A Web site unveiled today, Open CRS, provides public access to reports of the Congressional Research Service. The CRS, an arm of the Library of Congress devoted to performing research and analysis for members of Congress, does not make its reports available to the public. CRS reports become public only when members of Congress release them.

This site, a project of the Center for Democracy & Technology, allows searching of more than 8,000 reports. Many are drawn from collections housed by libraries elsewhere on the Web that focus on specific topics such as environmental law, health law and intellectual property. The site also encourages members of the public to request copies of CRS reports from their Congressional representatives and contribute them to the site’s collection.