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The Congress.gov Top 18 in 2018

Congress.gov celebrated its sixth birthday this year on September 19.  It has come a long way since the initial beta website, which was launched with filters, the status of legislation tracker, legislative process videos, a mobile friendly responsive design, and member pages.  Those were all items that were not available on the former THOMAS website.  Since then we have been able to add popular features such as bill alerts, saved searches, and the ability to download your search results.

This year we have pushed Congress.gov even further.  We started in January with a new Congress.gov search box, search form, and a streamlined header.  In February we increased the number of search results you can download from 500 to 1,000.  There were updates in March and April (Part 1 and Part 2).  Tina provided a nice overview of new ways to search Congress.gov in April.  We spent time working to enhance our saved search email alerts.

The Capitol Building from the Library of Congress / Photo by Andrew Weber

We also had the following updates throughout the year:

September was a particularly busy month: Dr. Hayden announced that Congressional Research Service Reports are now available via crsreports.congress.gov, and Robert blogged about the new experimental Congress.gov Chrome extension.

A huge behind the scenes change occurred over the second half of this year.  The Government Publishing Office (GPO) transitioned its online publication of government information from the FDsys website to govinfo.  A lot of data for Congress.gov comes from GPO, so we needed to switch to getting the data from govinfo when the old site was successfully retired earlier this month.  Congratulations, GPO!

Also during the year, a reference to Congress.gov was spotted at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park by Bill Kellum.  Leah K. Ibraheem shared metrics from mobile devices for the site, and Chalonda NewmanMichelle Wilson, and Leah shared information about their roles in a series of interviews. A terrific team works to make Congress.gov the powerful site that it is.

Top 18 in 2018

To see what items were most viewed in previous years on Congress.gov, take a look back at 13 in 201314 in 201415 in 2015, 16 in 2016, and 17 in 2017.  For the top 18 most-viewed bills in 2018, I have also added the latest step in the tracker for each item below as of the drafting of this post.

  1. H.R.1865 – Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 [Became Law]
  2. H.R.5087 – Assault Weapons Ban of 2018 [Introduced]
  3. H.R.1 – An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to titles II and V of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018. [Became Law]
  4. H.R.38 – Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 [Passed House]
  5. H.R.5428 – Stand with UK against Russia Violations Act [Introduced]
  6. H.R.392 – Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2017 [Introduced]
  7. H.R.5515 – John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 [Became Law]
  8. S.2155 – Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act [Became Law]
  9. H.R.1625 – Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 [Became Law]
  10. H.R.4760 – Securing America’s Future Act of 2018 [Failed House]
  11. S.3036 – Keep Families Together Act [Introduced]
  12. H.R.2810 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 [Became Law]
  13. H.R.1892 – Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 [Became Law]
  14. H.R.5404 – To define the dollar as a fixed weight of gold. [Introduced]
  15. H.R.2 – Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 [Became Law]
  16. H.R.620 – ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 [Passed House]
  17. H.R.5682 – FIRST STEP Act [Passed House]
  18. H.R.6 – SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act [Became Law]

Nine of the eighteen items above became law.

It has been a great year for Congress.gov.  I am excited for what comes next in 2019, including new features like the planned Committee Schedule.

The view looking up inside the rotunda inside the Capitol Building / Photo by Andrew Weber

A Congress.gov Interview with Chalonda Newman, Quality Assurance Lead

Today’s interview is with Chalonda Newman, quality assurance lead for Congress.gov within the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) of the Library of Congress. Describe your background. What is your academic/professional history? I am an information technology specialist with years of experience developing web-based applications for the Library of Congress.  Prior to becoming a software developer, I worked […]

The Congress.gov Top 17 in 2017

This has been a great year for Congress.gov. In 2016 Congress.gov page views jumped more than 20% over 2015.  The jump in 2017 was even bigger, with over 90% more page views than the previous year!  We also saw our first day with more than a million page views.  Our @Congressdotgov Twitter account is closing in on 50,000 […]

The Congress.gov Top 16 in 2016

This has been an exciting year working on Congress.gov.  In April we announced that THOMAS would be retired on July 5, which is when we officially pulled the plug.  Congress.gov matured over the year with new advanced ways to search the system and a variety of email alerts for tracking what is happening in Congress. We […]

Time to Say Goodbye to THOMAS

A version of the following article originally appeared in the July 1, 2016, edition of Library of Congress staff newsletter, The Gazette. THOMAS, which launched with great fanfare on January 5, 1995, twenty-one and a half years ago, is nearing its retirement on July 5, 2016.  Back when it launched, then-Librarian of Congress James H. […]

New Congress.gov Enhancements including Advanced Search

Today Congress.gov continues to be enhanced with the addition of a new Advanced Search Guided Form, a more web-friendly version of the Congressional Record Daily Digest, new and updated browse reports, and more. Since announcing the July 5 retirement of THOMAS, we have added several new RSS feeds and email alerts including saved search email alerts. These […]

New Email Alerts and RSS Feeds on Congress.gov

Last year’s most viewed new post on In Custodia Legis was Legislation Email Alerts on Congress.gov.  The email alerts are an excellent addition to the system that allow you to track a specific piece of legislation, what a Member of Congress is sponsoring and cosponsoring, and when the next issue of the Congressional Record is available. Building on those […]

Time to Turn off THOMAS: July 5, 2016

One of my favorite THOMAS related posts was of the THOMAS Starting Point, which featured the homepage of the site when it launched on January 5, 1995.  It seems only fitting to share the photo from the post while announcing the THOMAS Ending Point of July 5, 2016. I have talked frequently about THOMAS on In Custodia Legis […]

Congress.gov Spring Cleaning: Expanded Quick Search

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, […]