Trending: An App to Answer Your Questions about the Constitution

This is a guest post by Margaret M. Wood, legal reference librarian in the Law Library.

Two years ago, in honor of Constitution Day—celebrated annually on September 17—I wrote a post about the publication “Constitution of the United States: Analysis and Interpretation,” also referred to as the “Constitution Annotated.” Along with the U.S. Code, it is one of my favorite work resources.

Unfortunately, it is a behemoth of a work—it takes two hands to hold the volume, which weighs a good 10 pounds. Fortunately, the text is also available online through Congress.gov and through the U.S. Government Publishing Office, whose digital system includes both the most recent edition (2016) as well as historic editions back to 1992.

But given my penchant for bringing work topics into social situations, even the online version is not very practical. I cannot, very easily, fire up the computer during a conversation at a dinner or cocktail party. However, fortunately for me, there is an app for the “Constitution Annotated.” It debuted in 2013, when Congress.gov was still in beta, and has since been updated.

Using this app, I can just whip out my phone during a casual conversation with friends and provide them with information about our tripartite system of government or search for words and phrases that will help me win my argument. The app allows me to easily access sections of the “Constitution Annotated,” the historical note on the formation of the Constitution and the annotated amendments being particular favorites. It also allows me to search the document for a word or a phrase such as “we the people.” Alternatively, I can search for U.S. Supreme Court decisions governing the freedom of expression guaranteed in the First Amendment, such as New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, or cases on the Fifth Amendment’s “rights of person,” such as Miranda v. Arizona.

My colleague Andrew Weber provided two screen shots of the app below. Now you, too, can wow your friends!

 

A New Website and More: Expanding Our Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

This is a guest post by Karen Keninger, director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). The NLS has a couple years of adventures ahead of it—adventures that sound chiefly technological but are really about meeting our patrons’ needs as reliably, easily and responsibly as possible. Technology is exciting in […]

Technology at the Library: Getting the Whole Picture

(The following is from the November/December 2016 Library of Congress Magazine, LCM, and was written by Phil Michel, digital project coordinator in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division.) A new, oversize scanner is putting the Library’s collection of panoramic photographs in focus. One of the great joys in looking at a panoramic photograph is finding small […]

New Online: Website Updates, Education Resources & New Collections

(The following is a guest post by William Kellum, manager in the Library’s Web Services Division.)  Website Updates The Library’s new home page was released released last week, and you can read all about it in this excellent Library of Congress blog post. The Library’s Web Services team took advantage of the home page project […]

Technology at the Library: Display By Design

(The following is an article in the September/October 2016 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM. The article was written by Fenella France, chief of the Library’s Preservation, Research and Testing Division.) Technological advancements have made it possible for the Library to put several rare maps on long-term display. Preserving and making the Library’s […]

Making of the Modern Map

(The following is a feature story in the September/October 2016 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM. The story is written by Ralph Ehrenburg, chief of the Library’s Geography and Map Division. You can read the issue in its entirety here.) Advances in technology continue to transform the ancient art and science of mapmaking. […]

Headlines from America’s Earliest Days

Want to read how an 18th-century newspaper covered the inauguration of George Washington? How about learning what issues divided Congress in the early 1800s? Going back into early American history is now possible due to new digital content that has been added to Chronicling America, the open access database of historic U.S. newspapers that is […]

Pic of the Week: Final Projects

On Wednesday, the Library of Congress Junior Fellows Summer Interns presented more than 100 rare and unique items from 17 Library divisions. The display provided the opportunity for fellows to discuss the historic significance of the collection items they have researched and processed during their 10-week internships. Some highlights included: an Olmec ceramic figurine (900-1200 […]