Catching Up With Congress.gov

One of the final sessions at this week’s American Association of Law Libraries conference offered participants a guided opportunity to work with the yet-in-beta Congress.gov. As THOMAS “himself” confirmed, the venerable THOMAS.gov — now the ripe age of 18 years — is looking to retire:

As we noted and discussed at the time, the Congress.gov public beta was launched several months ago. It has received several iterative updates since then: inclusion of the Congressional Record, Congressional Budget Office reports, and expanded retrospective coverage. The next update is scheduled for the end of July. Session participants saw a preview of a forthcoming enhancement: standing committee reports:

User feedback, it was emphasized, has been and continues to be key in this ongoing development of the Congress.gov:

The interactive session gave participants an opportunity to actively explore Congress.gov, with the left and right sides of the room engaging each other in friendly competitive legislative research. The presenters from the Law Library of Congress posed three legislative research questions and participants worked with the site to discover the answers, while others played along at home via social media. Discussion, images, and links posted during and about the session give a flavour of the exercise.

It’s a great site to explore, an example of responsive design, and a model for the use of a public beta to develop a public research resource.

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