Published on July 5th, 2016 | by Joshua New0
RIP THOMAS. The Best Is Yet To Come.
WASHINGTON—The Center for Data Innovation today congratulated the Library of Congress for retiring the decades-old congressional information portal THOMAS.gov and officially transitioning to the updated Congress.gov website. The Center released the following statement from Director Daniel Castro:
When the Library of Congress launched THOMAS in 1995, it was a significant milestone in the transition to digital government. Over the last 21 years, however, THOMAS has failed to keep pace with recent technological developments, and legislative staff, members of the public, and the private sector have instead relied heavily on tools developed outside of government for access to legislative information. Fortunately, Congress.gov has incorporated many new features to provide access to legislative information, including the text and status of bills, lawmaker votes, and committee meetings, in an open and machine-readable format.
Retiring THOMAS is a welcome step forward for a more modern government, and hopefully reflects a renewed commitment by Congress to fulfill the public’s expectation of a transparent, collaborative, and participatory government. We look forward to working with Congress to continue to make legislative data more accessible and usable, such as by capturing more legislative information in electronic formats and providing public access to Congressional Research Service reports.
For more on the benefits, opportunities, and challenges of open legislative data, see the Center’s recent article, “Open Legislative Data Could Help Solve Some of the Public’s Biggest Frustrations with Congress.”