After announcing legislation, Members of Congress, and the Congressional Record email alerts last year, I began to see requests for saved search email alerts. This is a feature that was not available on THOMAS that we are excited to now offer on Congress.gov.
How do you get the new Saved Search Alerts?
- Do you have a Congress.gov account? If not, create an account.
- Do you have any Saved Searches? If so, click “Get alerts” next to the title and when the results set changes, you will get an email.
That is a quick way to get Saved Search Alerts if you already have Saved Searches. I have tested alerts and have some suggested steps to share if you are starting without Saved Searches.
- To save time, first, make sure you are signed in (top right of the site).
- Set up a relatively well defined search. I find it helpful to have a smaller results set. This helps make it easier to see what changed since the last time you ran the search. The facets are great to narrow to a manageable results set.
- To get started, let’s create a Saved Search Alert for when proposed legislation becomes a law. Do a blank search of Current Legislation and select “Became Law.” When I ran this, there were 156 items in the results list.
- Select “Save this Search” from the upper left.
- In the pop up add a Title and Description. Click Save.
- Then click “Get alerts” after it has been saved.
This Saved Search Alert leverages the legislation search.
The Saved Search Alerts also work well for the Congressional Record. You can set up an alert to let you know when a specific word or phrase is mentioned in the Congressional Record. For example, I helped George set up a Saved Search Alert for mentions of Egypt in the Congressional Record. My personal favorite is one I set one up to send me an email any time “Library of Congress” is mentioned (which you can replace with a name or phrase of your choice).
A big tip is to make sure you set the Sort to Newest to Oldest. That way when you get the email alert and click the link, you can see what is new at the top of the list. When you do a normal search on Congress.gov, the default is Relevancy. I try to avoid saving a search sorted by Relevancy because it is much harder to determine what is new to the list when you receive the email than Newest to Oldest.