One of my favorite THOMAS related posts was of the THOMAS Starting Point, which featured the homepage of the site when it launched on January 5, 1995. It seems only fitting to share the photo from the post while announcing the THOMAS Ending Point of July 5, 2016.
I have talked frequently about THOMAS on In Custodia Legis since the first week of this blog in August 2010 when I shared the Top Weekly Bills in THOMAS. Also during that month there were posts on what Congress is sending the president, tweeting THOMAS, and its revamp during the recess.
On September 19, 2012 we introduced Congress.gov and mentioned that it “marks the first public announcement of the eventual end of THOMAS.” And from that time on, the focus has been on making Congress.gov into a full-fledged replacement. We continued making significant enhancements approximately each quarter and removed the beta label in September 2014. Congress.gov is the system that we wished THOMAS could be, but could not because of its older, fragile infrastructure.
There are great Congress.gov features like responsive design (which means it adapts to the device you are using), facets to refine your search results, member and legislation email alerts, status of legislation tracker, and member pages. All of these features were unavailable on THOMAS.
And where we are now is just the beginning. Congress.gov has also gained recognition as a Webby honoree in the best practices for the web category and was listed on GovLoop’s list of 20 Innovations that Mattered in 2013. We have plans to continue to leverage our new platform to bring together U.S. legislative content in ways that were not possible with THOMAS. We are retiring a twenty-one year old website and replacing it with a more modern, robust site with an agile development plan in place.
Let the countdown begin until THOMAS retires to Monticello on July 5, 2016.