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Library Guides

Government Information

Guide to Government Information and Drew University's Federal Documents Library

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Serial Set?

"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. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, executive-branch materials were also published in the Serial Set." (from the Library of Congress )

Where can I access the Serial Set?

The Drew Library does not have physical copies of the Serial Set. However, it can be accessed online.

  • The Serial Set available in full text online and keyword searchable via FDsys and GovInfo (Government Printing Office) from the 104th Congress onward.
  • The Library of Congress provides access to earlier volumes of the Serial Set for the following Congresses 23rd (1833)| 25th | 27th | 30th | 31st | 32nd | 33rd | 34th | 35th | 36th | 37th | 38th | 39th | 40th | 41st | 42nd | 45th | 49th | 50th | 51st | 52nd | 53rd | 54th | 56th | 57th | 58th | 59th | 60th | 61st | 63rd | 64th (1915-1917).What kinds of tools are available to access the Serial Set? Documents and Reports in the Serial Set for the above congresses are facsimile, and full text searching within documents is limited. An index is available for some documents, which can aid finding subjects within these documents. From the Library of Congress "Documents and reports from the U.S. Serial Set consist for the most part of digital facsimile images. The searchability of these items varies considerably, however. Some items - for example, those featured in the special presentations - consist of machine-readable text, while others have limited (e.g., index only) or no searchability. Included in the U.S. Serial Set link page are individual U.S. Serial Set documents, reports, and maps digitized in other American Memory collections. However, these items will not yield any hits through searches limited to A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation, however."
  • The Government Catalog (Via GPO) provides a catalog to the Serial Set. "This catalog contains records for House and Senate Reports, House and Senate Documents, Senate Executive Reports and Documents, and Senate Treaty Documents. The records date from July 1976 and are complete from the 95th Congress (1977-1978) to the present. Links are provided to publications when they are available online."
  • ProQuest Congressional (Drew access only - access from Electronic Resources by Title) provides indexing to Reports and Documents that make up the Serial Set from 1969 onward. Full text is limitedProvides legislative history of bills.
  • CONGRESS.GOV (from the Library of Congress) - provides full text searching of bills in the House and Senate from the 101st Congress (1989-1991) onward. The Summary box is comprehensive, providing links to bills, hearings, House and Senate reports and documents, CBO scoring of bills, and Congressional Research Service articles, where available and legislative histories. Full text of Serial Set materials is available.
  • US DOCS REF 328.73 C749c CIS US Serial Set Index, located on Level A in the Rose Memorial Library section of the Library (map), provides subject access to Reports and Documents that make up the Serial Set from 1789 through 1969. Finding List volumes are part of this multi-volume set, placing Reports and Documents to their appropriate Serial Set volumes. The best resource for locating older Documents and Reports within the Serial Set. Also provides legislative histories of bills.
  • U.S. Congressional Serial Set: Numerical Lists of Documents and Reports(85th Congress (1957-1958 onward) "lists numerically, with a brief title, all of the Senate and House Documents and Reports issued during a Session of Congress. The Numerical List also indicates the specific volume of the Congressional Serial Set in which each Document and Report is bound." Best way to find which Serial Set volume contains a specific Report of Document.
  • U.S. Congressional Serial Set: Schedule of Serial Set Volumes (100th Congress (1987 onward) "lists numerically, by Serial Number, each volume of the Congressional Serial Set as well as the contents of each volume." Best way to find which Serial Set volume contains a specific Report of Document.

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