April 28, 2016 THOMAS.gov to Retire July 5

Data Transition to Congress.gov Complete; Legacy System Can Take a Bow

Press Contact: Gayle Osterberg (202) 707-0020
Contact: Visit the Congress.gov legislative information website.

THOMAS.gov, the online legislative information system, will officially retire July 5, completing the multi-year transition to Congress.gov.

“The Library is well-positioned for the future with Congress.gov,” said Acting Librarian of Congress David S. Mao. “Free access to legislative information that anyone can search for and read is central to an informed democracy. I applaud the visionary leaders who launched THOMAS two decades ago, and I congratulate and thank the many talented individuals at the Library and throughout the legislative branch who have transitioned that resource into the 21st century with Congress.gov. Finally, I invite and encourage everyone to use this resource. It is here for you to learn about, to connect with, to better understand your representative government.”

THOMAS, named for Thomas Jefferson, was a pioneering site when it was launched by the Library in 1995 as a bipartisan initiative of Congress. 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.

The Congress.gov system, initially launched in beta form in September, 2012, applies modern design and infrastructure to the robust legislative data sets, with mobile-friendly access, faceted search and other features.

During the transition, the Library has maintained both sites to ensure a seamless transition and uninterrupted service for users; solicited and applied user feedback to further refine Congress.gov’s features and functionality; and added data sets to the new site. A collaborative effort among the Library of Congress, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and the Government Publishing Office (GPO), Congress.gov now provides searchable access to bill status and summary, bill text, the Congressional Record, Congressional Record Index and committee reports, and executive actions such as nominations, treaties and communications, with historic access reaching back as far as 1973. Additionally, Congress.gov provides contextual information such as member profiles, legislative-process videos, a glossary of terms, committee profile pages, video of committee hearings and direct links from bills to cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. The site includes accessibility tools such as downloadable audio files and tracking tools such as customizable email alerts.

The site had more than 36 million page views in fiscal 2015.

The Library and GPO also have collaborated to ensure bill status and summary information in XML format from 2013 through the present is available through GPO’s bulk data repository on govinfo (govinfo.gov External).

The Library offers free web-based training for new users of Congress.gov. The next session is Thursday, May 19 at 2 p.m. EDT. Training registration, along with frequently asked questions and answers about permalinks and redirects from THOMAS to Congress.gov can be found here: congress.gov/help/faq.

The Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, holds more than 162 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 loc.gov.


PR 16-004
ISSN 0731-3527