On September 2, 2021, the Library of Congress, in collaboration with our data partners, held a Congress.gov Virtual Public Forum to provide updates on the enhancements made to Congress.gov over the past year and provide a forum to learn more about how we can better serve your legislative information needs.
The Library’s Digital Strategy Director Kate Zwaard served as moderator. Chief Information Officer Bud Barton kicked things off by providing a welcome and highlighted the importance of access to legislative information for the process of self governance. Congress.gov Product Owner Andrew Weber provided an overview of the Congress.gov enhancements from the past year, followed by a question and answer period.
After Andrew’s presentation, I provided information on the addition of historical content to the site in the form of the Bound Congressional Record and the United States Statutes at Large. The Library’s Chief of Design Natalie Buda Smith and Fred Simonton, the senior user experience designer, then discussed recent accessibility improvements that have been made to Congress.gov. Web Archiving Lead Abbie Grotke discussed the process of nominating and archiving legislative branch websites and providing access to those archived sites from Congress.gov. After this, Margaret Wood, a senior legal reference librarian in the Law Library, highlighted plans to migrate the Library’s Century of Lawmaking site, which had commenced in July with the migration of over 30,000 historical bills and resolutions, dating from 1799-1873, to Congress.gov.
Jay Sweany, the chief of the Law Library’s Digital Resources Division, and Suzanne Ebanues, a supervisory management analyst at the Government Publishing Office (GPO), discussed the Law Library’s collaboration with the Government Publishing Office to digitize, catalog, and provide metadata for 16,000 volumes of the United States Serial Set and make them accessible through the Library of Congress website, Congress.gov, and GovInfo.
Jay also revealed the first release of this project will be available through the Library of Congress website on September 28th, and we will highlight this release on In Custodia Legis. Lisa LaPlant, a GPO program manager, covered how GPO will provide access to the Serial Set through their GovInfo site. Lisa also discussed their work with XPub, an XML based composition system, and USLM, the U.S. Legislative Markup XML schema.
Finally, Congress.gov Subject Matter Expert Kimberly Ferguson highlighted the Congress.gov Legislative Process Videos and Glossary as a tool for learning about the legislative process and provided a guided tour of the Congress.gov’s new searchable Help Center.
After the presentations, we held an hour-long listening session to hear your feedback about how we can continue to improve Congress.gov. Library of Congress Director of IT Design and Development Jim Karamanis closed out the Forum by emphasizing how vital your feedback is to the development of Congress.gov and thanked Chief Information Officer Bud Barton, who was retiring the week after the Forum was held, for his dedication and years of service to the Library. If you did not get a chance to attend the Public Forum, you can submit your feedback here.
You can watch a recording of the Public Forum here: