New Library of Congress Website for “Constitution Annotated”

September 17th is Constitution Day, a day commemorating the signing of the Constitution on September 17, 1787. In conjunction with this, the Library of Congress has launched a new website “mak[ing] the 3,000 pages of the Constitution Annotated fully searchable and accessible for the first time to online audiences – including Congress, legal scholars, law students and anyone interested in U.S. constitutional law.” (New Website Makes the U.S. Constitution Searchable with Supreme Court Interpretations Throughout History: https://www.loc.gov/item/prn-19-090?loclr=ealn)

So what is the Constitution Annotated you ask? “… known officially as the Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation–[it] has served as the official record of the U.S. Constitution. Prepared by attorneys in the American Law Division of the Library’s Congressional Research Service, it explains in layman’s terms the Constitution’s origins, how it was crafted and how every provision in the Constitution has been interpreted throughout history.”

Starting at the Home page, click on “Browse” in the top right-hand corner.
You’re taken to this page where you can browse the Preamble, Articles, & Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Then, if you click on “Nineteenth Amendment” for example, you’ll be taken to this page. To see the explanation in “layman’s terms” you would click on the highlighted portion above: “Amdt19.S1.1  Women’s Suffrage”
Which results in this page, the page prepared by attorneys in the American Law Division of the Library’s Congressional Research Service, complete with footnotes at the bottom.

So, check out the new website, Constitution Annotated: Analysis and Interpretation of the U.S. Constitution https://constitution.congress.gov/. Could be easier than carrying the pocket Constitution!

Tips And Tricks – Get Good information every time!!

The MVCC library is designed to be your information center but there may be times when you can’t make it to campus. When that happens the library’s website is the perfect place to get started on your research.

If you can’t get what you need on our website you might need to use other websites. Anyone can put anything on the internet and sometimes information looks more credible at first glance than it is on closer inspection. Most web content is posted without any form of review for accuracy or reliability, so it is up to you to make sure that the online information you find is credible. Ask yourself, “Is this source credible?” every time you choose a web source. This is especially true of sources with no author or organizational affiliation. You will likely have to navigate to the homepage of the site to judge its credibility.

Some examples of bad sites that look good are: History of the Fisher-Price Airplane, and Coalition to Ban DHMO Dihydrogen Monoxide. Take a look and see if you can figure out what’s wrong with them.

Here are few tips to make sure you get good information. Ask yourself:

Authority – Are the author and sponsor identified? Is the author qualified? Is the sponsor identified and reputable?

Dates – Does the site tell when it was last updated? Is the information current? For many disciplines, the currency of information is vital.

Accuracy – Is the information given reliable & error free?

Bias – What is the site’s objective? Is it designed to sway opinion? Is it advertising something?

Citations – Does the site say where it got its information?

Remember, if you aren’t sure you can always ask a librarian.

Happy Researching!