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September 2021 Release Notes

Release Notes
Congressional Serial Set launched; API for related Congressional hearings deployed; Bluebook citations added to the Bibliographic Citation Generator

The govinfo team had a busy summer culminating in the launch of one of the year’s most anticipated initiatives, the Congressional Serial Set collection. Numerous other features and improvements were also completed since the last deployment including 61 individually tracked changes. This article covers some of the highlights such as an API for related Congressional hearings, updates to the Retrieve by Citation functionality to enable format selection, the addition of Bluebook citations in the bibliographic citation generator, and numerous fixes and enhancements to govinfo functionality.

New Content: Over 42,000 content packages (roughly equivalent to one bound printed document) have been made available since the beginning of July. Notable content since the last release includes the Budget Mid-Session Review; Statute Compilations in USLM XML; S. Pub. 116-5 – Pro Tem – Presidents Pro Tempore of the United States Senate since 1789; Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Barack Obama (2015, Book Iand Book II); House Rules and Manual for the 117th Congress; Federal Register Index for July 2021; Volume 86; S. Pub. 117-4 – Senate Class List; and judicial opinions from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Western District of New York (NYWB) and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Eastern District of Oklahoma (OKEB).

Feature Articles: Twelve articles were featured since early July, including articles related to the release of the Congressional Serial Set, the launch of the Statute Compilations in USLM XML, outcomes from the 2021 Bulk Data Task Force meeting, as well as articles recognizing Constitution and Citizenship Day, the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, Labor Day, the 25th anniversary of HIPAA, National Korean War Armistice Day, and the 45th anniversary of women admitted to West Point.

Congressional Serial Set: We are happy to announce the completion of a new and highly anticipated collection in govinfo. For the past two years, efforts were underway to digitize and prepare for the processing, publishing, and public display of the documents within the Congressional Serial Set, most commonly referred to as the Serial Set. A cherished resource, the Serial Set has been published since 1817 and contains the official collection of a wealth of Congressional publications including:

Image of Serial Set books on a shelf

  • House and Senate Documents
  • House and Senate Executive Documents
  • Senate Treaty Documents
  • House and Senate Miscellaneous Documents
  • House and Senate Reports
  • Senate Executive Report
  • Court of Claims Reports
  • House Journals
  • Senate Journals

This first public release contains selected volumes from the 69th Congress (1925–1927), the 82nd Congress (1951–1953), and several 19th century Congresses. The remaining 15,118 volumes will be released throughout the next ten years. Serial Set volumes are available as individual documents and also as complete volumes. Functionality includes integration of the Serial Set into the govinfo Link Service, advanced search features, unique search facets for targeted searching, and new formats available within the ZIP files. Learn more about the Serial Set release including examples and ways to access this content, or do a deep dive into a wealth of tips and details about the Serial Set in the govinfo Help information here.

The images below are from volumes within the Serial Set. Snake illustration: Ex. Doc. 32-54 - Exploration of the Red River of Louisiana, in the year 1852. By Randolph B. Marcy, captain Fifth Infantry U.S. Army; assisted by George B. McClellan, survey captain U.S. Engineers (1853); Plant illustration: Ex. Doc. 34-108 - Report on the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey, made under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, by William H. Emory. Major First Cavalry and United States Commissioner. Volume II (1856); "Lines of March" survey Map of the United States: U.S. Congressional Serial Set No. 1001 - House Executive Document, Vol. 2, , Pt. 5 (1859); and William Jennings Bryan portrait: Doc. 69-312 - William Jennings Bryan Proceedings in the House of Representatives in memory of William Jennings Bryan. March 19, 1926 (1926)

Images from Serial Set volumes.

API for Congressional hearings related documents: We have expanded the functionality of our Related Documents service in the API to allow retrieval of related Congressional hearings for a given hearing. This allows users to more easily find other parts of a hearing that were published in govinfo as separate packages, including errata. These relationships are identified by shared integrated library system (ILS) number, and it works with both current and historical Congressional hearings

For example, the query below returns a list of relationships to other parts of the hearing. The hearing below is a hearing on the Nation's estuaries, specifically San Francisco Bay and Delta, California.
  "relatedId": "CHRG-91hhrg31642", 
  "relationships": [ 
      "relationship": "Other Parts to this Hearing", 
      "collection": "CHRG", 
      "relationshipLink": "" 
Example Following the relationshipLink will return information about other hearings within govinfo.
  "relatedId": "CHRG-91hhrg31642", 
  "results": [ 
      "dateIssued": "1969-08-20", 
      "title": "The Nation's Estuaries: San Francisco Bay And Delta, Calif. Part 2: Hearing Before A Subcommittee Of The Committee On Government Operations, House Of Representatives, Ninety-first Congress, First Session, August 20 And 21, 1969.", 
      "granuleLink": "", 
      "packageId": "CHRG-91hhrg36711p2", 
      "granuleId": "CHRG-91hhrg36711p2", 
      "lastModified": "2021-02-22T17:50:47Z" 

The team is continually working to expand the availability of our Related Documents feature to include more relationships between documents within the system to help the public understand how their Government works. With the release of the Related Documents service on our API this past spring, we are including new use cases for both the API and the normal user experience.

Retrieve by Citation Choose a Format: A constant priority is to support options and flexibility for our users. In that spirit, a new feature is available within the Retrieve by Citation functionality, or citation search form. Previously, upon input of collection-specific citation values into the boxes and clicking Search, a PDF link would be displayed in a new window if a document existed that matched the values’ criteria. Now upon input of values into the boxes and clicking Search, you will see a title for the document and also the available format buttons for the document displayed. This allows a user to select the format option of their choice.

Image showing the new Retrieve by citation form, including options to choose different formats

Bluebook Citations Added to the Bibliographic Citation Generator: In an effort to incorporate feedback from users and build upon the functionality deployed in the June release of govinfo, it is now possible to generate bibliographic citations for documents using the style manual format for citing legal documents within the United States, “Bluebook” format, formally titled The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. This format joins the previously available formats in govinfo of MLA, APA, and the Chicago Manual of Style. Show image of the new citation.

Image showing the new Bluebook citation style as part of the Bibliographic Generator

Other Fixes and Improvements

  • Built dynamic browse for the Senate Journal publications.
  • Corrected parsing issue in the Federal Register for President to resolve “Bush” ambiguity.
  • Updated content detail pages for joint Congressional committee prints.
  • Adjusted metadata parsing rules for Congressional hearings from the Multiemployer Pension Plans committee.
  • Updated the Link Service’s Congressional Documents (CDOC) documentation to allow for a string value for document headings.
  • Updated the API ZIP requests to properly generate ZIP events.
  • Updated the API requests for U.S. Code granules.
  • Added display of volume numbers to browse nodes for the Congressional Record and Federal Register browse trees
  • Updated the testing framework to include additional collection-specific parameters.
  • Continued expanding the automated testing suite for the API Related Documents service, Search API regression testing for the Congressional Serial Set, browse results, and automated End-to-End Testing for elements on pages (e.g. bottom banner and actions links).
  • Implemented a Java upgrade for internal components.
  • Implemented an internal notification to monitor for an anomaly in the Congressional Record text file.
  • Resolved an issue with Economic Indicators and display of titles on content details pages.
  • Fixed an issue within the metadata editor for the Privacy Act Issuances to make “Context” optional for Federal Register.
  • Improved error messaging when there are over 10,000 search results.
  • Automated PREMIS redaction event registration for digitized packages.
  • Corrected court codes for the state of Wisconsin in the U.S. Courts collection.
  • Fixed an invalid attribute in the Miscellaneous Government Publications collection.
  • Fixed issues in the metadata editor for the GM/Title field for several collections and editability of PM/classification in the Public Papers of the President collection.
  • Resolved an issue with pagination tools in the browse pages.
  • Improved short title case sensitivity for the Congressional bills collection.
  • Updated checkbox placement in the “browse historical” functionality.
  • Made improvements to processing for the U.S. Code and the Code of Federal Regulations collections.
  • Implemented standard updates to libraries and code.
  • Applied a new signing certificate for digital signatures.
  • Implemented routine component upgrades, license and software updates, and security enhancements.

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.