Over the last several months, we have added a variety of enhancements to Congress.gov. It began with the Communications in October, the Congressional Record Index in December, and the XML Bulk Data via GPO in February. Today’s update focuses on expanding Quick Search on Congress.gov.
When the Quick Search on Congress.gov first launched in December 2015, the initial focus was on legislation. With this release, there is now a Quick Search for:
- Congressional Record,
- Committee Reports,
- Treaty Documents, and
One nice addition across Quick Search is the ability to turn on and off both word variants and case sensitivity.
If you want to run a search on AIDS and do not want results with foreign aid, for example, mixed into the result set, you can uncheck Word Variants and check Case Sensitive before running your search.
There are also a couple of new fields added to what we affectionately refer to as the Accordion of Knowledge (the expandable/collapse-able area currently on the bottom half of the Command Line search: Action Date (actionDateStr:) and Cosponsorship Date (cosponsorDateStr:). A great thing about the Accordion of Knowledge is that for each item in it there is an example that you can cut and paste into the search box.
In addition to some of the more visible changes to Congress.gov, with this release there were approximately 30 new changes based on requests from our congressional data partners.
As part of our ongoing effort towards retiring THOMAS, we have started to redirect selected links from THOMAS to Congress.gov. The image below of the THOMAS homepage shows the links that now go Congress.gov.
Robert once again added a complete run through on the Congress.gov Enhancements page:
New feature – Quick Search for more data collections:
- Congressional Record
- Committee Reports
- Treaty Documents
- Communications to the Senate
New feature – RSS Feeds:
- RSS feeds similar to those in THOMAS have been added:
- Most Viewed Bills
- Search Tips
- House Floor Today
- Senate Floor Today
- Bills Presented to the President
New feature – Word variants and case sensitivity:
- Word variant controls allow you to find ‘parking’ without false hits for ‘parks’
- Case sensitivity controls allow you to find ‘TIGER’ without false hits for ‘tiger’
- Quick search and Command Line support word variants and case sensitivity
Enhancement – Nominations links to hearings:
- Nominations Actions link to hearings
Enhancement – New Command Line Search Fields:
- Find legislation by dates of action with ‘actionDateStr’
- Find cosponsorships by date with ‘cosponsorDateStr’
I encourage you to keep submitting your feedback for Congress.gov. Whether it is a little issue or a new suggestion, we are listening. I recently presented a Congress.gov Deep Dive with Barbara to LLSDC. An attendee pointed out how the default search on Congress.gov started off being All Legislation. She (and a few others) submitted feedback that it change to Current Legislation. This is just one example of where feedback fueled an update to our site.