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Twitter on THOMAS

Today we launched another update to THOMAS: our @THOMASdotgov Twitter feed is now dynamically updating on the homepage in the right column.  It is just below the Weekly Top Five.  Did you know if you hover over any item in the top five you can see the title?  One of our goals with the Twitter account is to provide timely alerts about legislative developments and, with this change, now we can do that directly from the homepage.

We’ve added a new way to browse legislation: by subject terms.  If you browse through the list you can see how many items have been tagged with each subject during this Congress.  A sample of the terms available to browse by includes education, energy, immigration, health, and law.

Also added to the Help section is a page on Putting THOMAS on Your Site.  Do you love THOMAS as much as us?  Take the code and put its search box directly on your website.

The last update was to enhance some of the URLs within the Share/Save toolbar.  Do you use the toolbar?  I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating that it really is a wonderful addition to THOMAS.  By clicking on Share/Save, you can quickly post a bill to Facebook, tweet about it, email it, or even copy the URL for use later (like in a blog post :-)).  Unlike most websites, a lot of the links displayed in the address bar on THOMAS are temporary.  If you try to share by copy and pasting from there, the temporary link won’t work after thirty minutes.  The Share/Save toolbar helps avoid this by providing the permanent link to items within THOMAS.

For more background on some of the changes to THOMAS, you can see the slides from our recent AALL presentation or click through these links on the many enhancements that have occurred over the last two years.

5 Comments

  1. James Manalu
    August 10, 2011 at 2:19 am

    I like it.

  2. Ed Summers
    August 10, 2011 at 8:42 am

    I like the new subject guide. I’m kind of curious about the subject terms. Have they been actively assigned to legislation in the past, or are they something new? Are the terms somehow linked to committees, or is there some other mechanism in place to assign the terms?

    One small suggestion, it might be nice to display the subject term in the bill view both for display and in the HTML metadata for the page:

    For example on the view for H.R.68 you could add:

    <meta name=”dc.subject” content=”Science, technology, communications” />

    This way people, search engines that are crawling the data will be able to easily pull it out. And you could even make the subject term a hyperlink, that pointed back at the view of legislation in that subject area.

  3. Andrew Weber
    August 10, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Adding the subject terms as metadata is a great idea that we are currently working on. Thanks!

  4. Kristina
    August 10, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I was at AALL, but missed the Peeping THOMAS presentation. I found your slides on one of the other blogposts, but there is a tutorial that I can’t watch from the PDF version (http://blogs.loc.gov/law/files/2011/08/THOMAS-AALL-Presentation-Final.pdf). Would you be able to email it (or a link) to me? I would really appreciate it. Thank you so much and keep up the great work!

    Best,
    Kristina

  5. Christine Sellers
    August 10, 2011 at 11:46 am

    The THOMAS tutorial slide was a sneak peek! They’ll be coming later in the year so watch for them!

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