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Century of Lawmaking–New Look, New Location

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Many of our readers may be familiar with A Century of Lawmaking For a New Nation. That salmon/orange color has become synonymous with early congressional research since the website debuted online on March 16, 1998. In the last 25 years, this website has been used millions of times for the study of the history of the U.S. Congress, from 1774-1873.

The legacy Century of Lawmking homepage with the navigation/organization laid out visually to be replicated and updated to a newer format on the new display.
Screenshot of the former homepage of A Century of Lawmaking For a New Nation.

Due for technical improvements, the Century of Lawmaking current platform is untenable and cannot be upgraded. In response, we have migrated the Century of Lawmaking collections to new standards and to work with a more modern format. This migration has given us the opportunity to assess the collections and review where they would be most useful. For example, certain early legislative collections are headed to The Bills and Resolutions collection is there already! The Annals of Congress will be added this spring and the Congressional Record is anticipated to be complete by late 2023. Other collections within Journals of Congress and Debates of Congress will join at a future date.

For the Law Library of Congress digital collections, the Journals of the Continental Congress, Elliot’s Debates, Farrand’s Records, and Maclay’s Journal are all now available on our new platform. Also available are some collections that were in the special presentations, including The Making of the U.S. Constitution (an excerpt from Annals of Congress), a Timeline of American History as Seen in Congressional Documents, Indian Land Cessions, and the Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America. The Statutes at Large collection was previously migrated and will remain a collection, even as expands its collection to include the historical laws.

We are still working on collections within the Century of Lawmaking. The American State Papers is a collection currently in process with our Remote Metadata Program, as we are adding metadata to individual entries within this collection for better searching and accessibility. This collection is anticipated to be added in late 2023. The Letters of Delegates to Congress will need to be rescanned and may take some time. And the U.S. Serial Set is an ongoing project.

For the new display, we have retained as much of the familiar navigation as possible, using images from the old website to help orient to the new. You can find that familiar salmon/orange color on the About this Collection page. We have continued the same organization and included snapshots of the former navigation on the Articles and Essays page. On each of the collection pages, we have included the historical and bibliographic information from the previous website and included links to the collections, regardless of their destination, so that you will continue to have one landing place for all of your early U.S. Congress needs. And with the new platform, we will be able to include full text searching, metadata, catalog integration, and accessibility features to continue offering the Century of Lawmaking as collections with the same “unprecedented easy access” as in 1998.

A screenshot of the retained navaigation in the new website under the heading "Articles and Essays"
Screenshot of new homepage of A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation.

The legacy Century of Lawmaking website is not yet ready to be removed. There is still a bit of work to complete the remaining collections, so we will have both the old and new websites available for a while to allow for a transition time. And in the future if you still miss that lovely salmon/orange color, you will forever be able to visit it through the captured website as a web archives collection.

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