In the two decades that it has been managed by the Library of Congress, THOMAS — the online record of Congress’ activities, named for Thomas Jefferson — has revolutionized access to public information. It has served as a centralized hub for bills and resolutions, the Congressional Record, committee reports and other essential records.

However, the technology powering THOMAS — which now is in the process of transition to a new site, — has not kept pace. Open data advocates believe a more open and comprehensive system of public data, covering the entire federal government, not only is possible, but holds the potential to power a host of new applications.

At a March 13 panel at the SxSW conference in Austin, Texas, R Street Associate Fellow Molly Schwartz joined several fellow members of the Congressional Data Coalition (CDC Co-Chair Daniel Schuman, Molly Bohmer of the Cato Institute and Rebecca Williams of to discuss how better data can empower citizen activists and public interest groups to make government more accountable, and more responsive. Audio of that panel discussion is available below.


(h/t Daniel Schuman at the Congressional Data Coalition)

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