RSS Feeds can do for you, including practice-area resources and customizable feeds. For previous entries in this series, see part 1, part 2, part 3, and Subscribing to RSS Feeds.


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