In response to questions regarding the availability of congressional hearings online through GPO Access, GPO staff have prepared the following report on the current status and future plans at GPO for providing hearings electronically.
All congressional hearings are not centrally available on GPO servers at this time. This is due in large part to the fact that committees from the House and Senate do not provide GPO with all hearings to place on GPO servers. Also, there is frequently a delay between the receipt of hearings in hard copy and their subsequent availability online through GPO Access. Below, we outline five ways for users to find congressional hearings on or through GPO Access, and also present some enhancements currently being developed to further improve the ability of customers to access congressional hearings.
The following examples use the existing tools available on GPO Access and external sites GPO links to for congressional hearings. "Cervical cancer" is the sample search used to find the hearing on "Women's Health: Raising Awareness of Cervical Cancer."
Scroll down the page and click on "Congressional Hearings, 105th Congress Forward." Enter the terms "cervical cancer" in the search box.
The desired result "Women's Health: Raising Awareness of Cervical Cancer" comes back on the test day as the first result , available as a text or PDF file.
Scroll down the "U.S. House of Representatives" page until "Committees of the U.S. House of Representatives" appears. Click on "Commerce." You will notice on that page a link to "Committee Hearings." These are hearings that are physically located on GPO servers. Click on this link.
The next page will contain a link to "Committee Hearings, 106th Congress." Click on this page.
"Women's Health: Raising Awareness of Cervical Cancer" comes back on the test day as the fourth result, available as a text or PDF file.
Starting at the GPO Access homepage, click on "Site Search" and enter "cervical cancer." The results list (on the test day) shows the 11th result as "House Committee on Commerce, Committee Hearings (106th Congress). Click on that link, scroll down the page, and find "Women's Health: Raising Awareness of Cervical Cancer" as the fourth option, available as a text or PDF file.
(It should be noted that Site Search was able to find this hearing because the title of the hearing appeared on a browseable HTML page. Site Search does not search for information within individual hearing databases on GPO Access.)
Next click on Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, and enter the sample search terms in the keyword search box. "Women's Health: Raising Awareness of Cervical Cancer" appears in the list of results (item number 7 on the test day). There are two PURLs available. One link downloads the information as a text file and the other downloads as a PDF file.
In order to find a congressional hearing through GPO Access on individual committee web pages, a user must know the committee name. For example, to find a hearing on terrorism from the House Committee on Armed Services, start at the GPO Access homepage and click on "Legislative."
Scroll down the page until the link to "Miscellaneous House Publications and Committees" appears. Click on this.
Scroll down the "U.S. House of Representatives" page until "Committees of the U.S. House of Representatives" appears. Click on "Armed Services." There are no congressional hearings listed that are available directly from GPO servers on this page. However, by clicking on "Web Site" you leave GPO Access and go directly to the House Armed Services Committee Web Site.
Click on "Schedules and Transcripts" to link to their page of hearings. A hearing on "Terrorist Threats to the United States" is listed. On the test day, however, only a press release about the hearing is posted, not the hearing itself.
GPO cannot guarantee the authenticity of information on non-GPO sites, because we do not have control over the content or organization of that information.
(From Administrative Notes, Volume 21 no.9, June 15, 2000 p.27-28)
The same search can be done on Congressional Universe. The difference is instead of getting a hearing in the familiar format of the printed hearing you get 17 listings for prepared statements of witnesses.
The Thomas approach is by congressional committee similar to example 2 above. Many patrons will not know which committee conducted the hearing so this approach is not as practical as some of the others.