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December 2019 Release Notes

Release Notes
Bill history links to related bill versions and laws, improved social media integration

The govinfo team had a busy fall with three production deployments comprising 56 individually tracked changes since our September release. Two of the fall deployments were interim releases for software updates and the third was a regularly scheduled quarterly deployment that included a major system update to how govinfo content files are delivered to users. Read on for a summary of the changes in these deployments, but first, here are some top searches from the last couple months:

In addition to software updates and improvements to regression testing and virus scanning tools, the following items were deployed since the September release. Please note that certain fixes and enhancements may require content to be re-processed or re-published for the updates to take effect and this will be completed over a period of time.

New Content – Received 40,830 content packages (roughly equivalent to one bound printed document) for submission to the system. Notable content submissions since the last release include the Congressional Pictorial Directory for the 116th Congress, 2019 U.S. Government Manual, and the Unified Agenda. Also see our early October announcement that over 1,500 Digitized Congressional Hearings have been added to the system since the previous October.

Bill History Links to Related Bill Versions and Laws - From applicable Details pages in the Congressional Bills and Public and Private Laws collections, you can now see links to the related bill history. Here are several examples:

Example of related bill history linked to the bill version Details page

Example of related bill history linked to the bill version Details page.

Example of related bill history linked to the law Details page

Example of related bill history linked to the law Details page.

The related documents feature provides users with quick and easy access to related govinfo publications and has expanded to 9 collections and 24 relationships!

House Rules Committee Print XML – Select House Rules Committee Prints are submitted to the system with XML embedded in the PDF files. These XML files are now available for download as another rendition from Details pages, Browse pages, and Search Results. See example.


  • Underwent a surveillance audit on November 18-19 to maintain ISO 16363 certification as a Trustworthy Digital Repository. No minor or major nonconformances were found. Learn more about the audit and certification.
  • Enabled additional notifications to identify potential quality issues earlier as part of our overall focus on data quality throughout the system.
  • Built new functionality to display status of an internal file transfer utility.
  • Enhanced the content management system to retain metadata changes made to Congressional Directory publications when they are reprocessed.
  • Enhanced the system metadata editing tool by adding a field for Congressional Member when issues of the Congressional Record have inserted comments and by adding a field for online resources for Congressional Directory publications.

Buttons for sharing content and pages on Facebook, Twitter, over email, or copying the link

Social Sharing Integration – Replaced the previous tool for sharing pages and content on social media with a streamlined and more user friendly implementation, including the addition of an option to copy the current URL for easier sharing links across the site.

Usability and Accessibility

  • Implemented general accessibility improvements for keyboard navigation and screen readers including skip to main content, back to top, and skip to results links for keyboard navigation users; tabbing order on page elements; outline for focused elements; enter keyboard event opening/closing browse nodes in collections; Alt text on various logos/icons; various HTML markup updates; “Jump to” links to allow keyboard navigation users to better access page content; and general improvements to the search widget.
  • Updated date and date range selection functionality for improved improved usability
  • Improved usability of the functionality used in the Browse by Date and CFR Parts Affected features for selecting dates and date ranges.
  • Improved usability of the A-Z browse page and fixed display of Help links on certain pages on mobile devices.

Minor Fixes and Enhancements

  • Added bill version Engrossed Amendment as Agreed to by Senate (AES) to the search filters when narrowing searches in the bills collection.
  • Improved handling of different Congressional Record issues published on the same day.
  • Fixed linked table of contents items in Code of Federal Regulations XML files. See example of links in CFR XML.
  • Fixed multiple entries of the same member of Congress appearing in search filters when searching in the Congressional Record.
  • Removed display of local file storage locations when opening certain PDF files.
  • Resolved a connection timeout error affecting the Related Documents feature.

Developer Tools

  • Added CongMember fields to the API for several collections. See example.
  • Added Members’ social media links to the Congressional Directory API. We are parsing the Congressional Directory text files to extract links to media accounts. This information is now available in the govinfo API. See example.
  • Added granuleLink to U.S. Courts API. See example.
  • Added USLM rendition to API for collections that have USLM content available. See example.

Content Submission

  • Made several enhancements to the submission process including increased flexibility for submitting metadata associated with certain publications.
  • Implemented backend work to support upcoming content releases.
  • Incorporated multiple changes to allow for submission of interim issues of Privacy Act Issuances.

Feature Articles – Featured 10 articles including finding Federal appropriations, resources for National History Day projects, the publications related to human rights, and more.

About Release Notes - Changes to govinfo components are made through code deployments on a quarterly release cycle. Release Notes are published after each deployment to highlight the changes. This includes updates about content, features, enhancements, bug fixes, and more. Read previous editions of Release Notes