Release Notes August 21, 2019 - Submission improvements, linked hearings, search engine upgrade, developer tool enhancements
The govinfo website provides access to more than a million Federal publications and receives an average of 35 million retrievals of content every month, but the website is only one of three major components that comprise GPO’s govinfo system. The other two components are the content management system that securely controls content throughout the submission process and the ISO 16363 certified Trustworthy Digital Repository.
For the past few years, system development has largely been focused on the website component as we launched the new, modern beta site in 2016, moved the site to full production in 2017, and retired govinfo's predecessor FDsys website in December 2018. In January, govinfo became the first in the U.S. and second in the world to achieve certification as a Trustworthy Digital Repository under ISO 16363.
With these major accomplishments under our belt, this past release focused on enhancements to the content submission process in addition to the continued priorities of enhancing site functionality and expanding availability of developer tools.
Enhancements to Submission Process - Submission of content to govinfo is handled based on the concept of a "collection", or set of logically related documents. For example, Federal Register, Congressional Bills, and U.S. Courts Opinions are all considered "collections" on govinfo. Content not in its own distinct collection is submitted to a "general collection" that was designed with flexibility in mind to enable submission of content with varying available metadata and display needs. In the release, we enhanced the content submission process for this general collection to implement additional flexibility and make the process more efficient. Learn more about the general collection and other publications.
Another area of focus for the release was the submission process specific to digitized content with the implementation of an XML schema validation and correction tool for pre-processing. Making historical digitized content available on govinfo is a priority for GPO and recent examples include the Federal Register, Bound Congressional Record, and Presidential Public Papers. Learn more about GPO's plan for ongoing govinfo collection development.
Linked Parts of the Same Hearing - From applicable Congressional Hearings Details pages, you can now see different parts of the same hearing linked on the Related Documents tab. Here's an example:
The related documents feature was built to provide users quick and easy access to related govinfo publications and has expanded to 9 collections and 22 relationships!
Repository Development - Maintaining an ISO 16363 certified Trustworthy Digital Repository requires occasional software updates and enhancements. In this release changes included updating processes to retain archival file renditions (for example, JPEG 2000) only in the archival storage area of the repository; enabling use of the File Information Tool Set (FITS) validation tool for PDF files; and updating a process that verifies content is consistent between the search engine and the repository. Learn more about digital preservation on govinfo.
Search Engine Upgrade - A major upgrade was made to the open source search engine, a key component of the system that provides govinfo's advanced, metadata-powered search experience. This upgrade enables us to make additional future enhancements to the search engine to further customize the search experience.
Design Updates - Numerous minor design updates were made across the site including new fonts, color and styling adjustments for consistency, and specific attention to optimizing tablet views across pages.
Accessibility Improvements - GPO works to ensure that existing web pages are Section 508-compliant, and that future pages will be created specifically with these accessibility standards in mind. During govinfo development we consider best practices and standards for making web pages accessible to assistive technology, such as screen readers, whenever feasible. Examples include providing alternative text for images, structuring content with headings to facilitate keyboard navigation, and using labels to provide enhanced semantics and accessibility for web content. In this release, Related Documents pages were optimized for accessibility to screen readers.
Developer Tool Enhancements - Fixed error message returned by summary requests for non-existent package IDs (GitHub API Issue #9 ); added MD5 hash values to granule summaries for the Congressional Record Index and History of Bills collections (GitHub API Issue #41 ), added Congressional Committee information to package and granule summaries for applicable collections, and fixed an issue where the U.S. Courts collection was reporting an incorrect granule total in the basic /collections request.
Digitized Public Papers of the Presidents - On July 10, GPO announced the addition of digitized volumes of The Public Papers of the Presidents for Presidents for Herbert Hoover (1929) through George H.W. Bush (1991), with the exception of the Franklin D. Roosevelt presidency.
Featured Content - See documents related to drone regulations, the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and Invasion of Normandy, the history of national service, the PROTECT Act of 2003, 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 past Release Notes