New, Notable, and Fun: Recent Finds from GPO and LOC

Government websites can be a boon of (free!) information for legal research. For today’s post, I thought I’d highlight a few news items and a few fun finds from the Library of Congress and the GPO.

New: GPO Director

Earlier this week, the Senate confirmed Hugh Halpern as the new Director of the Government Publishing Office. Halpern has held a variety of positions on Capitol Hill over the past 30 years, including Director of Floor Operations for the Speaker of the House. You can read more about Halpern in the GPO’s press release.

Congress.gov Enhancements

In November, Congress.gov added two new enhancements: First, for Senate amendments to bills, you can now see a list of any withdrawn co-sponsors. Second, in an effort to increase accessibility, Congress.gov has made improvements to their search results to make them easier to read for screen readers. You can see all the latest Congress.gov enhancements here.

Notable: CRS Reports on Congress.gov

We reported on this feature in September 2018, but in case you missed it, you can now access a large collection of Congressional Research Service reports through Congress.gov ( https://crsreports.congress.gov/). My favorite way to access the CRS reports on this site is to hit the search button without entering any search terms. This brings you to the index of CRS reports, so you can see the variety of subjects covered. Did you know the Law Library of Congress also creates research reports for Congress? You can access their reports as well, from the Law Library of Congress website.

Just for Fun: Library of Congress’ Free to Use and Reuse Collection

The Library of Congress has digitized large numbers of items in their collections, and have created a Free to Use and Reuse page, where you can browse these digitizations by category. Some collections, such as Veterans, Presidential Inaugurations, or Women’s History Month, might be more relevant to law libraries; myself, I’m partial to the Dogs collection (don’t worry – there’s a Cats one too). Perhaps the best collection here is the Not an Ostrich collection, named after this photo:

“Not an Ostrich” – https://www.loc.gov/resource/ppmsca.40935/

These are just a few of the new and notable finds from the GPO and the Library of Congress. Do you have your own favorite features? Please share!

Westlaw Edge Now Has Regulations Compare for Select States

According to a tweet earlier this week, Westlaw Edge has added the Regulations Compare feature to select state regulations. Unfortunately, the announcement does not say which states are included. However, after a chat session where I asked which states were included, I received a response that the following states have regulations compare: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. For those unfamiliar with regulations compare or statutes compare, the feature allows users to compare red-lined versions of the regulation showing deletions and insertions. The comparison is done automatically when you select two versions to compare. This saves the user the time that would have been spent comparing the versions manually. Presumably, this feature will be added to all states in the future.

GPO Publishing Changes

The Government Publishing Office announced at the end of September that it is using new software to publish the 2018 United States Code. The GPO is now using XPub, which allows for XML-based publishing. According to the press release, this technology will allow for publishing in print and digital format in a more timely manner. This comes as good news since the GPO has only just begun shipping out titles of the 2018 USC to depository libraries and has been behind on publication of the CFR for 2019 ever since the government shutdown earlier in the year. The plan is to publish all routine publications using this new program. As for the USC, the plan it that the production process will only take about 1 year rather than the normal 1.5 years for past main USC editions.

Library of Congress Launches Website to Search CRS Reports

The Library of Congress (LOC) has launched their new website to search Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports. This website was developed after the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, which directed the LOC to make CRS Reports publicly available online. Before this, researchers would have to look in several different places in order to try and find the reports that are developed for Congress. The initial release of materials will include all R-series “active” reports that have been published since the passage of the Appropriations Act. A full migration of reports is estimated for completion in the Spring of 2019. More information can be found on the site’s FAQ page.

HathiTrust Digitizes Historic California Legislative Materials

As part of a project between HathiTrust, California Office of Legislative Counsel, University of California, Stanford University, and the California State Library, almost 4,000 California Assembly and Senate publications are now available digitally. HathiTrust members will be able to download complete documents, while the library itself allows browsing, single page downloads, and sharing. More information about the collection can be viewed on HathiTrust’s blog.

Thomson Reuters New Law School Landing Page

Just before some of us began classes in August, Thomson Reuters changed their landing page. As opposed to the old lawschool.westlaw.com, you will be redirected to lawschool.tr.com. There were a few teething troubles with this at the beginning, but it seems to be working as of now (although I sometimes still see the old page with some of my saved links). This is part of a branding attempt to make students more aware of the fact that Thomson Reuters owns Westlaw. The new page is more streamlined, with less text. Those who want to access Westlaw need to click on the orange “log in now” button towards the middle of the screen.

Economics and the Periodicals Price Survey of 2018

Flat budgets, price increases, and a reliance on status journals for tenure and promotion keep familiar pressures on the serials marketplace. Sound familiar? Here is a Library Journal blog post about spending on and by some libraries.