For the political science nerds and those who love original source documents, this from the GPO:
The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) partners with the Library of Congress (LC) to release the digital version of the bound Congressional Record from 1991-1998 on GPO’s govinfo. This release covers debates of the 102nd thru 105th Congresses. This era of Congress covers historical topics such as:
- The Persian Gulf War
- Bill Clinton’s Presidency
- Enactment of the Family and Medical Leave Act
- Republicans gaining control of both the House and Senate since 1954
You can read the rest of the release here, and access the records here.
Library school was about 8 years ago for me, and one of my classes involved government research. As it happens, that was how I was introduced to Twitter but, more to the point, how I became aware of THOMAS. At the time, THOMAS was a big deal– launched in 1995, it started out as a bleeding edge resource, making Congressional proceedings available for free. Basically, if you were trying to look into anything that Congress did, you went to this website.
Remember, for a moment, what the internet was like in 1995. If you need a refresher, trying viewing some of the internet relics that are out there: Space Jam is a perennial favorite; for something more comparable, check out the Wayback Machine for Yahoo. Compare that to THOMAS, and you were much farther ahead. As with most technology, we’ve reached the end of life for the THOMAS system– its simply not robust enough for modern users or browsers.
Several years ago, the Library of Congress introduced Congress.gov, the successor to THOMAS. Now comes the final word: THOMAS is retiring July 5. (Side note: I have considered and discarded numerous Hamilton related puns. You’re welcome). LOC has a full write up for those interested. In the meantime, if you are looking for any Congressional sessions, resolutions, bills, treaties, or general information make sure you are going to Congress.gov rather than THOMAS.