Congressional Information from the Insider's Point of View: Part 2

by Michelle Vallance 3. June 2013 11:45

The Arizona Association of Law Libraries recently presented a full day program on Congressional Information that featured distinguished speakers from the Department of Justice, the Federal Reserve Board, the Sunlight Foundation, GovTrack.us as well as the Arizona State Library and the ASU Law Library.  This blog will cover two of the speaker presentations: Congressional bill tracking with GovTrack.us and the Sunlight Foundation. Part 1 featured the Federal Legislative Process and Finding and Compiling a Congressional Legislative History.

Joshua Tauberer, creator of Govtrack.us, engaged the audience with his provocative presentation titled Overview of Congressional Information Policy and the Internet.  Mr. Tauberer is an advocate of open government and particularly of open government data. His website Govtrack.us, a legislative reference and bill tracking site, is actually built upon data provided by the U.S. government in similar Congressional websites like FDsys and THOMAS. Govtrack.us has many advanced search capabilities in addition to some unique features like an automatic redlining feature when comparing bill versions and the ability to create a statistical probability chart of a particular bill getting passed in Congress. His presentation materials can be found starting at page 9 of the conference materials.

Eric Mill, who works on tech policy and software at the Sunlight Foundation, led a compelling presentation titled Tracking Government Information Online. One of many of Mr. Mill’s impressive software creations is the search engine and alert system for government information called Scout. Mr. Mill is in the same “camp” of open government advocates as Joshua Tauberer (above) and the two have collaborated on numerous projects. Other search engines created/recommended by Mr. Mill to try: federalregister.gov, govpulse.us and data.gov. Mr. Mill’s materials can be found starting on page 128 of the conference materials.

Need help with a legislative history project? Ask a Librarian!


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