Library of Congress to host virtual meeting on its legislative information services

On Thursday, September 10th, the Library of Congress will host its first-ever virtual forum on the Library’s legislative information services at 10 a.m. ET. (Follow the link to RSVP).

The forum was requested by Congress, which directed the Library to listen to users who “have suggestions regarding ways in which those services could be improved or expanded” and then report back on the Library’s evaluation of those recommendations. Notably, the directive concerns the Library’s legislative information services — plural — which are much more than and also encompass things the Library is not but could be doing.

In anticipation of the proceedings, which will include presentations as well as opportunities for Library staff and others to respond to questions, a coalition of groups and individuals interested in improving and expanding the Library’s legislative information services put together this report, which contains 29 recommendations broken up over five categories.

The recommendations encourage the Library to:

1. Publish Information as Data. For example:

  • Publish Congressional Research Service reports as HTML
  • Make an API for publicly available
  • Make the text of amendments promptly and readily available

2. Put the Legislative Process in Context. For example:

  •’s excellent calendar should integrate upcoming floor proceedings
  • The Library should provide links to meeting transcripts
  • Information published on the Library of Congress website should be more timely
  • Link directly to CRS reports in reference to legislation
  • Integrate historical information about members, committees, leadership, and offices into legislative data
  • Expand implementation of human centered design principles
  • Reimagine topical information products

3. Integrate Information from Multiple Sources. For example:

  • Ensure hearing videos are consistently available on
  • Integrate all federal laws into
  • Link to all previous iterations of a bill
  • Identify and incorporate datasets generated and held outside the Legislative branch
  • Build a dashboard indicating what information is not yet available on
  • Allow users to search by topic across multiple Library of Congress silos

4. Publish Archival Information. For example:

  • The Library should review and publish CRS reports in the CRSX archive
  • The Library should make video archives of Congressional committee proceedings available
  • The Library should make historic bill text available online
  • The Library should work with GPO to collect, publish, and preserve Congressionally mandated Executive branch agency reports

5. Collaborate with the Public. For example:

  • The Library should formally embrace and announce a presumption of public access to legislative information with express limited exceptions for legitimately confidential material
  • The Library should meet quarterly with interested parties
  • The Library should deepen and expand its relationship with the legislative data community
  • The Library should expand its crowdsourcing efforts
  • The Library should explain how it drafts bill summaries
  • The Library should include a summary of public input
  • The Library should strengthen its collaboration with FDLP Libraries
  • The Library should create a dashboard for data concerning Library of Congress web properties
  • The Library should consider having a Wikipedian in Residence

We are glad to see the Library is holding this forum despite the COVID-19 pandemic, even if the timing may be inconvenient for folks on the West Coast and those of us whose children are returning to school this week. The window for holding the proceedings was from last October until September 30, so they are making it just under the wire.

We hope this is the first of many opportunities where the Library of Congress will meet with users of its website, users of its data, and those who wish to see improvements to how the Library provides legislative information services to the public, Congressional stakeholders, legislative experts, businesses, the press, and the world at large.