{ subscribe_url: '/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/law.php' }

Congress.gov: Removing the Beta Label and New Enhancements

removing-the-beta-from-congressdotgovThe Library of Congress launched Congress.gov in beta two years ago.  Today, I’m happy to announce we officially removed the beta label. That’s roughly three years quicker than Gmail took to remove its beta label, but we won’t give you the option of putting it back on Congress.gov.  URLs that include beta.Congress.gov will be redirected to Congress.gov.

There are a range of new enhancements in this release.  One of the exciting additions is a new Resources section.  This section provides an A-to-Z list of hundreds of links related to Congress.  If you are not sure where something is located, try looking through this list.  I quickly jump through the list using Ctrl+F and searching.  You can find the new Resources page in the navigation on the top right or in the footer on every page.  Check it out and leave a comment below.

Congress.gov Resources

Congress.gov Resources

With our February Congress.gov update, we added Browse and Advanced Search.  Both of those have been improved with today’s release.  You can now browse a list of bills sponsored and cosponsored by all Representatives or Senators.  There’s also a great days in session calendar view which links directly to each day’s Congressional Record.  Instead of focusing on just one Congress, you now have the option to browse across all Congresses.  The Advanced Search has improved with more than thirty new fields available to construct increasingly detailed and intricate searches that you can then save.


House Committee Hearings and Meetings Video

The LIVE icon appears when a committee is streaming.

Most-Viewed Bills on Congress.gov

Most-Viewed Bills on Congress.gov

The popular Top Ten on THOMAS has now morphed into the Most Viewed on Congress.gov. We’ve had the three most-viewed bills on our homepage since the site launched but now there is an expanded view with an archive going back to late July.

House Committee hearings and meetings are now available to watch live on Congress.gov.  An icon appears next to each committee that is broadcasting. Archived videos going back to January 2012 are available to view and are listed by date.

We really value the feedback that we receive about Congress.gov. Whether it is a comment on this blog, via the feedback form, or a tweet, we read them all. One of the items suggested was to have a page where you can quickly see what is in each tab. With this release, there is now a link to “All Bill Information (Except Text)” from legislation, which provides a list of the summary, major actions, all actions, titles, subjects, cosponsors, committees, and related bills.

All of these build upon those featured in our June release when we added nominations, accounts, and saved searches. Robert once again updated the enhancement page for this release to include:

September 2014

New feature – Congress.gov Resources

  • Congress.gov Resources enhances the accessibility and comprehension of Congress.gov content through a variety of information curated by information professionals at the Library of Congress.
  • The new section features enhanced access to the top-ten most viewed bills, as well as an archive.

New Feature – House Committee Hearing Videos

  • The House Committee video live streams and archives are now available in Congress.gov. They may be accessed through a landing page and through Committee profile pages.

Improvement – Advanced Search:

  • The new advanced search adds support for a number of additional fields, including nominations, Congressional Record, and member. Additional legislative fields are also supported.
  • The bioguide ID available when searching member fields and the committee ID is now supported when searching committee fields.
  • Advanced search now defaults to two open advanced search “lines.”
  • A search of legislation now defaults to the current Congress.

Improvement – Browse:

  • The Browse page has been restructured.
  • You may now search across all Congresses in Browse.
  • New reports and tables are available to display:
    • Bill by Sponsor/Cosponsor
    • Days in Session Calendar
    • Roll Call Votes

Miscellaneous Improvements:

  • The bill type is now a multi-select facet.
  • A “view all” version of the bill detail page is available.
  • Member profile page urls support the bioguide ID.
  • Committee profile pages include a Committee facet.

Just because the beta label has been removed doesn’t mean we will not still be hard at work updating the website.  We have a plan for new features and enhancements to launch throughout the next year and beyond.

Congress.gov works great on all platforms and devices!

Congress.gov works great on all platforms and devices!

Recent Law Library of Congress Report on National Funding of Road Infrastructure

According to a June 2014 report by the United States Congressional Budget Office (CBO), most of the annual spending by the federal government on surface transportation programs is in the form of grants to state and local governments. These grants are primarily financed through the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF). After decades of stable balances to […]

Making Legislative Information Accessible, Discoverable and Usable

The following is a guest post by Noriko Ohtaki, who was a research fellow at the Law Library of Congress.  She previously blogged about Searching for Current Japanese Laws and Regulations. G8 leaders signed the Open Data Charter on June 18, 2013.  Open Data is intended to make information resources accessible, discoverable, and usable electronically to the public, increase […]

Top 10 for the First 6 Months of 2014

This year seems to be flying by.  Our team of bloggers has posted over 100 times to In Custodia Legis so far this year.  Of those 100 posts, two of the top ten most viewed have to do with time.  There is also significant interest in tracing legislation and Congress.gov. Advanced Search, Browse, and Appropriations […]

150th Anniversary of Yo-Semite Valley Land Grant

If Memorial Day marked the beginning of summer when I was young, then summer marked the time when the family would visit our local national parks and monuments such as Bandelier and Carlsbad Caverns.  Indeed, summer marks the time when millions of Americans visit state and national parks, forests and monuments.  June 30 of this […]

Nominations, Accounts, Saved Searches – Congress.gov Continues to Grow

I have been looking forward to this Congress.gov release for several months.  There is now nomination information, accounts, the ability to save searches, an expanded About section, an FAQ section, easy access to Member remarks in the Congressional Record, and more. With the new updates, you can locate nominations dating back to 1981.  The nominations section […]

A Congress.gov Interview with Stephen Schneider, User Experience Team Lead

Today’s interview is with Stephen Schneider, user experience team lead within the Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI) Web Services of the Library of Congress. It continues our series of Congress.gov interviews designed to highlight the people who have contributed to the new system (including Meg, Rich, Barry, Rohit, Andy, and Val).  Describe your background. My background is a mash up of various […]

Five Questions with Pamela Barnes Craig, Retiring Instruction/Reference Librarian for the Law Library of Congress

The following is a guest post from Pamela Barnes Craig, retiring Instruction/Reference Librarian in the Law Library of Congress.   It is cross posted on Teaching with the Library of Congress.   Describe what you do at the Library of Congress and the materials you work with. Pam Craig talks with teachers at the 2013 Summer Teacher […]

An Interview with Rob Sukol, Deputy Law Revision Counsel

This week’s interview is with Rob Sukol, Deputy Law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Rob previously did the guest post titled “The United States Code Online – Downloadable XML Files and More” on In Custodia Legis. Describe your background. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The music scene in Philly grabbed […]