December 12, 2018

Library of Congress Launches OFFICIAL Congressional Research Service Reports Portal

Long awaited public access to Congressional Research Service reports are now available online.

The new OFFICIAL PORTAL launched today at CRSReports.Congress.gov

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Official/Formal public access can after years of hard work by a number of people and organizations. Kudos to those involved.

Daniel Schuman at Demand Progress (a person and an organization deeply involved in making today’s news a reality provides background in this post from March 22, 2018  when the U.S. House passed the needed legislation.

Another person who deserves a lot of credit for today’s news is Steven Aftergood at the Federation of American Scientists who has worked hard to make official public access a reality.

More about Daniel and Steven in a moment.

Searching the New Portal

Search is about as straight forward as it gets. Enter your keywords and press search.

You can also run an empty/null search and review all items in the database (last in, first out) as seen below.

Limit (if needed) using the facets on the left side of results pages.

Note: A basic/default search is not searching the full text of a report but you can expand to a full text search by selecting the “Include Full Text” box (green arrows). It’s also possible to bulk download search results. All reports are PDF files.

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Not Available via the New Portal

It’s important to note that not every CRS report that could be provides is currently available via the new portal but will CONTINUE to be accessible from the sources listed below.

Schuman tells infoDOCKET:

CRS is publishing only one type of its non-confidential reports and not all of them, as required by law. They’re also only publishing reports issued or updated since the law was enacted, not all the non-confidential reports on their website.

From an Official LC Blog Post by Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden:

Moving forward, all new or updated reports will be added to the website as they are made available to Congress. The Library is also working to make available the back catalog of previously published reports as expeditiously as possible.

More details about this process can be found on the site’s Frequently Asked Questions page.

Read the Complete Blog Post

FAS and EveryCRS Report

As we mentioned a moment ago the work of Steven Aftergood, Daniel Schuman, and others in and around the library and government info community is worthy of a salute. Well done!

It’s also important to note that Aftergood shares news of new CRS reports in his wonderful Secrecy News newsletter/site and has built an archive of past reports on the FAS site.

Aftergood/FAS provides will continue to provides access to materials that the official portal does not offer. For example: CRS Legal Sidebar, CRS Insight, CRS In Focus.

Daniel Schuman and Demand Progress also provide access to new and archived CRS reports available in SEVERAL FORMATS via EveryCRSReport.com, a service that launched about two years ago.

EveryCRS also provides RSS alerts, something that the Congress.gov site does not provide (at least at this time). We also love the fact that EveryCRS provides access to previous versions of reports and provides a hint to the percentage of info that has changes from one version of a report to the next.

It’s infoDOCKET’s hope that both Aftergood/FAS and Schuman/EveryCRS continue to provide their valuable services (and perhaps work with Congress.gov) even as the official portal becomes available.

Direct to CRSReports.Congress.gov.

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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