Unannounced Grants.gov file format change causes problems

Users of Grants.Gov’s XML downloads of funding opportunity announcements got an unpleasant surprise recently: the XML files changed, without any announcement or forewarning. The problem is apparently in the XML date elements:




Up to now, the ISO 8601 date format recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium was used in these files, with dates being formatted as CCYY-MM-DD. Grants.gov’s XML files now using a different format — MMDDCCYY — that significantly changes the way in which these files can be used and manipulated.

From what I understand, this has caused some major headaches for folks using these files. Why the format was changed unilaterally without any discussion with or notification to users is unclear to me. I can only assume that the change was needed for some reason that hasn’t been publicized (yet). Even so, this is a pretty poor example of how to keep customers happy and maintain confidence in Grants.gov’s ability to run a smooth operation.

I haven’t seen any announcement about this on Grants.gov so far.