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Legal Research Tips – Goodbye THOMAS. Hello Congress.gov!

Posted by Chi Song on February 2, 2015

THOMAS is retiring! Launched in 1995 by the Library of Congress and named after Thomas Jefferson, one of the United States’s founding fathers, THOMAS is a great online database of federal legislative information. The specific date of THOMAS’s retirement has not yet been set, but expect THOMAS to retire after the 2015 fiscal year.

Introducing Congress.gov! Congress.gov is now the official website for federal legislative information and provides the public with access to both current and historic legislative information including bill summaries, bill status, presidential nominations, treaties, and committee reports. Note that the default search setting for Congress.gov is the current session of Congress. Common search options are available in a drop-down menu next to the main search box at the top of the webpage, and advanced search settings are available through the “Advanced” link to the right of the main search box.  For more search tips, check out https://www.congress.gov/help/search-tips-overview.

Information is generally updated the morning after a session adjourns, and specific update schedules are available at https://www.congress.gov/about/coverage-dates.  Every Monday, the website compiles a list of the top ten most-viewed bills from the previous week. This can be a great resource to quickly find a popular topic or get a sense of what is trending.  Here are some highlights from the site.

If you would like to learn more about Congress.gov or receive assistance in navigating the site, contact us at the Law Library, and we will be more than happy to assist you.

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