Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Congressional Research Service

American Libraries May, 2007 issue reports briefly on a change of policy at the Congressional Research Service (about CRS link). The director, Daniel P. Mulhollan, issued a memo on March 20 instructing staff to that the service now requires prior approval from high-level staff before ANY CRS report can be released to any non-congressional recipient. Such requests will be honored where the administration finds "the distribution benefits the Congress by assisting CRS in its work" (as through reciprocity sharing info back to CRS or through peer review or expert opinion).

The Federation of American Scientists (link) is offering a collection of Congressional Research Service reports through their weblink given here. And they also refer searchers to a collection here at the Department of State, here at the U. S. Embassy in Italy, Open CRS, and Digital Library at University of North Texas. This link at the National Council for Science and the Environment also has searchable archives of CRS reports. offers this web page explaining how to search for other CRS reports on the Web, and info on ordering reports from Penny Hill press, which will sell any CRS report for $29.95. They also include this link to Memory Hole, which has archives of CRS reports, and BeSpacific blog where you can search for CRS or Congressional Research Service.

Various congressmen have filed bills to make CRS reports available on the Web or otherwise to the public. John McCain and Patrick Leahy are two, but many others support this idea. A quick search turns up entries in the Congressional Record from both of them in 1998 and again in 2003, seeking to amend the law to offer open access to CRS reports. The taxpayers underwrite the research, they should have access to the results.

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