(The following is a guest post from the Library’s Director of Communications, Gayle Osterberg.)
In its first three weeks of life (still a newborn!) Congress.gov has attracted almost 45,000 visitors and is approaching a quarter million page views, as people find time to explore the new site and some of its features.
It has been terrific to see the positive response on the ease of navigation, clean layout, permanent urls and general wealth of information the site offers. Here is one of my favorites, which I can’t help but share because the Library team working on this resource is outstanding and I love when they get props: “This may be the best website redesign in the history of the world. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” A big smile, for sure.
Also coming in are lots of other comments about things users like about THOMAS and want to see incorporated into Congress.gov. The team is reading all of them.
At the time of launch, we promised additional data like the Congressional Record, past congresses and other features will be added over time – about once each quarter. Those updates are in the works. But today, the team has gone ahead with a few modest updates, several of which address some of the early suggestions we’ve received, including:
- Filters have been added that intercept and recognize variants to bill citations and normalize results. For example, search results will be the same whether a user inputs hjres1, H.J. Res 1, hj1 or some other variation.
- Appropriations legislation now links back to the separate appropriations listing on the THOMAS.gov site. Several comments pointed out the THOMAS site maintains detailed history for current and prior years that is useful.
- A status of amendment facet has been added to the amendment tabs on the legislative and amendment detail pages so you can easily track the outcomes on a particular amendment.
Two other features have been added to help with overall education about the legislative process and about the site itself. Transcripts for all legislative process videos now include links to glossary terms. And a chronology has been added to the “About” section that will itemize new and recently added or updated features, so you can check back to see what’s new.
Finally, the point of Congress.gov is to make legislative information accessible, and the goal of this beta period is to get feedback from all kinds of users so it develops into the best site possible. To help spread the word, we posted a new promotional video today on our YouTube channel about the site (see if you recognize the voice of the narrator!). We hope you’ll share the link and encourage colleagues, educators, journalists, students, and anyone interested in following the legislative process to use it.
For more information: