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The Congress.gov September 2013 Update

In addition to adding the Constitution Annotated (and app) to Congress.gov and prepping for redirecting THOMAS.gov and THOMAS.loc.gov to the new system, we are launching a new set of enhancements today.

Several of the changes in this release come from our user feedback. Many people asked to have the current Congress set as the default for searching.  Starting today, the default search will be run across legislation in the current Congress. You can use the facets to broaden your search to include all Congresses or to include other data (e.g., Congressional Record or Committee Reports.)  You can also use the facets to select more than one specific Congress (not just one or all as before).


Just as with previous releases, Jeanine has provided a list of what is new for this release on the About Congress.gov page:

September 2013 Release

The focus of this release is on improvements to the web interface as well as infrastructure and operations.

Improvements – Search

  • Global search menu pull down is defaulted to Current Legislation with other drop down group options for current legislation, all legislation, all sources, and specific sources (Members, Congressional Record, Committee Reports).
  • Default facet selections now include: Legislation and the Current Congress.
  • Congress facet is now multi-select.
  • Improved labeling of object types in search results.
  • Improved display of search result summary.
  • Phrase searching has been improved.

Improvements – Legislation

  • Committee reports are now linked from the Committees tab of the legislative detail page.
  • Text of a Congressional Record article displays in amendment text tab when result is only one matching article (previously it resulted in list format).
  • “In Committee” and “No Value” committee activities are now suppressed on the Committees tab of the legislative detail page.
  • Type of legislation label now included on legislative detail page.
  • Reduced the size of the bill overview box on the legislative detail page.
  • Improved display of timestamps on Actions tab.

Improvements – Committees

  • Committee landing page now includes committees other than standing committees, and provides links to committee profile pages for Special and Select committees.
  • Committee profile pages for Senate committees now include a link to a page containing membership and subcommittee lists.

General improvements to the site (among others)

Just a reminder that starting in November the URLs THOMAS.gov and THOMAS.loc.gov will automatically redirect to  Congress.gov. To get prepared for this transition, sign up for one of our Congress.gov webinars. The next two are Oct. 17 and Nov. 14 (complete this form to register).

Our @THOMASdotgov Twitter followers will be transferred to a new Congress.gov Twitter account.  THOMAS.gov will remain accessible from the Congress.gov homepage through late 2014.

3 Comments

  1. Kevin Maschmeyer
    September 30, 2013 at 12:02 am

    Your new web page is quite an transition from thomas.gov to congress.gov. Unique lay out. Information posted on page guides user through law techniques.

  2. Hon AdeDayo Ariyo
    October 17, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    This Improveing & Innovateing.

  3. John
    November 25, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Have you made a decision on whether you are going to make a datafeed of the congressional voting record freely available? As it is right now, only those who have a lot of money to spend on private services can easily access and manipulate this dataset. This information is important for transparency and it is very strange that this would not be the first order of business. I attended a webcast about new updates to the beta site and inquired this same question – I was told that it would be considered. So much could be done to hold lawmakers accountable for their voting and lawmaking history. Producing this information in machine readable format is extremely important for improving our legislative process. Please see this article for a more in-depth treament of the issue – http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0409/21726.html

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