THOMAS is an online service of the Library of Congress created in 1995 to make federal legislative information freely available to the Internet public. THOMAS actually includes almost 15 databases providing a vast amount of material about the current and past US Congress activity. Records available cover the entire Congress legislative production in the last 30 years, ranging from floor actions and motions to votes, speeches and debates. Bills texts and summaries, as well as amendments from 1973 to the present are available along with legislative history, amendment descriptions and text, links to the full text of the bill and the laws. Also full-text of bills and recorded votes from the Congress houses from 1989 to the present, full-text and index of the Congressional Records, and the full-text of House and Senate committee reports are retrievable. Historical records such as a collection of US Congressional documents from 1774 to 1873 are also retrievable. Access to all databases is totally free and no registration is needed neither for individual nor for institutions. Every user can therefore freely retrieve US legislative material by searching through the advanced features and by locating and downloading in several formats the desired records through a detailed user guide and the simple interface structure of this website.
The Library of Congress website for legislative information
UK National Archives
UK public and government records
Acting as the official archive for England, Wales and the central UK government, this database covers 900 years of history, with records ranging from paper scrolls through to recently created digital files and archived websites. An on-going, massive digitalization process is making such records accessible online (partly for free, partly viewable and downloadable only by a fee). Along with a dozen repositories, plenty of catalogue records, and resources devoted to research and professional sectors, also available are current news, online exhibition, maps, job opportunities, and specific references on sections not available in digital formats, such family and military history. Also useful some special areas with resources devoted to kids, parents, teachers, as well as a series of online services (purchasing records and books). Another website feature covers the information management and archival resources, providing also standards and tools to better any kind of data and also encouraging the re-use of public sector information. With its quite dynamic overall design this website also includes a powerful advanced search facility, an A-Z index and useful visual tips. Users can personalize their own pages and search results, while Web 2.0 tools are easily available.
United Kingdom Online Publications
Online version of the British Stationery Office
The United Kingdom Online Publications is a website published by the United Kingdom Stationery Office, giving access to all the official documents produced by the Government. It is online from 2000 and it works both as an archive and as a documents locator. It gathers 450,000 bibliographic records of official publications from 1980 onwards, over 20,000 links to governmental documents, more than 12,000 documents permanently archived in the website, including a section with the latest daily additions. The site offers full-text version available in pdf, with comments and a brief description in html. Access is quite limited. No free material is available. Visitors can access only limited information and they can only view documents located in the latest additions area. A two weeks trial account for non-subscribers is allowed but the request has to be evaluated before being proofed. Membership is possible on an annual paid subscription basis. Pay-per-download of a single document is also possible with prices depending on each file. The website is simple to explore and the search engines are multiple and well developed, endowed with full explanations, making data retrieval very effective.