Template talk:USPL

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Pub.L.[edit]

Linking the text "Pub.L." to Public law for Congresses before 100 seems spurious. -- davidz (talk) 08:28, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

The link on "Pub.L." should explain the abbreviation. The absence of a link seems preferable to Public law. Public_law#Alternate_usage gets close, but linking to a subsection seems fragile. An article like United States Statutes at Large seems needed.

Until an article on US Public Law citation exists to link to, I contemplate adding {{Anchor|PubL}} <!-- [[Template:USPL]] links here. --> to Public_law#Alternate_usage and linking "Pub.L." in Template:USPL to it.

As this will have consequences for many pages, I though I'd ask first.

Some of the articles that link to Public law seem to expect Public_law#Alternate_usage.

-- davidz (talk) 20:29, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Did it. Still ugly, but an improvement. -- davidz (talk) 20:18, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Thanks Markles, much better than my kludge. You made it much more logical by creating Public law (United States) and redirecting it to Act of Congress, with the text on public law from Public law#Alternate usage added to Act of Congress#Public Law, and "Pub.L." linking to Public law (United States). Arriving at Act of Congress from the link on "Pub.L." still risks confusing a reader. Any objection to linking "Pub.L." to Public law (United States)#Public Law? -- davidz (talk) 18:20, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

"Public law (United States)#Public Law" seems redundant. The statement at the top of the article (namely, "Public law (United States) redirects here") makes it clear why the reader landed there. That's what the statement is for. —Markles 19:13, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

In the meantime, Public Law (United States)" redirects to Act of Congress. Also, can someone explain in a different way why mentioning Congresses below 100 doesn't link to anything? E.g. {{USPL|89|236}}, which results in Pub.L. 86–236 (Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965)? -- Dandv(talk|contribs) 09:47, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

  • Last time I checked, the Acts of Congresses before the 100th had nothing to which to link.—GoldRingChip 00:17, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Messed up display[edit]

How did the edit to this template fix the messed up display?—Markles 11:34, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

The problem noted in the documentation was that on the template page itself the template displayed an error message. error: unrecognised punctuation character "{"
This edit made the first expression evaluate to if 0<100 ... , but because of the noinclude codes, this only affects the template page itself (not transclusions).
So now on the template page it displays Pub.L. {{{1}}}-{{{2}}}. I tested various uses of the template, and the change did not appear to affect them.
I wasn't quite clear if the question was about the mechanics of how the fix worked, or what the effect of the fix was. Hope this helps address the question. Zodon (talk) 23:17, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
I changed the code to fix it another way. Added a check to see if parameter 1 is empty, if so it displays an error message. (That way it gives more useful feedback on pages where this is used, also helps fix the problem with templates that call this one.) Zodon (talk) 08:16, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Link to .pdf rather than plain text?[edit]

I suggest changing the template so it links to the .pdf version, not the plain text version. My reasons are: (1) .pdf is more readable; and (2) .pdf is more authoritative. For example, the plain text version contains marginal comment codes embedded in the text, whereas the .pdf version contains those comments in the margin. Compare .pdf version of ARRA with the plain text version of ARRA. (The downside to my suggestion: .pdf may take longer to load, especially for large laws such as ARRA.) --Matjamoe (talk) 18:32, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

  • I'm inclined to oppose. I, for one, prefer the text versions over pdfs. PDFs are more cumbersome and not always as searchable. I didn't know that the pdf was more authoritative. The text version is easier to copy-and-paste. However, the pdfs have proper indenting. If there's a consensus here to change it, then I'll change the code myself.—Markles 22:57, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Here's why I say .pdf is more authoritative and accurate:
1. The .pdf files (since May, 2007) are issued with a GPO certificate and stamped as "AUTHENTICATED U.S. GOVERNMENT INFORMATION." The plain-text files are not authenticated in this manner.
  • That's a good point.—Markles 16:22, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
2. The .pdf files are correctly paginated with their legal statutory citations within the United States Statutes at Large (e.g., "123 Stat. 115"). The plain-text files simply have the bracketed page numbers embedded in the text, but without the proper page breaks.
  • The breaks aren't right on the text version? If so, then that's a good point, too.—Markles 16:22, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Perhaps I wasn't clear. What I mean to say is, plain text, by its nature, doesn't have page breaks. The pages will break differently depending on the user's hardware setup. The Statutes at Large page breaks will be noted on the plain-text document, but that doesn't mean the pages will break there. -Matjamoe (talk) 18:42, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
3. The .pdf files have a variety of marginal notes and citations for each law, as added by the Office of the Federal Register, published either in the header or in side notes. This information includes the public law number, date of enactment, bill number, popular name of the law, Statutes at Large citation, U.S. Code citation, and legislative history. The plain-text files have the same information, but instead of being marginal, it is embedded in the text itself, and therefore very difficult to understand.
For example, here's a quote from 123 Stat. 120 in plain text:
           (2) Timing for fiscal year 2009.--
       Not <<NOTE: Deadline.>> later than 60 days after the date of 
       enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall make available to 
       States amounts for fiscal year 2009 under paragraph (1). 
I suggest that this is actually an inaccuracy. A researcher searching for "Not later than 60 days" in the plain-text version would not find it here, because those words do not appear in that sequence in the file. Yet, those words are in that sequence in the law. That sequence is reflected in the .pdf file, and a search for "Not later than 60 days" in the .pdf file will find this quote (with the word "Deadline" neatly noted in the margin).
  • Why would a researcher be searching for "Not later than 60 days"? The marginal notes are more convenient than embedded notes, it's true.—Markles 16:22, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
4. Fonts are accurate only in the .pdf file. This is particularly noticable in the headings, where the plain text file displays small caps in lower case. Similarly, italicizations are ignored in the plain-text files. In the example above, "Timing for fiscal year 2009.--" is actually "TIMING FOR FISCAL YEAR 2009.—"
  • Such formatting has no statutory effect. It's an embellishment added to aid reading. It does, however, help when reading.—Markles 16:22, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
  • True, although some of the lower-level headings are actually all small letters (even beginnings of sentences and proper nouns) in plain text. It's distracting. Also, italics (for, e.g., provisos) don't show up, which is really useful in reading. -Matjamoe (talk) 18:42, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
5. Finally, I would simply note that the .pdf files are a whole lot more readable, and, as far as I know, just as searchable as plain text. (In some sense, more so—given point no. 3 above.) The .pdf file is what a typical Wikipedia user would hope to see when trying to access a Federal law; moreover, it is exactly what the user would see if the user had accessed the same law in a book. -Matjamoe (talk) 14:33, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
  • See my point immediately above.
  • Ok, those are all good points and pdf is the better option. The real reason, I'll admit, for my preference of text over pdf is that:
    1. My slow computer can better handle text over pdfs;
    2. I've been doing a lot of importing into Wikisource and I use the same code for {{USPL}} there (but it doesn't have to be the same); and
    3. I created this template (and many of its brethren), and I'm a little protective of them, especially this one.
  • All of your arguments are right on point and this is a collaborative project. Therefore, I'll make the change.Markles 16:22, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
  • But first: is there there a way to link to a site that gives the user the choice? THOMAS, for example, gives the reader the option here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/L?d111:./list/bd/d111pl.lst:1[1-13](Public_Laws)|TOM:/bss/d111query.html|. —Markles 16:22, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm all for giving the user the choice. If you can make it so that the Pub.L. link sends the user to a TXT/PDF option page, that's clearly the best solution. (In fact, the reason I started this discussion was because of a user edit in the ARRA page, in which an editor had added a second citation in the text to give the reader a .pdf choice. I removed the edit because it unnecessarily bogged down the opening line of a major article, and the .pdf option was available in the infobox, but I think the editor's identification of a need for a .pdf option was legitimate.) -Matjamoe (talk) 18:42, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Any idea how to do it?—Markles 19:27, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
  • My solution is based on your example above, but I can't make the code work. (I can't make the code work because I can't figure out how to get Wikipedia to pass square brackets to a URL.) Here's my solution:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/L?d111:./list/bd/d111pl.lst:5[5-5](Public_Law_111-5)
where "111" is {{{1}}} throughout, and "5" is {{{2}}} throughout (no leading zeroes). If you can figure out how to get Wikipedia to pass the square brackets to the URL, it would be a good solution. (Note: With a leading zero for 93-99, you can actually get this solution to return a result all the way back to the 93rd Congress!) -Matjamoe (talk) 22:01, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I'll get to work on it. It might take a while, though.—Markles 12:24, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Here's an interim solution that doesn't involve brackets.

{{#if:{{{1|}}}|{{#ifexpr: {{{1}}}<93|[[Public law (United States)|Pub.L.]] {{{1}}}-{{{2}}}|{{#ifexpr: {{{1}}}<100|[http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/L?d0{{{1}}}:./list/bd/d0{{{1}}}pl.lst:{{{2}}}(Public_Laws_beginning_with_Public_Law_{{{1}}}-{{{2}}}) Pub.L. {{{1}}}-{{{2}}}]|[http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/L?d{{{1}}}:./list/bd/d{{{1}}}pl.lst:{{{2}}}(Public_Laws_beginning_with_Public_Law_{{{1}}}-{{{2}}}) Pub.L. {{{1}}}-{{{2}}}]}}}}|<strong class="error"><nowiki>{{USPL|Congress|Ordinal}} missing Congress</nowiki></strong>}}<noinclude> {{Documentation}} </noinclude>

Unfortunately, this produces a long list of public laws, only the first of which is relevant to the reader. Still, it's easy to locate the law of interest, as it's at the top of the list—and the fact that it is at the top of the list is disclosed to the reader in the heading. What do you think? -Matjamoe (talk) 12:52, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
If you'd like to try this out, I put this template draft at User:Matjamoe/Sandbox/20090511. Here are some examples:
Matjamoe (talk) 07:57, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
  • I just changed the code based on a suggestion from s:Template:USPL. Please test it. Is it OK?15:01, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Very nice. It is clearly the best solution for the 104th Congress forward, and it seems to be the best solution for the 100th through the 103rd Congresses as well. But I think we could do better for the 93rd through 99th Congresses. How about this template? Here it is in action:
Matjamoe (talk) 14:25, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

assembler.law.cornell.edu is down[edit]

As of right now, templates like {{USPL|103|50}} expand to Pub.L. 103–50 (http://assembler.law.cornell.edu/usc-cgi/get_external.cgi?type=pubL&target=103-50), and http://assembler.law.cornell.edu itself times out. Dandv(talk|contribs) 08:45, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

  • You're right. Could it be a one-time problem, or is this going to last? If it lasts, we need an alternate.—GoldRingChip 22:03, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Removing "assembler" works, though the result looks somewhat unstyled? -- Dandv(talk|contribs) 02:36, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

New URL proposal[edit]

I propose we use LegisWorks.org.[1][2] LegisWorks.org can be used used for all public laws using their public law numbers (60th-current congress) or using their congress, chapter and session numbers (all other congresses), not just the GPO's 104th-current congresses (1995-) using the current LII link. {{USPL/sandbox}} and {{USPL/testcases}} have been updated. The Statutes at Large repeat public law numbers between sessions of the same congress for the 57th-59th congresses, which LegisWorks.org's URL scheme supports, so if we accept the session number as an optional third parameter we can also directly support these and all other public laws; else LegisWorks.org provides a disambiguation page. I also think the Wikisource effort could eventually be used along with this material to link directly to GPO or to Wikisource using this template. Int21h (talk) 21:41, 29 July 2014 (UTC) Int21h (talk) 00:29, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

  • I think the chapters and Public Laws that require the session information just need their own template (maybe Template:USCh or something else - and if people find it and use it, that's great for the citation's usability, but the real reason to go with Legisworks/LegisLink for all of the Public Laws from 1907-1951 and through to the present is that the 1907-1951 files are nowhere else coupled with using a simple URL approach to call up everything from 1907 to the present. Joecarmel (talk) 22:11, 30 July 2014 (UTC) P.S. Thanks for proposing this! Joecarmel (talk) 22:12, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
  • I support making this change to use LegisWorks.org. It looks awesome! As far as creating a separate template for items that require session information... I have mixed feelings. It'd be nice to have one template with multiple functions so that people don't have to go find the other one, but I suppose anyone trying to use the public law template is probably going to be willing to look for the more exact version. I don't have any of the knowledge necessary to make such a change myself, so I'll go along with whatever the group chooses. I definitely support starting to use legisworks.org for the general links though. Thanks! HistoricMN44 (talk) 13:33, 31 July 2014 (UTC)