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Government Information - United States   Tags: congress, congressional, data, government, government information, laws, legislation, political science  

Last Updated: Sep 15, 2016 URL: http://guides.lib.ucdavis.edu/usgov Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Quick Guide to congressional documents Print Page

Quick Guide to Congressional Documents in Shields Library

This "Quick Guide" is a checklist of Congressional documents available in Shields Library in either print, microfiche or electronic format.  Formats for congressional publications have changed over the years.  While we have access to many congressional documents online, all are not available from the same source or vendor. 

Note:  for historical government publications, the Union List of Microform Government Publications Collections and Holdings [UC Libraries] lists holding libraries. 


Congressional bills are legislative proposals from the House of Representatives and Senate within the United States Congress. There are six different types of bills. House bills (H.R.) and Senate bills (S.) require the approval of both chambers (ie House and Senate) and the signature of the President to become law. Other types are:  House Joint Resolutions (H.J. Res.), Senate Joint Resolutions (S.J. Res.), House Concurrent Resolutions (H. Con. Res.) and Senate Concurrent Resolutions (S. Con. Res.), House Simple Resolutions (H. Res.) and Senate Simple Resolutions (S. Res.). 

  • ProQuest Digital U.S. Bills and Resolutions  
  • Thomas
    101st Congress, 1989 to present
  • FDsys (bills)
    103rd Congress, 1993 to present. Bills from GPO in pdf.
  • GPO Microfiche collection
    98th Congress,
    Use Cumulative finding Aid for House & Senate Bills to locate fiche coordinates. Shields Library Microcopy Collection KF49 .S952
    Microfiche is filed as DOC Y1.4 etc. mf in the SuDocs microfiche collection. The Finding Aid is usually kept on top of the cabinets.
  • [Bills and resolutions] - United States Congress
    1stCong. (1798/91)-72nd Cong. (1931/33)(microfilm)
    Located at the Law Library only.
    (check Law Library catalog...)
    90th Cong.(1967/68)-95th Cong.(1973/74)(Print)
    Located at the Law Library only.

Committee Documents and Reports (Serial Set)

Following hearings and markup, a reported measure may be accompanied by a written document, called a report, describing the measure's purposes and provisions and telling Members why this version has been reported and why it should be passed. The report reflects the views of a majority of the committee, but also may contain minority, supplemental, or additional views of committee members. It usually includes estimates of the legislation's cost if it were to become law, various statements of its impact and application, a section-by-section analysis, and a comparison with existing law.  House and Senate Documents represent a wide range of publications including presidential messages and vetoes, budget related materials, financial disclosure reports, special studies, and other documents requested by Congress.

  • U.S. Congressional Serial Set [Readex]  Icon
    15th Congress, 1817 through 96th Congress, 1980. Full text searching, Congressional Committee reports and documents.
  • Proquest Congressional (formerly LexisNexis)  Icon
    1990, 101st Congress, to present is full text; Index and legislative history 1789 to present.
  • FDsys Congressional Documents (GPO)
    1985, 99th Congress to present from GPO.
    (1985-1986 Senate only)
  • Congressional Documents & Reports in print
    Check the Harvest catalog by title for print collections of Congressional Committee reports and documents; print for 1996, (104th Congress) to present. Older committee documents and reports in the Congressional Serial Set. (See Bound Congressional Serial Set.)
  • Congressional Documents and Reports in microfiche
    1979-1986 only in GPO microfiche.
    SuDoc numbers filed in the microfiche collection are -
    DOC Y1.1/3: Senate Documents
    DOC Y1.1/4: Senate Treaty Documents
    DOC Y1.1/5: Senate Reports
    DOC Y1.1/6: Senate Executive Reports
    DOC Y1.1/7: House Documents
    DOC Y1.1/8: House Reports

  • Bound Congressional Serial Set
    1839-1978; incomplete holdings at NRLF. Need serial set volume no. to request from NRLF - use Oskicat to find volumes. [this is a link to the Oskicat record for UCD's Serial Set holding at NRLF] Here is a link to Serial Set volume nos.
  • U.S. Serial Set [Library of Congress]
    1833 through 1917, (23rd -64th Congress) - incomplete digitized volumes.

Committee Hearings

Congressional committees frequently hold hearings to receive testimony from individuals not on the committee. Hearings may be for legislative, oversight, or investigative purposes.  Hearings are published but publication may take many months following the committee's hearing. 

Hearings in Shields Library are in print or online.  All hearings in print are listed in the the Harvest catalog and are located in the Government Information Stacks.  Online hearings may have a record in the Harvest catalog, or may be in one of the online databases.

  • Harvest catalog  
    Many hearings are cataloged and in print in the Government Documents stacks. More recent hearings are cataloged in the catalog for the online copy as well as a print copy.
  • Proquest Congressional (formerly LexisNexis)  Icon
    1824 to 1979 full text hearings. Indexes to present. Testimony files available from 1989 to present. (the testimonies are individual presentations to the committee transcribed at the time of the hearing and prior to publication)
  • FDsys  
    99th Congress, 1985 to present. Congressional hearings from GPO. [incomplete - all hearings are not online]
  • House Committee live video streams
    Beginning in March, 2012, the Library of Congress started streaming video of House Committee Hearings on Thomas.

Proceedings & Debates

The Congressional Record is a substantially verbatim account of remarks made during the proceedings of the House and Senate. It has been published by the Government Printing Office (GPO) since 1873.  Before 1873, records of congressional proceedings were kept under various titles: Annals of Congress, Register of Debates and Congressional Globe.

Committee Prints

Many committee prints owned by Shields Library are listed in the Harvest Catalog and are filed by the SuDocs numbers in the Gov Docs stacks.  The library does not have a complete collection of committee prints.   Search Harvest Catalog for any prints that the library may have.

Historical Committee prints are indexed in:

CIS US congressional committee prints index : from the earliest publications through 1969   .  Congressional Information Service.  Located in Government Information Reference,  Shields Library Humanities/Social Sciences Government Information J74 .C66

UC Davis does not have the microfiche collection of historical committee prints, but they may by borrowed through Interlibrary loan.


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