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New Features Added to Congress.gov Based On Your Feedback

Since the unveiling of Congress.gov in September of 2012, we have been constantly adding new features with each release, and many of the features in this release are based directly on your feedback.

Accessibility
We want to make Congress.gov more accessible, and our new feature, “Listen,” helps us deliver on this goal. Listen appears on bill summary pages and will read the text of the bill summary aloud to you. If you would like to focus on certain text, you can highlight it and Listen will read the highlighted text to you. You can also download an audio file of the bill summary to listen to it on the go.

Listen on Congress.gov

Listen on Congress.gov

Enhanced Email Alerts
We released legislative email alerts in February 2015, and you provided us with some great feedback on this feature. You let us know that you when you receive an email alert concerning a bill, you need the title of the bill to appear in the alert. We appreciate your feedback and have added bill titles to legislative email alerts.

More Appropriation Tables With Enhanced Content
When we released Congress.gov in 2012, you let us know that you wanted more content included in the appropriation tables to simplify the process of tracking appropriations. We listened, and delivered new appropriation tables with enhanced content, starting with a table for the most recent fiscal year, 2016. We continue to work our way back, and now have appropriation tables with enhanced content going back to 2005.

Congress.gov Appropriations Table

Congress.gov Appropriations Table

Search Within Committee and Member Pages
In the past, you could only refine your results on member profile and committee pages using the facets menu. With the new release, you can use the powerful “Search Within” results feature on committee and member pages to quickly locate the legislation and reports you need.

Search Within Results on a Member Profile Page

Search Within Results on a Member Profile Page

Explore the Complete List of Enhancements
We hope you enjoy the new release! You can explore the complete list of enhancements included in this release below.

July 2015

Enhancements – User Experience:

  • Facets
    • Political party and Congressional Record section facets allow the user to multi-select
  • Search
    • Users may use next/previous arrows to navigate through search results
    • Citation pattern matching has been adjusted
    • Middle name and nickname are now supported in cosponsor/sponsor fields
  • Advanced Search
    • It is now possible to edit the URL with a parameter that will keep the search form open
    • A preset date query is now supported, e.g., “yesterday”
  • Detail / Profile pages
    • Search within results is available on member and committee profile pages
  • Help/About pages
    • The committee field value list has been adjusted
    • The bioguide field value list has been adjusted
  • Listen
    • Listen will read aloud the text of the bill summary page
    • The user can also highlight portions of the text to be read by Listen

Enhancements – Accounts / Alerts / Saved Searches:

  • The following changes were based on user feedback:
    • The bill title has been added to bill and member alerts
    • Members alerts are triggered by amendment cosponsorship/sponsorship

Enhancements – Browse:

  • Adjustments have been made to the treatment of private laws
  • Sort has been added to the recently received text browse report

Enhancement – Appropriation Tables:

  • Added tables for prior years in the new appropriations table format that debuted in March 2015

 

Let Us Hear From You
Please keep providing us with your great feedback so we can make Congress.gov even better for you.

 

THOMAS to Congress.gov: Gap Analysis and User Testing

With each release of Congress.gov, THOMAS is one step closer to retiring to Monticello.  Tina has recently joined the Congress.gov team and has been working on a gap analysis between the two systems.  She is identifying items such as the Senate Executive Communications and Congressional Record Index that exist only on THOMAS as things to […]

Congress.gov Continues…

So far, 2015 has been a great year for Congress.gov.  First, we launched email alerts in February. Then, we added treaty documents and more in March.  With today’s update, improvements have been made to search (results, command line and advanced), alerts, browse, and accessibility. The Federalist Papers have remained a perennially popular item on THOMAS with […]

Baking at the Capitol

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Top 5s in 2015

As the first third of the year draws to a close, I thought it would be nice to take a look at the metrics for a few different resources on Congress.gov and the Law Library’s website.  I find it helpful, when thinking about how to update and improve our website, to review what gets the most attention from our […]

Treaties, Text, and Timely Updates – Congress.gov Spring Cleaning

Since introducing Congress.gov in September 2012, we have continued to add the databases from THOMAS to the new system.  We launched with legislation, followed soon thereafter by the Congressional Record, Committee Reports, and nominations.  Today, we are releasing treaty documents.  You can select “All Sources” and search across all of these data sets at once, something […]