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Congress.gov: Midway Through 2020

It occurred to me that with today’s release we are now midway through 2020. I thought it would be nice to take a step back and review the enhancements that we have made with Congress.gov so far this year. For our first release in early January, we added the ability to link directly to a section of text in legislation. In a more recent release, we refined this function based on user feedback. In the second January release, we added the bill sponsor to saved search alerts for legislation.

In February, we added an audio function to the legislative text section of a bill page so you can have legislative text read to you (click “Listen to this page” in the text tab). We also added a weekly alert to our Committee Schedule. On the House member pages, we added links to the new House Clerk website member pages that include a member’s committee assignments and the last one hundred votes taken.

In March, member email alerts were updated to include the member’s photograph.  We also truncated committee meeting titles when using the search results compact view to make it easier to scan the results list.  You can still use the Expanded view in search results to see full titles.

We added keyword in context in April, which is displayed by default when searching from the Legislation Text search form.

May saw the addition of a new collection to the site, Committee Prints.  A Spanish language version of the Legislative Process Overview was added. We also updated the default search to be Current Congress (rather than the previous Current Legislation). This allows greater exposure to newer items like Committee Prints and items on the Committee Schedule.

Current Congress drop down with options to pick from All Sources or just Legislation

Later in the month, based on user feedback, we also added a streamlined header for the Congressional Record.

District Map on House Member Profile Page

In June, we continued to update the House member profile pages by adding district maps. We had also been laying the ground work to add the Bound Congressional Record to the site and added the 103rd Congress to this site.

That brings us to July. This month we have now added the Bound Edition of the Congressional Record for the 101st and 102nd Congresses (1989-1992) to the site.  There is a new way to browse the 103rd Congress. We also enhanced our saved search alerts to customize alerts to be sent only when new items match your search. This was also based on user feedback.  Now you can select alerts only on new items or set your alerts for when the status of the legislation in the results set changes.  The description tabs of House amendments now have links to committee reports.

I have been impressed with our team’s ability to continue to build upon the great work the last six months and am looking forward to what we have planned for Congress.gov during the second half of this year. If you are a member of Congress, staff, or a constituent, please continue to use Congress.gov and keep providing feedback. Your help makes the website an even better tool.

The Bound Edition of the Congressional Record for the 103rd Congress is Now Available on Congress.gov

The Congressional Record on Congress.gov provides a detailed account of the debates and proceedings of Congress, and is a helpful source for conducting research on the legislative history of a piece of legislation. Until now, the Congressional Record on Congress.gov has consisted exclusively of the Daily Edition of the Record. There is another version of […]

Congress.gov New, Tip and Top for May of 2020, Part 2

Earlier this month, Andrew shared the exciting news about several significant new features that had been added to Congress.gov including the new Global Search bar, the addition of Committee Prints, and translation of the Overview of Legislative Process video into Spanish. The enhancements for this month’s second release include a redesigned Congressional Record header. We have […]

New Global Search Bar, Committee Prints, and Legislative Process in Spanish on Congress.gov

Last month, Amy Swantner shared information about how Legislation Text search results in Congress.gov have been enhanced with Key Word in Context. For today’s release, several helpful new features have been added to Congress.gov. The global search bar has been updated to default to Current Congress instead of Current Legislation, Committee Prints are available for […]

KWIC Search Results for Legislation Text on Congress.gov

The following is a guest post by Amy Swantner, a specialist in legislative information systems management within the Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the Library of Congress. Imagine the following: you are interested in finding legislation about a specific topic. You carefully choose search terms you think will find those bills most relevant to your needs. […]

Historical Law Library Reports to be Published Online

The Law Library of Congress has digitized and published its first batch of historical legal reports as part of a multi-year effort to archive and share thousands of these reports with researchers and other members of the public. These first 250 digitized reports are now available through the Publications of the Law Library of Congress […]

Congress.gov New, Tip and Top March 2020

Last month we brought you information about new alerts for updated weekly committee schedules and the implementation of Read Speaker for bill text. For our first release this month, we have added the ability to sort bill cosponsors by name or date from the All Info view for a bill.   Enhancements Enhancement – Members […]

Congress.gov New, Tip and Top February 2020

Last month Andrew told us about deep linking in Congress.gov while Robert informed us about sponsorship information in saved searches for legislation. This month we are implementing the ReadSpeaker function for use on the Congress.gov bill text tab. Since July 2015, Congress.gov has offered the ReadSpeaker function for bill summaries but now we are offering […]