Consolidating the UK's three legislation websites into a single official legislation service was a key strategic goal for the UK Government's The National Archives. The new service had to be more user-friendly, whilst bringing together the best functionality from all three sites, and act as a portal for third parties to extract legislation in Extensible Markup Language and Resource Description Framework (XML and RDF) formats at no charge.
"We had two objectives with legislation.gov.uk: to deliver a high quality public service for people who need to consult, cite, and use legislation on the Web; and to expose the UK's Statute Book as data, for people to take, use, and re-use for whatever purpose or application they wish.
In particular, our aim was to show how the statute book can contribute to the growing Web of data as well as to the Web of documents" said John Sheridan, Head of Legislation Services, The National Archives.
We transformed the legislation publishing workflow to enable content to be captured, transformed and disseminated quickly and simply in a variety of formats.
Our robust single-source publishing platform captures legislation in a structured way and transforms it to XML to enable simultaneous publishing on the new website in print and as machine-readable data.
Utilising our transformational services, a repository of over 6.5 million documents is now available on the website in HTML and PDF formats that are dynamically generated from the underlying XML source. The source triple store repository contains over 1.8 billion RDF triples of linked data, and continues to grow daily!
In developing the new website, we worked with TNA to integrate semantic web technologies and to provide a URI scheme that met best-practice guidelines. The solution also provides access through a public Application Programming Interface (API) in XML and RDF formats for re-users of the data. The website has been designed from the ground up with both usability and open data in mind.
The website www.legislation.gov.uk, is the first site of its kind in the world, transforming public and professional access to legislation data.
Uniquely, the site brings together the application of legislation from across all four UK jurisdictions.