Congressional Record – Additional Digital Resources

Research news alert from the HeinOnline’s blog – Additions to the internet federal legislative history resources

The GPO has recently partnered with the Library of Congress to release an authenticated digital version of historical issues of the bound Congressional Record from Volume 97 (1951) to  Volume 153 (2007).  The issues are now available to the public via the GPO’s website.  The project digitized more than a million pages, covering debates and proceedings of the 81st through the 105th Congresses.  Search capabilities are also provided.

The Congressional Record was first published in 1873 and is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress, published by the United States Government Publishing Office (GPO) and issued when Congress is in session.  Indexes are issued approximately every two weeks.  At the end of a session of Congress, the daily editions are compiled in bound volumes constituting the permanent edition.

The Record is the most complete and accurate account of congressional matters to date.  At the end of each session of Congress, all of the daily editions are collected, re-paginated, and re-indexed into a permanent, bound edition.  This permanent edition, referred to as the Congressional Record (Bound Edition), is made up of one volume per session of Congress, with each volume published in multiple parts, each part containing approximately 10 to 20 days of Congressional proceedings.  The primary ways in which the bound edition differs from the daily edition are continuous pagination; somewhat edited, revised, and rearranged text; and the dropping of the prefixes H, S, and E before page numbers.

The Congressional Record consists of four sections:

  • Daily Digest
  • House section
  • Senate section
  • Extension of Remarks

What about coverage after 1998?

This site provides access to the text of the Congressional Record from Volume 140 (1994) to present.  The text is available by browsing but is not presented as PDFs of the bound volumes.

Before 1951?

The Internet Archive has a collection of the older Congressional Record.  Congressional Record – Bound (1873 to 1993 via Internet Archive – Search Title and Date then Browse volume parts and Find words and phrases – Magnify, Browse, Download)

Also Google Books, Congressional Record – Bound (1873 to current via Google Books – Search then Browse selected pages with some pages or whole volume parts missing and unsearchable) Print and online sources

The Legislative Research Special Interest Section of the Law Librarians’ Society of Washington, D.C., Inc. (LLSDC) as part of its Legislative Source Book has a list on the web entitled “Sources for the Congressional Record: Free and Commercial” (–free-and-commercial).  The website contains a list with links to most all online sources for the Congressional Record, free and commercial, with dates of coverage, including the bound Record, the daily edition, the Congressional Record Index, and predecessors to the Congressional Record.  Also included are brief notations about search, browse, print, and cite retrieval capabilities of the sources as well information on libraries with paper and microform issues.  Finally there are a number of links to aid researchers in understanding the Congressional Record, its history, its volume numbers, and what is or is not included in the pages of the Record

Going back further?

The Congressional Record goes back to only 1873.  Before 1873, congressional debates were catalogued in the Annals of Congress (1789-1824), Register of Debates (1824-1837) and Congressional Globe (1833-1873).

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