Loading fact files, is this still the preferred means?

For loading fact files found Reading dynamic data from a file which works.

Was wondering if load_files/2 would be better?

The motivation still hold: it is faster and it allows verifying you only load data with the shape you are expecting.

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Even faster, if you do it more than once, is to compile the facts into a .qlf file (assuming you trust the file, of course).

To do this automatically, create an empty foo.qlf file in the same directory as the foo.pl file. If you do load_files/1 or similar, the existence of the empty foo.qlf file will trigger compilation, so the next time you load foo, the foo.qlf file will be used, and it will be much faster. (You can also run the compiler separately, of course, to get the same effect.)