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Building Direct Links to THOMAS Documents


These pages will guide you in building links and buttons to THOMAS search results on your Web pages. Users of your Web pages will be able to click on these links and buttons to see THOMAS documents without going to THOMAS search pages to execute the search.

Most searches from THOMAS search pages return results on Web pages with temporary URLs which cannot be used to produce permanent links. The links and buttons produced by following this guide contain permanent URLs. They run a new search every time they are clicked, returning the documents available when they were constructed, plus any new documents that have been added to the file and meet the search criteria.

Read the General Instructions first. Then scan the Instructions for Links by File and Type, click on the link you want to add to your page, copy the HTML code for the link from the Page Source, and follow the instructions for modifying it.


Instructions for Links by File and Type

Bill Summary & Status
Link to a Bill by Bill Number | Link to Bills Sponsored by a Member of Congress | Link to Bills Referred to, Reported from, or Originating in a Committee | Link to Bills by Subject

Bill Text
Link to a Bill by Bill Number | Link to a Version of a Bill by Bill Number and File Extension | Link to Bills by Subject

Congressional Record Text
Link to a Document by Page Number | Link to Documents Containing Member Names | Link to Documents by Subject | Link to a Standard Document | Link to a Large Document, Beginning and Ending the Display on Desired Characters

Committee Reports
Link to a Report by Report Number | Link to Reports from a Committee | Link to a Report Beginning and Ending the Display on Desired Characters


General Instructions

1) Decide which information, document, part of a document, or documents to link to.

2) Choose which THOMAS file contains or links to that information, document, or documents.

THOMAS Files and Search Pages What's in the File? Why link to it?
Bill Summary & Status

Information about bills and resolutions, including sponsors and cosponsors; committees of referral, origin, or reporting; official and short titles; status; amendments; and summaries. It provides links to Bill Text, the Congressional Record, and Committee Reports.

For everything bill related. A link to a single document will go directly to a page of information on the bill which then links to the full text of the bill, committee reports on the bill, and Congressional Record passages on the bill.
Bill Text

Full text of all versions of all bills and resolutions. It provides links to Bill Summary & Status.

A link to a single document will go directly to the full text of a bill.

Congressional Record Text

Full text of the Congressional Record including debate on bills and resolutions and all other business conducted on the floor of the House and the Senate. It provides links to Bill Summary & Status and Bill Text.

A link to a single document will go directly to the Record. Also to link to documents which are not related to specific bills.
Committee Reports

Full text of committee reports. It provides links to Bill Summary & Status and Bill Text.

A link to a single document will go directly to the full text of a report. Also to link to reports which are not related to specific bills.

3) Choose which Congress to run your search in. The current Congress is the 107th.

4) Compose your search and refine it by running it from the appropriate THOMAS search page for the appropriate Congress.

5) Choose whether to link using the GET protocol or the POST protocol. GET links are usually the easiest to construct. POST links sometimes allow you to do more complicated searches.

Types of Links

GET Links

POST Links

Appearance Displays on your page as a: text link Displays on your page as a:

Complexity Most of the GET links currently available are simple, allowing only a search parameter or two. POST links tend to be more complex. Searches can be as complex as any done from a THOMAS search page. 
Generic HTML Code <A HREF="URL">words that will display</A> <FORM ACTION="URL to query program" METHOD=post>
<input name="field name" type=hidden value="value being searched for in that field">
<input type="submit" value="words that will display">
</FORM>
Processing Search parameters are processed by a program not affiliated with the search page. Search parameters mimic data entered on a search page and are handled by the program that runs off the search page.
Results Results returned in standard THOMAS displays. Results are limited to 50 items in all files except Bill Summary & Status. Bill Summary & Status returns up to 5000 items. Results returned in standard THOMAS displays. The number of results can be specified between 1 and 2000 in all files except Bill Summary & Status. Bill Summary & Status returns up to 5000 items.

6) Some advice for making complex links.

7) Go to the Instructions for Links by File and Type and click on the link you want to add to your page. Copy the HTML code for the link from the Page Source, copying the code for "The link", not the "Display of HTML code". Modify the code to mimic the search you composed in Step 4, guided by the "Explanation of variables most likely to change within the HTML code". For each type of link the following tables appear:

 

Description of link:

GET link

The link--the way it appears and works via a Web browser.

Display of HTML code.
Explanation of the variables most likely to change within the HTML code.

POST link

The button--the way it appears and works via a Web browser.

Display of HTML code.
Explanation of the variables most likely to change within the HTML code.



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