Thursday, October 3, 2013

THOMAS.gov Transitioning To Congress.gov For Legislative Information

It's difficult to write about government websites in the wake of the shutdown, but I was able to use a Google cache workaround to access the Library of Congress's website for information about the retirement of THOMAS.gov. As an FYI, if you Google a website and it is shutdown, instead of clicking on the link to the website, click on the down arrow next to the link and click on 'cache' to access most of the information.

"THOMAS was launched in January of 1995, at the inception of the 104th Congress. The leadership of the 104th Congress directed the Library of Congress to make federal legislative information freely available to the public. Since that time THOMAS has expanded the scope of its offerings to" include bills, resolutions, congressional record, committee information, and treaties, among other things.

THOMAS.gov will soon be retired and replaced by Congress.gov.

From the Library of Congress (who maintained THOMAS):
"We are hard at work preparing for the day that THOMAS will be retired and Congress.gov will be the system for everyone. We are really proud of Congress.gov.  So proud that starting in November, when someone types in the URL THOMAS.gov they will be redirected to Congress.gov.  THOMAS.gov will remain accessible from the Congress.gov homepage through late 2014."

"The beta version of Congress.gov contains legislation from the 103rd Congress (1993) to the present, member profiles from the 93rd Congress (1973) to the present, and some member profiles from the 80th through the 92nd Congresses (1947 to 1972). Congress.gov is in an initial beta phase with plans to transform the Library of Congress's existing congressional information system into a modern, durable and user-friendly resource. Eventually, it will incorporate all of the information available on THOMAS.gov. (For a comparison of the scopes of legislative information on THOMAS.gov versus that of the beta site, see Coverage Dates for Legislative Information.) Since its release in 1995, THOMAS.gov has undergone multiple updates. In its present form, the foundation of the system can no longer support the technological expectations of today's users. The goal of Congress.gov is to provide a user- friendly site with a strong technical infrastructure."

If you are unfamiliar with the new system or want to learn more, Congress.gov online trainings are available Oct. 17 and Nov. 14. There is a form to complete at the Library of Congress's website, but it is currently shutdown...

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