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Tutt Library Research Guides


Congressional and Legislative Tracking: Congressional Documents


Congressional Universe (CC and library use)
Information published by and about the U.S. Congress. Subject searching and:

  1. Documents: bills and bill tracking, 1989-; hearing transcripts and submitted testimony, 1988-; committee reports, 1989-; selected committee prints, 1995-; Congressional documents, 1995-
  2. Laws & Regulations: public laws, 1988-; Federal Register, 1980-; Code of Federal Regulations, current; U.S. Code, current;
  3. News/Records of Congress: Congressional Record, 1985-; National Journal, 1977-; Congress Daily, 1991-; member information (voting records, key votes, committee membership, financial disclosure, campaign financial data and contributions); and Congressional rules.

The paper equivalent is the CIS INDEX AND ABSTRACTS, 1970-1996 (DOCS INDEX). Find the SuDocs call number and look for the publication in the paper or microfiche collection.

FedSys – searchable titles, the Congressional databases include:

  • Congressional Directory, 1995-
  • Congressional Record, 1994-
  • Congressional Record Index, 1983-
  • Congressional Reports, 1995-
  • History of Bills, 1983-
  • Public Laws, 1995- and U.S. Statutes at Large, 1951-


GPO’s U.S. Government Catalog - contains records from 1976 forward and many older items too, get call numbers to locate at Tutt Library or link online.

Monthly Catalog of the U.S. Government Publications, 1895-1976. (DOCS GP 3.8)
   - Congressional hearings and reports and departmental documents.
   - Use the annual index for subjects or names.
   - Before 1947 theindex number reference is to a page number; after 1947 the reference is to a citation number.
   - Note the SuDOCS call number for hearings or prints (Y 4.), bill numbers, Report and Document numbers including Congress and session numbers (ex. 101st Congress, 1st Session).

Congressional Record [title varies], 1789-
(DOCS ENCLOSED, 1789-1899; and DOCS X)
   - Official record of the floor debates and votes of Congress.
   - “Senate Bills and Resolutions” and “House Bills and Resolutions” sections at the end of each year’s index volume are arranged by bill number.
   - Provides short title and notes sponsor, committee assigned, reports, amendments, House "rules," conferences, conference reports, votes, Presidential action, all with the appropriate page numbers.
   - “History of Bills Enacted into Public Law” at the back of the each year’s “Daily Digest” volume is arranged by public law number and gives the bill number that was passed, its companion bill in the other chamber (if there was one), committees assigned, and date and number of House and Senate reports.

See Congressional Universe and The Monthly Catalog of the U.S. Government Publications indexes to locate hearings and their DOCS call
   - To locate the House and Senate Reports and Documents for each bill, note the citation (H. Rept. 365, 98th Congress, Second Session) and then locate the Serial Set volume in which the report has been placed.
   - (See middle column for “Serial Set” Numbers for House and Senate Documents and Reports.")
   - (See next tab the full text of a bill.)


Hearings contain the testimony of people interested in a government program/initiative or in the passage or defeat of a bill — representatives of the administrative branch, members of Congress, state and local officials, interest group representatives, and others. (Hearings are not held for every bill.)
Tutt Library has most hearings 1965 to present in paper or microfiche. Selected hearings are available via:
   - Congressional Universe from 1988-
   - FedSys
  - Earlier years must be requested from CU Boulder.

For call numbers for a bill, look for the year that the legislation was introduced and for years after until the legislation was passed or dropped. Bills on the same topic must be reintroduced at the beginning of each new Congress (every 2 years) and will have different bill numbers.

Congressional Universe
Search by Subject (1970-), Title (1970-), or Text of Testimony (1988- ). If no full text, use the SuDocs call number to locate in the Tutt collection.
Or CIS Index and Abstracts, 1970- (DOCS INDEX) note SuDocs number and check the paper or microfiche Docs collection.

Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications, 1895- (DOCS G 3.8)
(See description under “Finding Congressional Legislative Documents.”)
    - Search by the subject of the legislation.
    - Note the SuDOC number for the hearing(s) or committee print(s) starts with Y 4.
    - Look for call numbers in the paper and microfiche collections.


Committee Documents and Reports include committee roll call votes if there were any. They describe the purpose of the bill and the reasons the Committee recommends approval, cost estimates, any executive request about the bill, the text of changes in existing laws, and Committee amendments to the original bill.

They are collated after several years in bound volumes of the Serial Set (volumes 1-5216 are in DOCS ENCLOSED, 5217- are in DOCS).
  - Serial Set volumes from 1979– have the Reports and Documents in chronological order by series located with Congress and Report/Document numbers.
  - From 1789–1978 they are randomly bound, locate the volume number using the Checklist, 1789-1910 and Numerical Lists and Schedule of Volumes, 1910-1980 listed below.

Congressional Universe (CC and library use)
  - use “Text of Documents”, 1995- and “Text of Reports”, 1990
  - search by topic, limit to a committee and Congress number (date).

  - “Congressional Documents”, 1995- or “Congressional Reports”, 1995-

U.S. Serial Set Index, 1789-1969. (DOCS INDEX)
Arranged in 4 time periods, 3 vols. each, by broad subject headings. Use the subject volumes for topics. Each citation includes the Serial Set volume number (e.g., H.Ex doc.256 (41-2) 1425 = House Executive Document number 256, 41st Congress, 2nd session, Serial Set number 1425). 

U.S. Congressional Serial Set Catalog, 1981- (DOCS INDEX)
Arranged by Congress, then by chamber and report or document. Gives Congressional Serial Set number in which appropriate report can be found. 

Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, 1895- (DOCS)
  - (See description under “Finding Congressional Legislative Documents.”)
  - Search by the subject of the legislation. Note the type of Report or Document and Congress (also session if available).
  - Use the Checklist or the Numerical Lists and Schedule of Volumes

Numerical Lists and Schedule of Volumes, 1933-1980. (DOCS INDEX)

Checklist of U.S. Public Documents 1789-1910. (DOCS INDEX)
   - first part is a chronological list of Congressional publications including the Serial Set volume number in which they appear.
   - Listing is by Congress and Session.
   - Use if House or Senate Document or Report number from a particular Congress is known.
   - Locate the Congress and session (if available), then find the Report or Document number and note the Serial Set volume number in the left column in bold type.


Information about “rules” in the House, whether there was floor debate and/or a conference committee and report, votes, and related questions:

Congressional Universe

  • Use “Congressional Record”


  • Find the Congressional Record citation
  • issues in Docs Enclosed and Docs (X 1)

FedSys, 1983-

  • “Congressional Record Index” for page numbers
  • “Congressional Record” to search full text 

Congressional Record [title varies], 1789-
(DOCS ENCLOSED 1789-1899 and DOCS X 1.1:1900-)

  • Official record of the floor debates and votes of Congress.
  • "Senate Bills and Resolutions" and "House Bills and Resolutions" sections at the end of each year’s index volume give page numbers for:
    • "rules," debate, conferences, conference reports, and votes

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