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Website of the Week — OpenCRS


Time again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations. Our web guide is VOA's Art Chimes.

This week's site opens a window on U.S. government research reports that the government doesn't routinely make public.

MEEKS: "OpenCRS.com is a clearinghouse to access Congressional research reports that are typically unavailable to the American public."

Brock Meeks is a spokesman for OpenCRS.com, where you can search through some 13,000 reports prepared by the widely-respected Congressional Research Service, or CRS, which is part of the U.S. Library of Congress.

MEEKS: "And it's kind of a think tank. The reports, which are requested by members of Congress can cover anything from the economy to the environment to the likely outcome of electronic voting in the year 2030."

CRS reports also cover a range of international issues. In the past few weeks, for example, OpenCRS.com has added studies on nuclear proliferation, elections in Georgia and Pakistan, Afro-Latinos in South America, Hong Kong democracy, and Iraq.

The CRS works for Congress and releases its research reports directly to the legislature, not to the public, so OpenCRS has to get copies indirectly.

MEEKS: "There's nothing secret or classified about the reports, and if you ask a member of Congress if they can get you that report, they will do that for you as a courtesy. The folks then will send us the report so that the next time, somebody can just come to our site and search for it there without having to go through this process of requesting it through their member of Congress."

You can locate research studies of interest through the keyword search on OpenCRS.com, which also indexes Congressional Research Service reports archived at other institutions and libraries.

There are commercial services that collect and sell these research studies, but why pay for what you can get for free at OpenCRS.com, or get the link from our site, voanews.com.

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