published by the Congressional Research Service created by research specialists at CRS created for members of Congress on topics relevant to current legislation intended to provide objective research
public policy arm of the Library of Congress formed in 1914 six interdisciplinary research divisions American Law Domestic Social Policy Foreign Affairs Defense and Trade Government and Finance Information Research Resources, Science and Industry yearly output: almost 1,000 new documents about 4,000 revised documents several different products short reports long reports issue briefs info packs and others
only Congress can search the CRS website public access options: request reports from their member of Congress must know of a specific report's existence cannot request reports based merely on a topic can purchase from several third-party vendors OR….
use one of the freely-provided CRS archives online (see list and URLs in handout)
Legislation requesting publicly accessible website for CRS reports was introduced into Congress multiple times. The effort to put reports online began in 1991. Here is a brief summary of some of the CRS-related legislations introduced into Congress. This legislation has never passed both the House and the Senate. 2007, May 24: H.R. 2545: The Congressional Research Accessibility Act official title: "To make available on the Internet, for purposes of access and retrieval by the public, certain information available through the Congressional Research Service web site." reports made public within 30 - 40 days of internal publication status: referred to the House Committee on House Administration
UNT is one of several institutions that archive CRS reports for free public access. Some collections concentrate on specific subject areas. However, UNT’s archive encompasses a wide variety of subjects. Our archive currently holds over 10,000 CRS reports.
Our collection is browse-able by topic. We are about to add a number of new topics, such as Climate Change and War on Terror. The new topics should be up in a week or so. We provide full-text searching of every report, or you can limit your search to the metadata, title, etc.
We are also adding abstracts into the new and existing records—this will make them easier to search, as well as help users find appropriate reports without opening every PDF. We should have all the old records updated with abstracts by spring 2009.
In addition to adding new subjects and adding abstracts to the records, we are adding geographic information (COVERAGE: PLACE) to our records, and should also have this completed by spring 2009. We will be launching a new browse page to browse reports by country or province. The interface will be an image map of the world, and will operate similarly to this image map of Texas, which we use in our Portal to Texas History. When you mouse-over a county, you can view the county’s name, and clicking on it will take you to every object in the digital collections pertaining to that county. This will make CRS foreign relations reports much easier to find.
Basic Workflow Identify and capture reports various RSS feeds, blogs network with other CRS collections emailed copies of reports Create metadata Subject classification -- LIV, CRS’s Legislative Indexing Vocabulary OCR the PDF file OCR: Optical Character Recognition software enables full-text search capability Upload to archive
If there is a specific report you’d like to obtain, you can contact your member of Congress about obtaining a copy. You can also write to them requesting their support for legislation like HR 2454 that supports public access for these reports.
Many Political Action Committees recommend you write a three-paragraph letter.
I’ve included the proper forms of address for your Senator and your member of Congress in the handouts.
(I’ve included the proper forms of address for your Senator and your member of Congress in the handouts.)
Encouraging an Informed Citizenry (Part 2)
ENCOURAGING AN INFORMEDCITIZENRY II:MORE INFORMATION ON LOCATING AND USING CRS REPORTS 10.22.2008 | Federal Depository Library Program Fall Conference Starr Hoffman Librarian for Digital Collections | University of North Texas Libraries
Current Public Access OpenCRS CRS Report Archive at University of North Texas Thurgood Marshall Law Library Federation of American Scientists National Library for the Environment U.S. State Department Franklin Pierce Law School
CRS Reports Archive at UNT http://digital.library.unt.edu/govdocs/crs/
New Features New browse subjects Climate change Cold War Gay rights Global warming Internet Media Terrorism Torture War on terror Weapons of mass destruction http://digital.library.unt.edu/govdocs/crs/
New Features Abstracts http://digital.library.unt.edu/govdocs/crs/
New Features Geographic Browse http://digital.library.unt.edu/govdocs/crs/
Workflow Identify & capture reports Create metadata Subject classification OCR the PDF file Upload
UNT CRS Access Data single-day record: 2,438 visits (07/05/2007) avg. visits per month: 20,887
UNT CRS Access DataPopular reports… RL33153 China Naval Modernization: Implications for US Naval Capabilities IB97056 Products Liability Illegal Overview IP0281 Grace Commission http://digital.library.unt.edu/govdocs/crs/
Obtaining a CRS ReportWrite Your Member of Congress find your Representative: http://www.house.gov/writerep/ find your Senator: http://www.senate.gov/
Writing Your Member of Congressthree-paragraph letter: 1. purpose of letter 2. report’s importance title & CRS report number 1. request & address
Writing Your Member of Congress addressing your Senator The Honorable (full name) (Room #) (Name) Senate Office Building United States Senate Washington, DC 20510 open the letter with, "Dear Senator:"
Writing Your Member of Congress addressing your member of Congress The Honorable (full name) (Room #) (Name) House Office Building United States House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 open the letter with, "Dear Representative:”
Writing Your Member of Congress addressing the Chairperson of a Committee: Dear Mr. Chairman Dear Madam Chairwoman addressing the Speaker of the House: Dear Mr. Speaker Dear Madam Speaker
…Questions? Contact: Starr Hoffman Librarian for Digital Collections Government Documents Department University of North Texas Libraries Starr.Hoffman@unt.edu 940.565.4150 http://geekyartistlibrarian.blogspot.com twitter: geekyartistlibraria