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September 2017 Release Notes

Release Notes
FDsys to govinfo transition tasks, sitemaps, fixes and enhancements, and more

GPO is on track to enter Stage 2 (govinfo out of beta) of the transition from FDsys to govinfo at the end of December 2017. To meet this goal, much of the work done this release was focused on the tasks needed to prepare govinfo to be out of the beta stage, a range of fixes and enhancements to site display, search, and parsing, new developer tools including sitemaps, and efforts behind the scenes as we continually work to improve how we're managing the information you have access to through govinfo.

Read more about the transition from FDsys to govinfo.

Request features, report issues, or provide general feedback on the govinfo beta site by clicking "Feedback" at the top of any page across the site.

FDsys to govinfo Transition

govinfo is GPO's beta website that will eventually replace the Federal Digital System (FDsys) public website. Being in beta means this site is a work in progress that we are sharing with you to get your feedback. govinfo launched in beta in February 2016 and is scheduled to be out of beta at the end of December 2017. FDsys will remain available for a time after govinfo is out of beta while we work with stakeholders to update links and processes to govinfo.

To transition from FDsys to govinfo, we've worked throughout the beta period to build functionality on govinfo equivalent to FDsys, implement user and stakeholder feedback, optimize URLs, migrate metadata, bulk data, sitemaps, and help content, resolve bug reports, build new features requested by our user community, and much more that you can read about in our Release Notes.

Many of these activities involve work on the back end of the site, and while not being immediately apparent on the front end (the website that you interact with), all of these efforts contribute to providing the best user experience while ensuring GPO remains the trusted custodian of official Federal information from all three branches throughout the transition.

In addition to tasks required to support the transition to govinfo, we regularly perform maintenance on the infrastructure, software, databases, source code, and other components required to support the content management system, search engine, and preservation and authentication processes and practices that make govinfo unique among government websites, databases, and repositories.

Read more about the transition from FDsys to govinfo and stay tuned for more information regarding the next phase of the transition.

Fixes and Enhancements

Site Display

  • Fixed display of bill type metadata field on Details pages for certain House Joint Resolutions in the Congressional Bills collection
  • Fixed sorting retention and display of chapters on Browse page and Details pages for certain U.S. Code documents
  • Updated digitized Bound Congressional Record collection display for session of Congress field to accommodate special sessions and a 3rd session for the 76th Congress and volume numbers on the collection browse page
  • Fixed the Code of Federal Regulations browse page sorting display and retention for proclamations and certain sections with errors
  • Made a stylistic update to the headers in the XML files for the Privacy Act Issuances collection
  • *Eliminated spacing between characters in some Congressional Record metadata titles
  • *Removed duplicate values in the preferred citation field in MODS files for some U.S. Code documents
  • Enabled hyperlinked citations in the HTML for future issues of the Congressional Record Index. Citations for bills and pages in the Congressional Record will be hyperlinked to the corresponding document in govinfo. Check future issues of Release Notes for an announcement when content with this feature is available
  • Example of links in Congressional Record Index HTML file

    Example of links in Congressional Record Index HTML file.

*Certain fixes and enhancements require content to be re-processed or re-published for the updates to take effect. This will be completed over a period of time. Content made available after these fixes and enhancements have been implemented will reflect the updates.


  • Citation search updates included tweaks to entry field displays, fix for the bookmarkable URL feature, and a fix for the retrieval of certain documents from the Economic Report of the President and Congressional Document collections.
  • Advanced search get bookmarkable URL feature

    Click Get Bookmarkable URL for a link that saves your inputs in Advanced and Citation Search

  • Fix for Search Within Results feature that allows entering new search terms to search within a list of search results.
  • Search within results feature on a search results page

    To use this feature, click the box at the bottom left of the search box that says "Search Within Results"

Developer Tools


Sitemaps can be used to crawl and harvest content and are now available on govinfo. Efforts to make govinfo sitemaps available included migrating sitemaps from FDsys, updating them to reference govinfo, and validating successful and complete migration. For more information on how to use our sitemaps or report issues, please visit the sitemap repository on GitHub.

Link Service

This release, we implemented a fix for the Federal Register link service when linking to specific pages. Previously, the links did not retrieve the exact page number. We also fixed an issue with some missing bill versions from the dropdown for Congressional Bills.

GitHub Issues

See more developer tools available on govinfo.

Behind the Scenes

GPO's govinfo is more than a website with advanced search capabilities; it's also a content management system and preservation repository. There are many smaller components within these three main components that work together to process, preserve, manage, and make content available on the website for searching and browsing.

For example, there are several components involved when content is submitted to the system, including a processor that manages the automated workflow, a parser that generates metadata, and a publisher that sends content to be displayed on the website after processing.

Many activities go on behind the scenes as GPO maintains all system components, provides daily operational support, and continually works to improve how we're managing the information you have access to through govinfo.

Here are some of those activities we worked on for this release.

  • Implemented upgrades for our web content management system and several software applications that support the search engine
  • Conducted several preservation related efforts including updating the preservation metadata for the U.S. Courts collection and enabling reports and consistency checking for digitized TIFF files. This ensures that files in the preservation repository is identical to the original file
  • Improved logging for the routine consistency check between cached content and content stored in the content management system
  • Made several updates to support and facilitate receipt of anticipated new content
  • Updated a content availability notification for monitoring digitized Federal Register content as it is processed and made available on the site
  • Expanded capabilities of metadata editor for specific collections in support of an effort to add SuDoc numbers to content
  • Conducted planning and testing activities in preparation for the actual migration of MODS and PREMIS metadata files to take place throughout the next several months.
  • Tweaked RSS feeds to control whether re-processed content is included as a new entry in the feeds
  • Made preparations to support the transition of GPO's replacement website Be sure to check out the agency's new beta website and provide feedback
  • Reorganized file structure and conducted code cleanup
  • Efforts in support of cyber security
  • Implemented enhancements to support streamlining of deployment and configuration processes and tools
  • Implemented several parser updates including a fix for the extraction of held dates for certain Congressional Hearings documents and headers for certain Congressional Reports documents, enabled parsing of the ILS ID for certain publications, and a fix for the parsing of Public Law references in the Congressional Bills collection caused by unexpected white space in the input file

Where does all the metadata come from?

Have you ever wondered how govinfo gets the extensive amount of metadata that powers the enhanced search experience as well as supports display of metadata across the site? Parsers are largely to thank for this. govinfo uses custom made parsers, or computer programs that are built to read and analyze files (including metadata files), to identify metadata fields in document text for search and display on govinfo. Parsers save time that humans would have to spend manually reading every document to identify these fields.

For example, a parser is used to analyze the text file of a Congressional Bill to identify the title, date, committee, and other metadata fields. These fields are then displayed on Browse and Details pages and stored in the search index. Then, if you enter the search term committee:agriculture, the search engine will include in results documents that the parser identified the term "agriculture" in the committee name.

New Content Highlights

Take a look at these content additions since our last release.

CFR Index and Finding Aids

Made available August 9, 2017 - Includes the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules

Digitized FR 1980

Digitized Federal register for the 1980s

Made available August 30, 2017

Page from the Digitized Bound Congressional Record 1922

Digitized Bound Congressional Record for the 1940's, 30's, and 20's

GPO and Library of Congress provide first time public access to electronic versions of digitized historical content

Feature Article Highlights

Since our release in June 2017, we posted 13 feature articles; here are a couple of our favorites.

Total eclipse of the moon covering the sun

Total Solar Eclipse 2017

August 16, 2017 – On Monday, August 21, 2017, North America will be treated to a total solar eclipse of the sun

Shark image; Credit: NOAA

Shark Conservation

July 25, 2017 – Related legislation and regulations

Coming Soon

What we're working on next.

  • Continued preparation for the transition from FDsys to govinfo
  • Planning for redirects from FDsys to govinfo
  • Efforts to support additional content availability
  • Metadata migration
  • Additional minor enhancements and fixes