Press contact: John Sayers (202) 707-9216
November 8, 2013
Congress.gov Beta Legislative Site Readies for its Starring Role
THOMAS.gov Will Redirect to Congress.gov Beginning Nov. 19
The free legislative information website, Congress.gov, is transitioning into its permanent role as the official site for federal legislative information from the U.S. Congress and related agencies.The site, which launched in beta form last fall and features platform mobility, comprehensive information retrieval and user-friendly presentation, is replacing the nearly 20-year-old THOMAS.gov.
Beginning Nov. 19, typing Thomas.gov into a web browser will automatically redirect to Congress.gov. @Thomasdotgov Twitter followers will be transferred to the @Congressdotgov account. THOMAS.gov will remain accessible from the Congress.gov homepage through late 2014 before it is retired.
When the Library of Congress, in collaboration with the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives and the Government Printing Office (GPO) released Congress.gov as a beta site in the fall of 2012, it included bill status and summary, member profiles and bill text from the two most recent congresses at that time – the 111th and 112th.
In the year since, Congress.gov has expanded with the additions of the Congressional Record, committee reports, direct links from bills to cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, legislative process videos, committee profile pages and historic access reaching back to the 103rd Congress. Users have been invited to provide feedback on the site’s functionality, and many of those suggestions have been incorporated along with the data updates.
Additional content will be incorporated throughout 2014 - including nominations, treaties and communications - before THOMAS.gov is formally retired.
THOMAS, named for Thomas Jefferson, was launched by the Library in 1995 as a bipartisan initiative of Congress. It averages 10 million visits each year. The system has been updated over the years, but its foundation can no longer support the capabilities that today’s Internet users have come to expect, including access on mobile devices. Using best practices for retrieving and displaying information, the refined, user-friendly Congress.gov system makes finding and using legislative information more intuitive, comprehensive and accessible than the existing system.
To help ease the transition for users from THOMAS.gov to the new site, the Library has offered a variety of trainings and demonstrations – both online and in person – for various federal agencies, congressional staff, educational groups and the public. The Law Library of Congress and the Library’s Education Outreach division have conducted sessions for law libraries and high school social studies teachers.
Congress.gov online trainings are ongoing, with trainings currently scheduled for Nov. 14, Jan. 16, March 11 and May 15. To register, go to beta.congress.gov/help. For more information about the transition, please visit beta.congress.gov/about.
The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 155 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov.
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