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Time to Turn off THOMAS: July 5, 2016

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.

THOMAS Starting PointI 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.congressdotgov-plain-2016

Congress.gov Spring Cleaning: Expanded Quick Search

Over the last several months, we have added a variety of enhancements to Congress.gov.  It began with the Communications in October, the Congressional Record Index in December, and the XML Bulk Data via GPO in February.  Today’s update focuses on expanding Quick Search on Congress.gov. When the Quick Search on Congress.gov first launched in December 2015, […]

Anniversary of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First Inauguration – Pic of the Week

Today is the anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first inauguration, which took place on March 4, 1933.  Historically speaking, it was the last presidential inauguration held in March.  As I wrote in the post on the 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Confederation Congress had set the date for the first Congress to be celebrated […]

A Congress.gov Interview with Juanita Campbell: 42 Years of Service

The following Congress.gov interview is a guest post by Kelly Yuzawa, a specialist in legislative information systems management within the Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the Library of Congress. Read the Congressional Tribute to Juanita Campbell. Briefly describe your 42 years at the Library of Congress and CRS. My 42 years at the Library of Congress have […]

The Congress.gov Top 15 in 2015

Another year, another list of legislation! After 13 in 2013 and 14 in 2014, it is time for the 15 most-viewed items in 2015 on Congress.gov. H.R.213 [114th] Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2015 H.R.1599 [114th] Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 H.R.1735 [114th] National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 […]

New End of Year Congress.gov Enhancements: Quick Search, Congressional Record Index, and More

In our quest to retire THOMAS, we have made many enhancements to Congress.gov this year.  Our first big announcement was the addition of email alerts, which notify users of the status of legislation, new issues of the Congressional Record, and when Members of Congress sponsor and cosponsor legislation.  That development was soon followed by the addition of treaty documents and better […]

Frances Giden Berko

I recently re-read one of my favorite childhood books, Karen by Marie Killilea.  The book recounts the struggles of the author’s daughter who was born with cerebral palsy and her challenges to lead a normal life.  The author also mentions Frances Giden Berko who had cerebral palsy as well and this caught my attention because […]

Now over 1,000,000 Items to Search on Congress.gov: Communications and More Added

This has been a great year as we continue our push to develop and refine Congress.gov.  There were email alerts added in February, treaties and better default text in March, the Federalist Papers and more browse options in May, and accessibility and user requested features in July.  With this October update, Senate Executive Communications from […]

Joint Sessions and Meetings of Congress

On September 24, 2015, Pope Francis delivered a speech before a joint meeting of Congress.  I thought it would be interesting to provide some information about joint sessions and meetings of Congress–what they are, how they occur and where one can find historical information about joint sessions. The Senate website defines a joint session as […]

Constitution Day – The Annotated Constitution Celebrated

Thursday, September 17th is Constitution Day and on this date we commemorate the signing of the Constitution.  This day also recognizes those who have become citizens of the United States by coming of age or by naturalization.  The Law Library frequently celebrates this auspicious day with a lecture or scholarly debate.  Over the years we […]