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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 THOMAS have migrated to Congress.gov.  There is an About Executive Communications page that provides more detail about the scope of coverage, searching, viewing, and obtaining copies.

Executive Communications available on Congress.gov

Executive Communications available on Congress.gov

I’m very excited about the debut of a new video series, Two-Minute Tips, which includes:

If you know someone who is new to using Congress.gov, please share these new videos.

With this release there are two new items added to our Browse page:

For all the details on the changes, Robert provides a comprehensive update on the Congress.gov Enhancements page:

New feature – Senate Executive Communications:

  • Included in “All Sources” searches
  • Collection landing page supports keyword search of Executive Communications
    • Results sets can be limited by these facets:
      • Congress
      • Communication Type (Petitions or Memorials, Presidential Messages, Executive Communications)
      • Committee
  • Searchable from Advanced Search
  • Senate committee profile pages include Executive Communications referred to them

Enhancements – New Browse Lists:

  • Legislative Subject Terms
  • Popular and Short Titles

Enhancements – User Experience:

  • Sorting options for all collections
  • Results lists feature direct links to ‘All Actions’ for Legislation, Nominations, and Treaty Documents
  • Two Minute tip videos have been added to orient users to
    • Create alerts
    • Use search terms and facets
  • Legislative Action searches (on Advanced Search) are categorized by legislative process stages:
    • Introduction and Referral
    • Committee Consideration
    • Floor Consideration
    • Amendment Actions
    • Roll Call Votes
    • Resolving Differences
    • To President
    • Became Law
    • Veto Consideration
  • Command Line search fields for:
    • Law texts
    • Bill Text Version types
    • House and Senate calendar numbers
  • Nominations
    • Nominations Type facet features checkbox and “select only” options
    • “Date Received from President” added to the results display
    • “Major Actions” are now referred to as “Actions Overview”

Thanks again for all of your feedback on the site.  Please keep submitting it.  You might see your suggestion in an upcoming release!

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 […]

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 […]

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

No, this is not a post about summer temperatures in Washington, D.C.  Rather, this is a post that a number of us have been dreaming about for several years.  For some curious reason, baking and law librarianship seem to be inextricably linked: many law librarians are master bakers, and those that are not are master […]

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 […]