In celebration of its 15th anniversary, the Library’s public legislative information system known as THOMAS has been updated for the second session of the 111th Congress. New items include a bookmarking and sharing toolbar, a “Top Five” bills of the week feature, a new RSS feed, links to contact information for members of Congress, a tip of the week, enhanced visibility of the PDF versions of bills and an increased time-out interval.
The THOMAS system’s enhanced toolbar allows users to bookmark and share information via email or social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter. The toolbar also includes quick links for subscribing to THOMAS RSS feeds or email updates, which now include notification of new bills presented to the president for signature.
The new “Top Five” feature on the THOMAS homepage lists the five most-searched bills from the past week. Positioning the mouse over the bill number results in the display of the bill’s title.
The THOMAS homepage also includes a link to a page of tips about contacting members of Congress. Each week, a new tip about using THOMAS will be displayed on the right-hand side of the THOMAS homepage.
In response to user feedback, links to the PDF versions of bills are more visible and accessible. Clicking on a PDF link will bring you to the Government Printing Office’s PDF version of a bill.
Search results within THOMAS are displayed on temporary pages. To assist users, the timeout interval has been increased from 5 minutes to 20 minutes.
THOMAS was launched on Jan. 5, 1995, in response to the bipartisan leadership of the 104th Congress, who directed the Library of Congress to make federal legislative information freely available to the public. Named for the third president, the system represents Thomas Jefferson’s ideals of an informed electorate. THOMAS is publicly accessible at thomas.loc.gov.