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Compiling a Federal Legislative History: A Beginner’s Guide

Congressional Documents

Congressional documents concern a wide variety of subjects and include all papers ordered printed by the House or Senate apart from congressional committee reports. As described by the Government Publishing Office (GPO), congressional documents “may include reports of executive departments and independent organizations, reports of special investigations made for Congress, and annual reports of non-governmental organizations.”  Researchers also frequently ask us for assistance in finding Senate treaty documents, which contain the “the text of a Treaty as it is submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification by the President of the United States.”  House and Senate document citations include the number of the Congress and the number of the document. For example, S.Doc. 114-15 indicates the fifteenth document from the 114th Congress. Similarly, an example of a Senate treaty document is Treaty Doc. 114-1.

Subscription Resources

The subscription resources marked with a padlock  are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress.  If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.

Free Online Resources

Print Resources