Advertisement moves out of beta, adds new features

As of September 26, dropped the beta above the logo and introduced some new features. Source: Library of Congress As of September 26, dropped the beta above the logo and introduced some new features.
Source: Library of Congress

After more than two years, is finally moving out of its beta stage.

2014_10_Screen-Shot-2014-10-02-at-1.00.15-PM The website now streams and archives all House hearings on
(Credit: Library of Congress)

The official website — the federal clearinghouse for all things legislation — came on board with a few new features, including a resources section and a section consisting of live streams of committee hearings out of the House of Representatives. In addition to providing the live streams, the new website also includes an archive of hearings from January 2012 to the present.

In a blog post announcing the full launch, Andrew Weber, the legislative information systems manager at the Library of Congress, said despite the two year beta stage, the website launched out of beta faster than other common web initiatives.

“Today, I’m happy to announce we officially removed the beta label,” Weber said in the blog post. “That’s roughly three years quicker than Gmail took to remove its beta label, but we won’t give you the option of putting it back on.”

The new version of the site also includes an advanced search capability with 30 new fields that allow a user to search through nominations, the congressional record as a whole or by the name of any member of Congress. Earlier this year, the website expanded its search function to include 22 legislative data fields and introduced a browsing feature that was updated in the launch away from beta.


The browsing section of the site also includes a new calendar view identifying when Congress is or isn’t in session, and users can also browse by sponsor or co-sponsor and see the results of roll call votes.

From its 2012 launch, was in its beta stage until late last week when the standard version of the site went live.  Source: Library of Congress From its 2012 launch, was in its beta stage until late last week when the standard version of the site went live.
(Credit: Library of Congress)

The Library of Congress launched in collaboration with the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and the Government Printing Office. The beta version of the site went online in September 2012 when the Library of Congress announced it would eventually replace, which had been the location of all online legislative documents since 1995. About a year ago, officially began redirecting to, even while the site was still in its beta infancy.

According to a statement from the Library of Congress in 2013, the infrastructure could not handle the capabilities that the next generation of the site, which would expand its use across different platforms, would require.


Treaties, House and Senate executive communications and an index of the congressional record will all be added in the next year, according to a release.

“Just because the beta label has been removed doesn’t mean we will not still be hard at work updating the website,” Weber said. “We have a plan for new features and enhancements to launch throughout the next year and beyond.”

The site is mobile friendly; however, the Library of Congress also hosts an app that provides the daily congressional record to iOS users. When the app was launched in January 2012, it pulled from the database.

In the blog post, Weber said the 2014 updates and the features that came alongside the launch were based on feedback from users.

“We really value the feedback that we receive about,” Weber said. “Whether it is a comment on this blog via the feedback form, or a tweet, we read them all.”


Jim Karamanis, chief of web services at the Library of Congress, said in an email statement to FedScoop that most of the user feedback has been positive.

“This project has reached this milestone as the result of an extraordinary amount of teamwork from throughout the Library and our collaborators in Congress and the Government Printing Office,” Karamanis said. “We have been very gratified by the volume of feedback. Most has been positive, and we will continue to improve and update based on suggestions we receive from users.”

Jake Williams

Written by Jake Williams

Jake Williams is a Staff Reporter for FedScoop and StateScoop. At StateScoop, he covers the information technology issues and events at state and local governments across the nation. In the past, he has covered the United States Postal Service, the White House, Congress, cabinet-level departments and emerging technologies in the unmanned aircraft systems field for FedScoop. Before FedScoop, Jake was a contributing writer for Campaigns & Elections magazine. He has had work published in the Huffington Post and several regional newspapers and websites in Pennsylvania. A northeastern Pennsylvania native, Jake graduated magna cum laude from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, or IUP, in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in political science. At IUP, Jake was the editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, The Penn, and the president of the university chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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