The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO), in collaboration with the Law Library of Congress, has digitized and made available volumes of the United States Congressional Serial Set on govinfo. The release comes as part of a large decade-long partnership to digitize more than 15,000 volumes and more than 9.4 million pages of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set back to the first volume, which was published in 1817. GPO and the Law Library began this digitization effort two years ago.
The United States Congressional Serial Set, commonly referred to as the Serial Set, is a compilation of all numbered House and Senate reports and documents, including executive reports and treaty documents, issued for each session of Congress. As a chronicle of events of the U.S. Congress over the years, the Serial Set is one of the Nation’s most treasured publications.
This first public release contains selected volumes from the 69th Congress (1925–1927), the 82nd Congress (1951–1953), and several 19th century Congresses. The public can access these volumes of the Serial Set on govinfo at https://www.govinfo.gov/app/collection/serialset.
Some notable information available in this release includes:
- Plans for the District of Columbia, including the extension of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal;
- Resolutions relative to slavery, the slave-trade, and the emancipation of slaves; and
- The Teapot Dome scandal.
The remaining 15,118 volumes will be released throughout the next ten years.
Jane Sanchez previously served GPO as its Director of Library Services and Content Management. Prior to her passing in early 2021, she worked as the Law Librarian of Congress and spearheaded the effort to digitize the Congressional Serial Set.
Searching the Serial Set
govinfo contains Serial Set volumes from a selection of Congresses. Additional volumes will be added periodically as they are digitized. Serial Set volumes and individual documents are available as Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files. In addition, ALTO XML files, a machine-readable format, are available within the Serial Set ZIP files for individual documents. Learn more about the Serial Set, ways to search or create complex queries using metadata fields and values, and various other details to assist in accessing the Serial Set content in govinfo here.
- Serial Set is available for full-text searching, and you can also use metadata fields and values to craft specific searches through either the Basic Search or Advanced Search. Searchable metadata fields include: Full-Text, Branch, Category, Citation, Government Author, Series, SuDoc Class Number, Title, Chamber of Congress, Congress Number, Document Number, Document Part, Document Type, President, Subject, and more. See additional fields available for searching the Serial Set.
- Serial Set volumes are available to browse and download at the document level. Documents are comprised of the numbered Senate and House Documents and Senate and House Reports, bound by session of Congress. The contents of the Serial Set have varied throughout the publication’s history, and at times have included House and Senate Journals, and the reports of executive departments and agencies.
- Use the Basic Search functionality and the facets located to the left side of search results to target your search in greater detail. This example shows Senate Reports from the Serial Set that include documents with the words "bridge across the Ohio River".
- See this example using Advanced Search functionality for Serial Set documents. Select Congressional Serial Set from the drop-down list. Under Search In, select up to five fields, including full-text, over which to search the Serial Set collection. In this example, Congress Number is 31, Document Type is House Document, the full-text input is "General Patterson"; then click the Search button.
- Serial Set documents are also searchable using the Citation Search functionality. See this example by selecting Congressional Serial Set, House Report, 69th Congress, and then type 2297. Click the Search button and choose the PDF or details option.
For more information about this treasured publication, view recordings of webinars available through the FDLP academy, "Delving into the U.S. Congressional Serial Set" and “U.S. Congressional Set Collection Debuting on govinfo”.