Author Archives: Hans Raum

New Portal for Congressional Information

This week the Library of Congress, in collaboration with the U. S. Senate, House of Representatives and the Government Printing Office unveiled a new portal for accessing free, fact-based Congresional information. features platform mobility, comprehensive information and user-friendly presentation.  The site includes live video from the floor of the House and Senate, as well as information about members of Congress, current legislation, and how your Congressman voted on each bill. will replace, which has been the main gateway to Congressional information resources for the past 17 years.

Where do your charitable donations go?

It’s dinner time and the telephone rings.  The caller is asking for a donation for a worthwhile charitable cause.  What you may not know is that some non-profit organizations hire professional fundraisers to solicit contributions on their behalf and the fundraisers typically receive a commission of more than half of the amount you pledge, and in some cases they get up to 90% of your pledge.  To provide detailed information on how funds are split between the charities and the professional fundraisers, the Vermont Atty. General’s office has published a helpful report at

How does your favorite charity rate?

1940 Census records now available online

On April 2 the National Archives released online census records for 1940 and the site received more than 22 million hits in the first three hours, which temporarily crashed the website.  Individual records from a decennial census are made available every 10 years, as soon as the government’s legally mandated 72-year waiting period ends.  The nearly 4 million images of handwritten census pages provide information on person’s names, ages, addresses, marital status and number of children.  The website is at and you need to first identify the enumeration district before you can find the names and addresses you are seeking.

The Davis Family Library also has individual family census records for 1790 to 1930 for Vermont on microfilm and the Genealogy Research Guide can provide more detailed information for researching family history.

Feds plan to close 1,200 Data Centers

The U. S. government is increasing its effort to consolidate its data centers and now expects to close at least 1,200 data centers, or about 40% of federal government IT facilities, as part of an effort to streamline its IT infrastructure.  According to Steven VanRoekel, the federal CIO, the data centers being closed or consolidated “represent billions in wasted capital that could be better used to improve upon critical services for American taxpayers.”

It is too soon to tell what impact, if any, these closures will have on the availability of government information resources that are relevant to our curriculum and student research interests.  A list of data centers targeted for closure is available at

New federated search engine: MetaLib

                The U. S. Government Printing Office is hosting a new federated search engine, called MetaLib, that searches more than 50 government databases covering a broad range of subjects, including energy, the environment, health, defense, geodata and statistics.  The database retrieves reports, articles, and citations while providing direct links to selected resources available online.  Three search modes are available: basic, advanced and expert.