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December 2020 Release Notes

Release Notes
Embeddable search box; Bill Status XML Bulk Data for 108th through 112th Congresses; GPO’s new system for XML-based publishing produces document on govinfo

The govinfo team was hard at work preparing for the last production deployment of the calendar year which included 63 individually tracked changes. We say goodbye to 2020 by featuring a new search box for web managers to add to their websites, enhancements to search and display, various internal component improvements, and new access to historical content. This article highlights some of these changes along with new content and feature articles published since the last Release Notes in September.

New Content : More than 21,528 content packages (a package is roughly equivalent to one bound printed document) have been made available since the beginning of October. Notable submissions include the Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Barack Obama (2014, Book II), opinions from the U.S. District Court of the District of Oregon, the United States Government Manual, and the Report of the Secretary of the Senate: April 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020 - Part I and Part II.

XPub and Modernization of Congress report : GPO’s new, state-of-the art digital system for XML-based publishing produced the publication, The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress Final Report, under a tight deadline and features include a modern, user-friendly layout. XPub is the new method of publishing at GPO, and production of this publication is one more step toward a bright future.

Feature Articles : Nine articles were featured including a piece showcasing The U.S. Electoral College, commemorations for Veterans Day and National History Day, as well as an article about Presidential Inaugural Addresses and how to find them in govinfo.

Embed govinfo Search Box on Your Website: Since govinfo debuted as a beta website in early 2016, users have asked when they will be able to access a search box that can be placed on their own websites. Tools like embedded search widgets better assist in helping audiences reach the Government information they need. With feedback from our user community, we made the new widget available. Web managers are now able to add code to their websites to perform basic searches on govinfo.

Screenshot of the search box for placement on other websites.

Access to Bill Status XML Bulk Data for 108th through 112th Congresses: In early 2016, we first made Bill Status XML files available in GPO's Bulk Data Repository starting with the 113th Congress going forward. This December, in partnership with the Library of Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate, 10 additional years of Bills Status XML files were made available on govinfo. This new data includes Bill Status information from 2003-2012 (108th Congress to the 112th Congress).

Search and Display Enhancements: In addition to the embeddable search box, this release implemented consistency with the display of modal pop-up boxes throughout govinfo pages, improved accessibility for the A-Z sorting toggle buttons that appear on collection browse pages, added a distinct "Published Date" field that is prominently displayed at the top of feature articles, adjusted mobile search results alignment, added "Collapse All" button functionality on certain collection browse nodes for better usability, and resolved an indexing issue with certain content.

Repository Enhancements: A lot of work was done on internal repository components this release. We upgraded a key framework, enhanced our integrity check functionality, implemented security enhancements, and improved our analytics data.

Other Minor Fixes and Improvements

  • Implemented routine component upgrades, software updates, and security enhancements.
  • Expanded the ability to automatically update govinfo package metadata using metadata information extracted from GPO’s Integrated Library System for more consistent metadata across systems.
  • Enhanced internal monitoring and alerts for public-facing components.
  • Improved performance of caching services and delivery of ZIP file packages.
  • Fixed file name and date format for downloadable search results.
  • Made image sizes consistent for curating content.
  • Resolved check-in errors and improved transparency in the internal repository.
  • Added new committee types for ‘Commission’ and ‘Caucus’ to the congressional committee metadata element type attribute.
  • Automated agent version updates for provenance metadata.
  • Fixed order for fields that caused validation errors in the Federal Register metadata editor.
  • Added a date drop-down for the legislative day element in the Congressional Record metadata editor.
  • Fixed issue with multiple errors being displayed when submitting empty searches.
  • Fixed issue with incorrect links showing up in the browse nodes to Details pages for mid-level granules in the Code of Federal Regulations.
  • Fixed some use cases of Bulk Data link error messages.
  • Expanded our automated test suite to include test cases for performing metadata edits within the repository.

Coming Soon

  • Preparations for the new Congress and new administration beginning in January as well as new format types for some collections.
  • An upgrade planned for our open source search engine, a key component of the system that delivers govinfo's advanced, metadata-powered search experience.

About Release Notes – Changes to govinfo components are made through code deployments on a quarterly release cycle. Release Notes are published after deployments to highlight some of the key changes, summarize other noteworthy activities, and recap new content, feature articles, and top searches since the previous release Read previous editions of Release Notes.