The beta version of GPO.gov’s new website.

Two federal government websites, GPO.gov and Congress.gov, have unveiled updates in recent weeks.

Most notably, the U.S. Government Printing Office has launched a completely redesigned version of its site. The new design, which was launched in a beta version while the former site continues to operate, emphasizes simplicity and mobile-friendliness.

The new site is at beta.gpo.gov while the former site, launched in 2009, remains at www.gpo.gov. Before finally replacing the former site, the GPO will be collecting and evaluating user feedback on the new site. Anyone wishing to submit feedback can do so at www.surveymonkey.com/r/betagpodotgov.

Features of the new site include:

  • Mobile-friendly design.
  • Improved internal site search.
  • Improved user experience.
  • Easier access to GPO products and services.
  • Easier access events and training.
  • Access to GPO social media platforms.
  • Ability to locate Federal Depository Libraries.

Changes to Congress.gov

Also unveiling a number of changes and enhancements is Congress.gov, the Library of Congress site it launched in 2012 to replace the former Thomas.gov site.

The big news in this release, according to Andrew Weber at the In Custodia Legis blog, is that users now have the ability to download their search results to a CSV (comma separated values) file, which they can then open and manipulate in a spreadsheet.

On the home page, a new Search Tips feature has been added. The site’s search tools have been enhanced in a number of ways. Among them:

  • In addition to tabs for Quick Search and Advanced Search, a new Browse tab provides quick access to frequently requested lists and search results and an easy way to switch from searching to browsing.
  • The Quick Search “Words and Phrases” search box now defaults to a presumed AND between the words rather than OR. Previously, Weber explained, if you typed Library of Congress, the search would have looked for Library OR of OR Congress. Now, it looks for Library AND of AND Congress.
  • The Query Builder, a tool to assist in building search queries, has been enhanced to add selections from the drop-down for “no word variants” and “case sensitive” for certain items. Also, there are more distance options for the “is near” operator on the form.

In addition to these search changes, the site has added a new “Nomination” alert to its list of RSS and email alerts, allowing users to receive alerts for actions on nominations.