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08 August 2012, 14:58

BundesGit: Tracking law changes with Git

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Developer Stefan Wehrmeyer has created a GitHub repository with the aim of tracking the changes in all federal laws passed in Germany. The laws are stored in Markdown format to make them more easily readable directly on the GitHub site.

Wehrmeyer is calling on interested parties to contribute to the BundesGit project and submit changes to laws to his repository. For this purpose, he has written a collection of Python scripts that download the law documents in XML format from the official online law portalGerman language link run by the German government, convert them to Markdown and automatically commit the texts to the repository in a standardised format.

The main goal of the project is to give interested members of the public the ability to track future changes to the laws. Currently, the repository does not have an easy way of displaying changes to the laws as the government does not release a machine-readable version of the changes. This means that, when a law changes, the entire document has to be re-committed to the repository. Since Git can then generate a diff between the two versions, there is no technical reason that prevents these changes from being displayed in an easily readable manner as well.

Before starting the repository, Wehrmeyer was known in the open data community for creating the "Frag den Staat"German language link platform, which facilitates submitting freedom of information requests to the German government. More information about BundesGit and announcements from the project are available from its Twitter account.


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