FRASER has earned a reputation for providing open access to a rich collection of historical materials related to economics, banking, and the Federal Reserve System. And, since economic history is happening every day, we work hard to capture it in the making. The FRASER team monitors over 35 government- and economics-related websites. As soon as new, relevant content is published, we quickly add it to our collection of more than half a million documents available to researchers.

How do we do it? We use to watch for changes to a website by targeting a particular area of a page’s HTML, such as a <div> element, likely to be updated with new content. For example, if a new link is added to the designated area, we get an email that shows the difference between the website before and after the link was added. By targeting a particular area of a site, we ensure that the service doesn’t bombard us with notification emails every time a navigation menu or a copyright date changes. While we try to capture as much as we can, we are limited by a few factors—particularly technological barriers and issues related to intellectual property.

Most of the websites we monitor are federal government agencies, and therefore the reports they issue are in the public domain. For example, we get the Economic Report of the President from the Government Publishing Office. Other sites give us the rights to share their resources either explicitly through a partnership agreement or indirectly through an open license. For example, while the Annual Report of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia is the intellectual property of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, we have permission to make this material available via FRASER. Though we’d love to be able to capture every document related to economic history, ever, some websites and content owners do not allow their materials to be shared. 

When we do get the chance to add a new website to the list of those actively monitor for new publications, we do a little bit of homework about the history of the publication. One of the things we look for is whether we already have prior publications in a given series. If we do, we make sure that future publications are added alongside our current holdings. If we do not, or if we find gaps in our holdings, we do our best to retroactively bring the collection up to date. For example, when we added the Joint Economic Report to our holdings, we were able to connect the recent publications with past publications all the way back to 1948.

So, whether you want the most up-to-date economic reports on your desk or you’re always on the lookout for that historical gem, FRASER brings them both together in one convenient location. If you’d like to keep on top of both new and new-to-us content being added to FRASER, you have many options. First, you can always check out the “What’s New” section of the FRASER home page, view the “What’s New” archive, or get the same feed delivered straight to you via our “What’s New” RSS feed. If you’d rather receive regular updates, then you’ll definitely want to sign up for our curated monthly newsletter. And be sure to follow us on Twitter (@FedFRASER) for collection highlights and additions.

Finally, another way we learn of new and relevant resources is from users like you! If you are aware of an economic report or information source that you’d like us to consider adding to FRASER, please let us know at

Here’s a full list of the publications we currently monitor: 

Congressional Records

Federal Agencies

Federal Reserve System

© 2019, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect official positions of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis or the Federal Reserve System.

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