Congress.gov, the official website for federal legislative information, recently got some usability upgrades. Prompted by user feedback, the most recent enhancements focus on customer experience, accounts and alerts, browsing and appropriation tables.
A new “listen to this page” feature will now read the full or a selected portion of a bill summary aloud to the user. The accessibility tool also offers a downloadable audio file of the bill, according to a blog post by Robert Brammer of the Library of Congress.
Searching capabilities, meanwhile, were improved with the inclusion of the “search within” results feature on committee pages and member profiles.
To make appropriations-tracking easier and more efficient, appropriation tables have been updated to include more content, starting with a table for fiscal year 2016 and going back to 2005.
Email alerts will now include the title of the bill, so users can see which bill they are being alerted about before opening up the notification. Additionally, member alerts are now prompted by amendment sponsorship and co-sponsorship.
The latest upgrades are in response to user comments, and continue a series of monthly releases that began with Congress.gov's debut in September 2012.
Posted on Aug 05, 2015 at 9:02 AM0 comments
The Department of Health and Human Services is expanding its efforts to accelerate healthcare information sharing, and helping to fund a dozen state's data-sharing projects.
The $29.6 million grant will support programs in 12 states that plan to adopt the necessary tools, technology and services to provide and share health information, according to the agency. The funding will help address workflow challenges and technical issues to improve the meaningful use of clinical data from outside sources.
The funding is part of a two-year cooperative agreement program, and the grants come from program funding established by the 2009 American Recovery and Revitalization Act’s Health Information Technology and Clinical Health Act. All told, nearly $38 million has gone out to 20 awardees for three health information technology grant programs.
Posted on Aug 04, 2015 at 9:37 AM0 comments
The Crisis Text Line, a 24-hour crisis-counseling hotline, takes text messages from people dealing with everything from domestic violence to suicide and passes the information on to public safety answering points, as appropriate.
Created in 2013 to help people who are in crisis but feel uncomfortable talking over the phone, the Crisis Text Line has received 7.3 million texts from as all 295 area codes in the country and provides a glimpse of the possibilities of a successful next-generation 911 implementation.
The flat IP-architecture of next-generation 911 could allow public safety answering points to specialize in types of issues, like suicide, according to an article in American City and County.
Posted on Aug 03, 2015 at 12:09 PM0 comments
Researchers using the Defense Research and Engineering Network (DREN) will be getting a productivity boost when the service upgrades to 40 gigabit/sec.
DREN securely connects five Defense Department supercomputing facilities to 4,300 scientists in over 150 agencies. Fully IPv6-enabled, DREN currently provides connectivity through a mix of Ethernet, IP and optical wavelength services, with speeds varying accordingly. The Navy DOD Supercomputing Resource Center at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, which operates national test facilities for the rocket engine propulsion programs, will be the first of five DREN locations to receive 40 gigabit/sec service.
CenturyLink and LGS Innovations will be performing the upgrade.
Posted on Aug 03, 2015 at 12:08 PM0 comments
The 2015 National Transportation Atlas Databases are now available for download. The data provides geographic-based details for more than 500,000 miles of roadway, 610,000 bridges and 19,527 airports. New highway crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also in the mix.
This year’s datasets cover 36 data themes with 57 data layers. The NTAD sets are available in open shapefile format with metadata documentation supported by most GIS software.
Posted on Jul 31, 2015 at 1:01 PM0 comments