VoxGov Federal

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    VoxGov Federal is a platform that aggregates a broad range of official and ephemeral information resources issued by U.S. Federal Government agencies and and individual representatives. VoxGov Federal focuses on the regulatory process (lawmaking, rulemaking, and compliance). Though much of the information aggregated by VoxGov Federal is available in VoxGov's core product (VoxGov for Education), this distinct platform adds significant regulatory content and offers a different lens on government process.


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    May 17, 2024 7:37pm
    Collection Content

    VoxGov Federal is a discovery platform focused on the regulatory process of the U.S. government. VoxGov harvests, aggregates, and indexes a broad range of official and ephemeral information issued by U.S. Federal Government agencies and representatives. VoxGov Federal is distinct from VoxGov's core product, Voxgov for Education, though much of the content contained in the Education product is also present in this platform.

    As of February 2019, VoxGov Federal reportedly contains more than 45 million documents.This includes more than 30 million social media posts, 5 million "official releases" from agencies and government representatives, and 1.2 million Congressional documents and official legislation. Notably, VoxGov Federal includes mearly 12 million regulatory documents, including "Primary Regulatory Documents" (notices and rules, presidential proclamations, Executive Orders), Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) documentation, and "Third Party Info."

    This last category of content distinguishes VoxGov Federal from the core Education product. A search for the term "caribou," for example, pulled up 101,904 documents in Federal, while Education resulted only in 15,220. The difference in results appear to be principally driven by the inclusion of additional regulatory documentation in Federal, most notably the third-party "Regulatory Comments" indexed from regulations.gov. On the search described above, comments made up 85% of the results. 


    VoxGov Federal is a platform built on the infrastructure of VoxGov's core product (Voxgov for Education). As such, this review focuses only on the distinct features of VoxGov Federal.

    Unlike VoxGov Education, Federal does not offer a simple ("Google-like") search interface, but instead presents users with a full display of results and available filters under the rubric of "Due Diligence." Users may search and filter results by date, content type, source/agency, branch of government, political party, and demographics. Federal offers additional filters such as Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) citation and Regulatory Information Number. Federal also offers to filter results by "Mentions," including names of government agencies, national associations (such as the NRA), accounting and law firms, corporations and non-profits, and unions.

    To further aid navigation, Federal allow users to filter results into four principal areas of the regulatory process: Due Diligence, Lawmaking, Rulemaking, and Compliance. The Due Diligence filter focuses the user's attention on the latest news and information related to compliance, legal oversight, and bureaucratic activities. The Lawmaking filter page provides access to all information related to members of Congress as well as the activities of government agencies. The Rulemaking section, meanwhile, appears to direct users to documentation and news that relates to all aspects of lawmaking and regulatory processes. The Compliance section features reports and documentation related to: Decisions, Opinions, and Orders as well as Directives (as identified by VoxGov Federal). Finally, users can browse by the "Trending" filter, that reveals the most popular: keywords, hashtags, names, organizations, and places. 

    As with Education, VoxGov Federal provides an array of tools to interpret and manage search findings. A particularly useful feature is the indexing of regulatory documents that allow users to see the relationships between proposed rules, supporting documentation, comments, and related agency documentation.

    Finally, VoxGov Federal offers a "Trending" filter similar to VoxGov Education to show trending words, names, hashtags, organizations, and places.

    Strengths and Weaknesses

    VoxGov Federal offers a valuable and distinctive service for researching the regulatory process. This platform builds on the aggregation and indexing strengths of VoxGov, and adds useful features for researchers interested in the regulatory process. Rulemaking and compliance once legislation is signed into law are important factors, and this product does much to bring the disparate strands of information together.

    This product might be of greatest interest to law scholars, but it has applicability for social scientists andhistorians interested in current and historical events.

    The site lacks contextual information about sources and is bereft of any "help" documentation, which may leave users uncertain as to the scope or comprehensiveness of information contained in the product.


    James Simon & Maria Smith, CRL

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