New Official Site for U.S. Code Launched in Beta

The official federal government publisher of the U.S. Code yesterday unveiled a beta version of a new U.S. Code website that features a number of enhancements for searching and working with the nation’s governing body of laws.

The Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives — the entity responsible for preparing and publishing the official U.S. Code — said that the new site incorporates several new features and that additional enhancements are in the works.

The most dramatic enhancement in the new site is search, especially when compared to the current search site. Search is improved on many levels, but one that stands out is in the display of search results. Whereas the current site shows results only as a list of citations, the new site shows results in context, Google style. This enables a much quicker assessment of a result’s relevance. If you prefer to see the results listed by citation, you can easily toggle the view. You can also choose to sort results either by relevance or order within the Code.

Also improved is the display of Code pages when you click through from a search hit. The current ASCII-style display of pages is replaced by a display that is far easier on the eyes. Hits open in a new window with search terms highlighted. Within this window, you can move from hit to hit and from Code section to section.

Another noteworthy new feature is Cite Checker. Use this to quickly check a specific Code section for any recent amendments. It also gives you the section’s catchline and source credit along with any editorial notes relevant to its codification.

Other features of the new website are:

  • An expanding Table of Contents through which you can browse the Code.
  • A simple search facility for quickly accessing specific Code sections or performing simple word or phrase searches.
  • An advanced search facility for sophisticated searching using delimiters such as field or Code hierarchy restrictions, Boolean logic, and case sensitive searches.
  • Easy access to USCprelim, an advance posting of the next online version of the Code.
  • New explanatory material about the Code and the functions of the office.

Law Revision Counsel Ralph V. Seep says that additional enhancements for the site are still in development. These include:

  • Ability to search previous versions of the Code.
  • Ability to search USCprelim.
  • Enhanced internal and external links.
This beta site will be tested for several months before the current site is shut down. The office is accepting comments and questions about the beta site at uscode@mail.house.gov.