An exciting new beta website was launched by Congress on Wednesday. The site, Congress.gov, will become a one-stop resource for federal legislative materials. Congress.gov is slated it eventually replace THOMAS.
Currently, the new website contains “legislation from the 107th Congress (2001) to the present, member of Congress profiles from the 93rd Congress (1973) to the present, and selected member profiles from the 80th through the 92nd Congresses (1947 to 1972).” Additional content will be added over the next couple of years.
According to the blog In Custodia Legis: Law Librarians of Congress, the Congressional Record will be added to the website next. The “About” page indicates that Congressional reports, Congressional Record Index, House and Senate Calendars, nominations and treaties are all scheduled to be added to the site.
The interface for Congress.gov is easy to navigate with the main search box at the top of the page. A keyword search will “simultaneously search all content across all available years.” Scrolling down the page allows the researcher to browse current legislative activities, news and information on members of Congress.
There is also a section dedicated to the legislative process. It includes video and audio clips that explain the various steps of how a bill becomes law.
The new beta site is quite an improvement. THOMAS is a great website but can be a bit cumbersome to search. It appears that the plans for Congress.gov will result in an easy to use and comprehensive research tool.