Monday, October 31, 2005

Open CRS Network - Congressional Research Reports for the People

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), in the Library of Congress, provides research support to the United States Congress. As a source of in-depth, timely, and accurate information, CRS reports are intended to clearly define an issue for Congress. CRS reports are produced at the request of and for the use of members of Congress, and they can include policy, economic, statistical and/or legal analyses.

Because of their high quality, CRS reports are excellent resources for legislative or public policy research. CRS reports are not made available directly to the public, but members of Congress can share them with the public. Since the mid-1990s, libraries and interested organizations have made concerted efforts to obtain and make CRS reports available on the web.

This past summer, a fabulous new source for these reports debuted, Open CRS. Open CRS is a project of the Center for Democracy & Technology. Through the cooperation of several organizations and collectors of CRS Reports, Open CRS provides access to CRS Reports already in the public domain. There are currently close to 10,000 reports. You can search all reports or browse by collection or current issue. RSS feeds are available for recent reports and recently added reports.

There is a "Take Action" box on the front page asking the public to request a specific report from one of their members of Congress and submit it to Open CRS. The FAQ provides instructions for requesting reports and for adding them to the Open CRS database. Since this summer, almost 2,000 reports have been added to the database.

The site also has information on the campaign to convince Congress to provide public access to all CRS Reports.

Archive of Research Tips.

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