Congressional Sources and Indexes
Internet Resources | Background information | Directories, and Biographical Information | Reports and Documents | Committee Prints | Debates | Hearings | Journal of Proceedings | Bills & Resolutions | Laws & the US Code | Legislative History | Congressional Member Organizations | Congressional Coverage/Policy Synopsis
The three best-known sets of internet resources for congressional materials are GPO Access, Lexis/Nexis Congressional (UC Access Only) and the Library of Congress' Thomas. Links to these resources have been provided where appropriate (or available) in this guide.
The search interfaces for each of the products varies. Thomas and Lexis/Nexis Congressional provide links to other documents and sources where relevant. GPO Access provides pdf as well as text versions the documents, and Thomas links to GPO Access PDF versions.
For a comparison of the coverage of these resources as well as additional sources see the guide Internet Sources for Legislative & Regulatory Information.
- Congress A to Z. 2nd ed. Washington, D.C. Congressional Quarterly, 2003
- JK1021.C554 2003 Moffitt Reference
- Congressional Encyclopedia Congressional Quarterly Electronic Library. UC Access Only
- Congressional Quarterly's guide to Congress. 5th ed. Washington,
D.C. : Congressional Quarterly Inc., 2000.
- JK1021 C559 2000 Doe Reference Govt/Stat and Moffitt Reference
- Encyclopedia of the United States Congress. New York : Simon & Schuster, c1995.
- JK1067.E63 1995 Doe Reference
- How Our Laws are Made: House and the Senate's Enactment of a Law
- How Congress works. 3nd ed. Washington, D.C. : Congressional Quarterly,
- JK1061 H69 1998 Moffitt
- Legislative Process Congressional Quarterly Electronic Library. UC Access Only
- Understanding Congress: a Bicentennial Research Conference (1989 : Washington,
D.C.) Understanding Congress : research perspectives. G.P.O., 1991.
- JK1061 U53 1989 Main
Directories and Biographical Information
- Biographical directory of the American Congress. [1774/1996] Alexandria, Va. : CQ Staff Directories, c1997
- JK1010.B5 Doe Reference Biographies
- Biographical directory of the United States Congress. (1774-present)
- A searchable directory for Representatives, Senators, Delegates, Vice Presidents, Presidents, Resident Commissioners, members of the Continental Congress, and Speakers of the House. Often provides a brief bibliography for further research.
- Congressional staff directory. Mount Vernon, Va.: Congressional
- JK1012 C65 Doe Reference Directories
- Congressional yellow book. Washington, D.C. : Washington Monitor
- JK1010 C68 Doe Reference Directories
- United States. Congress. Official congressional directory. Washington,
(U.S. GPO. 105th Congress [1995/96] to present)
- JK1011 Doe Reference Directories
- Lexis/Nexis CongressionalMembers Database. UC Access Only (105th Congress [1997/98] to present)
- Congressional Quarterly Members of Congress . UC Access Only (91st Congress  to present)
- Find members based on name or selected demographic data (e.g., religion, occupation, military service)
About the Serial Set: The United States Congressional Serial Set, commonly referred to as the Serial Set or Congressional Series or (before 1907) the Sheep-bound set, began publication with the 15th Congress, 1st session (1817). Documents of the first fourteen Congresses were published as the American State Papers. The Serial Set contains the House and Senate Documents and the House and Senate Reports. The reports are usually from congressional committees dealing with proposed legislation and issues under investigation. The documents include all other papers ordered printed by the House or Senate. Documents cover a wide variety of topics and may include reports of executive departments and independent organizations, reports of special investigations made for Congress, and annual reports of non-governmental organizations. See also: An Overview of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set via Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C., Inc.
- Lexis/Nexis Congressional:
- Congressional Historical Indexes UC Access Only
- Reports and documents are indexed and searchable by topic, committee, bill number, etc.
- Lexis/Nexis Congressional: CIS Index UC Access Only
- Reports and documents are indexed and searchable by topic, committee, bill number, etc.,
- 1st-14th Congress:
- American state papers. Documents, legislative and executive, of the Congress of the United States. Selected and edited under the authority of Congress. [ASP]
- J33 Main
- Microfiche 3136 GREF
- 15th Congress(1839) - 91st Congress (1969)
- United States Congressional serial set.
Includes a complete cumulation of: House Reports, House documents, Senate Report, and Senate documents.
- J66 Main; [Many volumes at NRLF]
- Microfiche 3136 GREF
- 92nd (1970) - 104nd (1993/1994)
- United States Congressional serial set. Includes a complete cumulation of: House Reports, House documents, Senate Report, and Senate documents.
- J66 Main; [Many volumes at NRLF]
- 103rd Congress(1994/95)--
- Senate document
- Microfiche 24117 News/Micro
- Senate Treaty document
- Microfiche 24118 News/Micro
- Senate Report
- Microfiche 24119 News/Micro
- Senate Executive reports
- Microfiche 24120 News/Micro
- House documents
- Microfiche 24121 News/Micro
- House Report
- Microfiche 24122 News/Micro
American Memory: Century of Law Making for a New Nation
- This release includes selected volumes printed during the 23rd (1834-35) to the 64th (1915-17) Congresses.
- GPO Access (104th Congress [1995/96]-present)
- Senate, House and Treaty Documents
Senate, House and Executive Reports
- Lexis/Nexis Congressional: Publications (101st Congress [1989/1990] to present) UC Access Only
- Note: These publications are text only, without pagination.
- Readex U.S. Congressional Serial Set Digital Edition (1817-1980) UC Access Only
- Project schedule: As of July 2004, the database was complete for the 15th through the 25st Congresses (1817-1859). By December 2004, the 15th through the 35th Congresses (1817-1859) will be complete. By June 2007, the 1st through the 55th Congresses (1789-1899) will be complete. The entire project is scheduled for completion in 2008. For the most current information on the Congresses and periods covered, check the help after you have entered the database.
Indexing | UCB Holdings | Full-text Online
About Hearings: If a bill warrants consideration, a hearing may be scheduled. Hearings are most often held about a particular bill, however they may also be exploratory (e.g. many of the 1991 hearings on the Exxon Valdez oil spill). Appropriations hearings may provide more detailed statistical and descriptive data about government agencies. Speeches or presentations for hearings are sometimes confused with speeches in the Congressional Record. The Congressional Record contains speeches made on the floor of the House and Senate. Hearings take place in front of a committee or subcommittee, and most of the speakers are not Members of Congress.
- Indexing 1789-1969
Lexis/Nexis Congressional: Congressional Historical Indexes UC Access Only
- Note: This also includes Indexes to Unpublished Hearings Through 1980. "Unpublished" hearings are formerly classified hearings that have since been de-classified. Some of the hearings were classified for reasons of national security. Others were unpublished for reasons of short-term sensitivity or to protect the confidentiality of witnesses.
- Indexing 1970-present
Lexis/Nexis Congressional: CIS Index UC Access Only
- Hearings are searchable by witness name, witness affiliation, topic, committee, bill number, etc.
- UCB Holdings
Prior to the 1920's, most hearings were not distributed to depository libraries. UCB has microfiche sets to cover these years (sets 1A, 1B and 2). These were filmed from hearings in the U.S. Senate Library. The line in the citation information "CIS-HEARINGS-MICROFICHE-GROUP: 1A" is used to aid the user in finding the correct portion of the microfiche, and to determine whether or not we have the hearing in the portion of the microfiche UCB owns.
- U.S. congressional committee hearings on microfiche, early 1800s [through 1969] [microform] Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 
- Microfiche 1861 GREF (sets 1-3)
- 1920's and later hearings are individually cataloged in OskiCat and searchable (e.g. title, subject). For finding the particular hearing that witness testified at, the Indexes must be used. UCB House and Senate Appropriation Committee Hearings through the 99th Congress are at NRLF. Please check the OskiCat set records for NRLF numbers. [House: J61.A6; Senate: J60.A6]
- Full-text Online:
Lexis/Nexis Congressional: Testimony (1988-present) UC Access Only.
- Note: This transcript is provided by recorders in attendance at the hearing and is a version much like what one would see on C-SPAN. Occasionally words are missed, or the full testimony is not provided for a speaker (this is often a "short form" of the testimony, and not the longer version that shows up in the GPO Access Version, or the printed hearing). Transcripts usually show up here within 24 hours of the hearing if the hearing is covered by the transcript service.
- GPO Access, Hearings (105th Congress [1997/98]-present).
- Note: Not all congressional hearings are available on GPO Access. Whether or not a hearing is disseminated on GPO Access depends on the committee. This is the final, edited, version of the hearing. It includes opening statements from Members of Congress, witness testimony (the longer, submitted statement), and the Questions and Answers posed during the hearing, and any from the followup. Hearings take longer (weeks or months) to appear here as the they are edited, and an affirmative decision is made by the Committee to print the hearing.
- Several committees have recent testimony through their committee web sites.
- House Committees
- Senate Committees
About Committee Prints: Committee prints are publications prepared for the use of the Committee and their staff. They may be written by agencies (e.g. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, prepared by the United States Department of State) or by the Congressional Research Service. They cover a wide variety of topics including the War Powers Resolution, Social Security Legislation, or reports of fact-finding missions by Members of Congress.
Committee prints are indexed and searchable by topic, committee, bill number, etc.,
UCB has many Committee Prints in paper housed in the Main Stacks. These are individually cataloged in OskiCat and searchable (e.g. title, subject).1789-1969 - For items prior to 1969, microfiche set 1164 in Newspaper/Periodicals has a complete set of Committee Prints filed by the CIS number. e.g. "CIS-NO: H6844" 1975-present - For items after 1975, the microfiche set 913 is held in GREF. Note the CIS Year and Abstract number from the index before going to the microfiche. Full-text Online
There are not many Committee Prints available in full-text online. The best sources are:
GPO Access Congressional Committee Prints (105th Congress [1997/1998] to present)
Lexis/Nexis Congressional: Publications (103rd Congress [1993/1994] to present) UC Access Only
Note: These publications are text only, without pagination.
Journal of Proceedings
The House and Senate each publish a Journal for each session of Congress. It has been published as a separate series (1789-1815 and 1953-present), and published as part of the Congressional Serial Set (1817-1952). The Journals contain a list of bills and resolutions introduced each day by number and title. The text of bills, except parts affected by amendments, and debate on bills are not included. They also contain titles of memorials and petitions to Congress, the annual messages of the President, veto messages, and other communications to the respective house. The Journal of the Senate contains proceedings of impeachment trials in the Senate. The section called History of Bills and Resolutions is found in the appendix of each Journal. It contains a complete numerical list of all Senate and House bills and resolutions for the session arranged separately. There is a subject index to this section of bills and resolutions, and to the Journal itself. UCB Holdings of the Journals are in the guide: Journals of Congress
Public Laws/Statutes/ U.S. Code
- United States statutes at large. (vol. 1 -- ).
- KA10.A2 GREF
- Every law, public and private, ever enacted by the Congress is published in the Statutes at Large in order of the date of its passage. Until 1948, all treaties and international agreements approved by the Senate were also published in the set. In addition, the Statutes at Large includes the text of the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, amendments to the Constitution, treaties with Indians and foreign nations, and presidential proclamations.
- American Memory Project: Statutes at Large (vol. 1 - vol. 18 )
- GPO Access Public and Private Laws (1995-present)
- Lexis/Nexis Congressional: Laws (1789-present) UC Access Only
- United States code : containing the general and permanent laws of the United States, in force on January 2, 2001. (2000 ed.) U.S. G.P.O., 2000.
- KF62 2000.A2 2001 GREF
- The United States Code is the codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States. It is divided by broad subjects into 50 titles. Since 1926, the U.S. Code has been published every six years. In between editions, annual cumulative supplements are published in order to present the most current information.
- GPO Access: United States Code (1994 to present)
- Lexis/Nexis Congressional, United States Code UC Access
Only In addition to the laws themselves, includes annotations to court cases interpreting the laws.
- Shepard's acts and cases by popular names, Federal and State. Colorado Springs, Co. :Shepard's inc.
- KF80 S5 Doe Reference Govt/Stats
- U.S. Congress. House. Calendars of the U.S. House of Representatives and history of legislation.
- J47 A3 GREF, 75th Congress (1937- present) in GREF
- Briefest legislative history, has access points including bill/resolutions number, public law number, subject. Does not include references to hearings.GPO Access: Calendars of the U.S. House of Representatives (Final House Calendar 104th Congress [1995/96] to Daily Calendar of the current session of Congress).
- Senate Calendar of Business (Final Senate Calendar 104th Congress [1995/96] to Daily Calendar of the current session of Congress).
- Lexis/Nexis Congressional: Bill Tracking (101st Congress [1989/90] to present) UC Access Only
- "Bill Tracking" includes actions, votes and publications.
- Legislative Histories (91st Congress [1969/70] to present) UC Access Only
- CIS Legislative Histories list congressional publications associated
with each public law. For all legislative histories from 1984 forward, there
will be hypertext links to CIS abstracts for congressional publications.
Thomas: Bill Summary & Status (93rd Congress [1973-1974] to present)
- U.S. Congress. Congressional record : proceedings and debates of the ... Congress. 1873-- .
- J11 R5 Main (non-circulating), Unbound in GREF
see Debates guide for UCB holdings information.
- Brief legislative history, includes references to pages within the Congressional Record. Does not include references to hearings.
- U.S. Congress. Journal of the House of Representatives ... and Journal of the Senate .... 1789-present.
- See guide to the Journals for UCB Holdings
The Journals contain a list of bills and resolutions introduced each day by number and title. The text of bills, except parts affected by amendments, and debate on bills are not included (see Debates). The section called History of Bills and Resolutions is found in the appendix of each Journal. It contains a complete numerical list of all Senate and House bills and resolutions for the session arranged separately. There is a subject index to this section of bills and resolutions.
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About Congressional Member Organizations: Within the US Congress there are a number of study groups, conferences, coalitions and caucuses that focus on issues of common interest and concern. They range from the Democratic Policy Committee and Congressional Black Caucus to the Wine Caucus, Senate Auto Caucus and the Senate Wednesday Group. These Congressional Member Organizations (CMOs) produce a range of policy materials, including monographic studies and reports, newsletters or bulletins, fact sheets and other items published irregularly, and "Dear Colleague" letters. These publications are concerned with key issues and legislation. With their concentration on the legislative calendar and on partisan and other regional or special interests, CMO publications provide perspectives on Congress that are otherwise missing in the official literature.
- Congressional member organizations & caucuses. Bethesda, MD : Congressional Information Service, c1992
- Z1223.A2a GREF Indexes, (1991-present)
- Microfiche owned by California State Library, please ask at Doe Reference Desk for loan information. Return to contents