Hard-to-Get Policy Briefs For Congress Now Online

Kelly writes "Somebody is putting CRS reports online, including RSS feeds of them! According to this article from the June 28, 2005 Washington Post

It's a bit like Napster -- but for policy wonks...The Center for Democracy and Technology has created an online database of Congressional Research Service reports that anyone with an Internet connection can now tap free of charge. The often-coveted but elusive reports are produced by CRS, a public policy research arm of Congress. CRS, which boasts hundreds of analysts and a $100 million budget, churns out hundreds of briefs each year on a wide range of topics.

The URL for this site is: http://www.opencrs.com. The URL for the article is: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic le/2005/06/27/AR2005062701509.htmlBTW, later in the article there appears an unfortunate quote from a spokesperson at CRS's parent, LC - she's referring to the CRS reports: "We suggest that people get them through their congressional offices -- that's the way it's supposed to be done," Jill Brett said. "If [the CDT] can get the reports and put them up, we can't stop them." Ah, don't you love it that LC has such a fondness for PROCEDURES as expressed in this LC person's words? You'd think LC, our national library, would be interested in sharing information easily, instead of making the public jump through procedural hoops. Such quotes just give librarians another black eye in the realm of PR."


From the OpenCRS web site:

CRS Reports do not become public until a member of Congress releases the report. A number of libraries and non-profit organizations have sought to collect as many of the released reports as possible. Open CRS is a centralized utility that brings together these collections to search.Unfortunately, there is no systematic way to obtain all CRS reports. Because of this, not all reports appear on the Open CRS web site. CDT believes that it would be far preferable for Congress to make available to the public all CRS Reports.

If you want full access to CRS materials, you'll have to lobby your Congressional delegation to change the laws that dictate the current policy.

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