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Federal Legislative History Research: Database Content Coverage

The legislative process, the documents generated by each step, and resources for finding Congressional documents.

Sources for Compiling Legislative History on Your Own

ProQuest Congressional

Congressional publications database, provides indexing, abstracts, and full-text for legislative documents dating back to 1789. Indexing is available for all documents from 1789 to current. Content coverage chart for Indiana University (Bloomington campus).

Full Text Collections in searchable PDF:

  • U.S. Bills and Resolutions (1789-present. Content to be added on an ongoing basis)

  • Committee Reports (U.S. Congressional Serial Set and American State Papers, 1789-2013)

  • Committee Prints (1830 to 2010)

  • Congressional Hearings (1824 to 2013)

  • Statutes at Large (1789 to current)

  • Congressional Record (permanent edition 1873-2001) (Predecessor publications, 1789-1873)

GovInfo and FDsys (open access, Government Publishing Office)

  • History of Bills (1983 - current)

  • Congressional Bills full-text (1993 - current)

  • Public and Private Laws full-text (1995 - current)

  • Congressional Record (daily ed.) full-text (1994 - current)

  • Congressional Reports (1995 - current)

  • Congressional Hearings (1997 - current)

HeinOnline > U.S. Congressional Documents Library

  • Congressional Record (permanent edition), Vols. 1-157 (1873-2011)

  • Congressional Record (daily edition), Vols. 126-161 (1980-2015)

  • Congressional Record Daily to Bound pagination locator

  • Includes predecessor publications (Annals of Congress, Register of Debates, Congressional Globe)

Congress.gov (open access, Law Library of Congress)

  • Legislation - Metadata, 93rd Congress (1973) to current

  • Legislation - Full Text, 103rd Congress (1993) to current

  • Congressional Record, 104th Congress (1995) to current (app)

  • Member Profiles, 93rd Congress (1973) to current

  • Committee Reports, 104th Congress (1995) to current

  • The Legislative Process: contains educational videos that provide a basic outline of the steps involved in the legislative process

  • U.S. Founding Documents

American Memory: A Century of Lawmaking (open access, Library of Congress)

  • House Bills and Resolutions, (1799 - 1811, 1813-1873)

  • Senate Bills and Resolutions, (1819 - 1873)

  • Senate Joint Resolutions, (1824 - 1826, 1829 - 1835, 1837 - 1873)

  • Statutes at Large, (1789 - 1875)

  • American State Papers, (1789 - 1838)

  • U.S. Serial Set, (selected documents and reports, 1833 - 1917)

  • House Journal, (1789 - 1875)

  • Senate Journal, (1789 - 1875)

  • Senate Executive Journal, (1789 - 1875)

  • Annals of Congress, (1789 - 1824)

  • Register of Debates, (1824 - 1837)

  • Congressional Globe, (1833 - 1873)

  • Congressional Record, (1873 - 1875)

Sources for Collections of Compiled Legislative Histories

HeinOnline

  • U.S. Federal Legislative History Library
  • Taxation & Economic Reform in America: Parts I & II, 1781-2011

ProQuest Congressional

  • Legislative Histories database indexes compiled legislative documents for Public Laws enacted since 1969
  • CRS Reports – title search, “legislative history”

ProQuest Legislative Insight

  • A Federal legislative history service that provides compilations of digital full text publications created by Congress during the process leading up to the enactment of U.S. Public Laws.
  • Coverage includes more than 27,000 professionally researched legislative histories from 1789-2013.  (See: Guide).

Print publications in Law Libraries – Search a library catalog: IUCAT or WorldCat to find print or digitized compiled legislative histories.


Westlaw: Access two compiled legislative history collections from the All Content tab in the directory (under Legislative History)

  • Arnold & Porter Legislative Histories: Thirty legislative histories of well-known acts, 1972 to current.
  • U.S. GAO Federal Legislative Histories: Compiled histories of most U.S. public laws enacted between 1921 and 1995.

PDF of Westlaw Screen Captures


Lexis.com:  Legal > Legislation & Politics - U.S. & U.K. > View More > U.S. Congress > Legislative Histories


Jerome Hall Law Library Government Documents Collection

Government documents are published by both the Government Publishing Office and by commercial publishers. Documents are available in print, microfilm and electronic format. The Jerome Hall Law Library receives U.S. Congressional documents through the Federal Depository Library Program

U.S. Government Documents are cataloged in IUCAT and the catalog records include information about format, holdings, locations, and electronic availability. The main collection of government documents is shelved on the fourth floor of the Law Library, and is organized by the Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) classification system

The Law Library provides access to government documents through official government online sources (Congress.gov and govinfo), and also purchases or subscribes to commercial databases which enhance the value and usage of the documents collection. Databases such as HeinOnline, ProQuest Congressional, ProQuest Legislative Insight and LLMC Digital provide indexing, abstracts, and full-text collections of historic and current government documents. The library also purchases other guides or finding aids for government documents from commercial publishers.