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James Madison, one author of the Federalist Papers, in the Library of Congress
Sculpture of James Madison, one author of the Federalist Papers, in the Library of Congress (photo by Andrew Weber)

So far, 2015 has been a great year for  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 nearly a million page views over the last two years.  Thanks to a lot of hard work by Kelly Yuzawa, you can now read them on

There are two additional items listed on our Fields Values List.  One is the Member Bioguide Ids, which is a list of all Members in our system and their unique identifier, and the other is Committee Names and Codes.  There are also four new items on our Browse page:

Speaking of Public Laws, you can now quickly access them from the text drop down menu.

Public Law Text
Public Law Text

Robert provides a rundown of all the improvements in this release on the Enhancements page:

Enhancement – Resources:

  • Added the Federalist Papers

Enhancement – Searching:

  • Enhancements to searching
    • now supports the following:
      • Proximity search for phrases
      • Smart quotes in search strings
      • Diacritics in search strings
      • Additional citation patterns and fixes to citation patterns Highlighting within bill actions
      • Improvements to highlighting

Enhancement – Command Line Search:

  • Command Line / Advanced Search
    • Additional fields
      • Added/updated legislative command line fields
      • Added/updated nomination command line fields
      • New count-based command line fields
      • Added/updated fields in the advanced search form
      • Adjusted allBillTitles field to include amendment purpose and description
      • Now supports treatyStatus on command line
    • Type ahead available on sponsor/cosponsor field
    • Now retains user entry in text boxes when the field selection changes

Enhancement – Search Results:

  • Search Results
    • Numbers the search results
    • Added “(private legislation)” in search results

Enhancement – Help & About Pages:

  • Enhancements have been made to the Help/About pages
    • Provided a Field Value List page for Bioguide IDs
    • Provided a Field Value List page for committee IDs

Enhancement – Alerts:

  • Changes have been made to the alert emails based on user feedback
    • The logo now links to the homepage
    • Changed the bill alert email: The sort triggers in tab order
    • Changed the bill alert email: Changed the cosponsors link to go to reverse chronological cosponsor list
    • Changed the member alert email: Bills are sorted by number

Enhancement – Browse:

  • Law Listing Report
  • Recently Added Bill Text Report
  • Bill by Request Report
  • Private Bills Report
  • Enhancements to the existing browse reports

Enhancement – Appropriation Tables:

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

Enhancement – Accessibility:

  • Adjusted system alert messages
  • Tabs are displayed inside the drop-down on mobile devices
  • Suppressed the display of breadcrumbs for a cleaner presentation on mobile devices

Thanks to all of you for providing us with great feedback on  It keeps fueling our efforts to make the site better and better.


  1. Great initiative for a great Library.

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