Senators urge THOMAS upgrade

Library of Congress

Senators are urging Library of Congress officials to increase the amount of information available for public access on its Thomas Web site.

A group led by Sens. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) and Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) urged library officials to "upgrade the Thomas Web site in order to make available to the public the...services that are available on the [Legislative Information System] Web site," an internal site used by members of Congress and also operated by library officials.

The senators aired their concerns in a letter sent yesterday to James Billington, the Librarian of Congress.

Citizens do not have access to LIS, and instead must search for legislative information on Thomas.

According to the letter, the LIS site contains several features that Thomas does not, including the ability to search across multiple Congresses, find a bill with a single click, find pending amendments to a bill, request e-mail alerts when action occurs on a bill, and view the previous day's legislative activity.

The legislators urge that those features be included on Thomas, although they also said certain links on LIS should not be made public.

"In our view, the current form of Thomas is insufficient as a portal to the Congress of the United States," reads the letter, which was also signed by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Russell Feingold (D-Wisc.).

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