If you’ve ever searched for information at the Congress website, you’ve used The Library of Congress’ venerable THOMAS system, which has been around since 1995. (That’s THOMAS, as in, Thomas Jefferson.) Search now at Congress.gov, and you’ll be using an entirely new search engine that is designed to provide an improved search experience. The search engine, which is still in Beta, was developed with open source code.
The major change is the single search field. Like Bing
, or just about any modern search engine, Congress.gov now lets you simply type your search term into the box. The search engine searches all sources of data at once, meaning you spend less time searching – assuming it’s as accurate as the government would like. It also has filters to help you weed out irrelevant search results. The site is also designed to be mobile-friendly.
Another new feature lets Bing, Google, and other search engines scour the Library of Congress info, which means that you don’t even need to use the Congress.gov search engine if you don’t want to – pages from the site can now show up in search results from your favorite search engine. Also, links are now permanent and shareable. The Beta
is up now and the site designers are soliciting feedback.