Minnesota considers open-format state documents

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Map highlighting Minnesota

The "Preservation of State Documents Act" which would require open formats for Minnesota state government documents has been introduced in both the state House and Senate.

Using an open format for documents helps ensure that documents can be read even if the editing program which created the document is not available.

The House sponsor is Paul Thissen, while Don Betzold introduced it in the Senate. The bill is in committee.

Effective July 1, 2008, all documents including text, spreadsheets, and presentations of the state of Minnesota shall be created, exchanged, maintained, and preserved in an open, XML-based file format, as specified by the chief information office of the state, that is:
(1) interoperable among diverse internal and external platforms and applications;
(2) fully published and available royalty-free;
(3) implemented by multiple vendors; and
(4) controlled by an open industry organization with a well-defined inclusive process for evolution of the standard.
By that date, the state of Minnesota shall be able to accept all documents received in open document format for office applications and shall not migrate to a file format currently used by only one organization.