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Congressional Documents: Overview

CQ publications (Congressional Quarterly)

Title Location Notes
CQ Magazine (formerly CQ Weekly)

Govt Index JK1 .C15, 1964-2012

online, 1983-present

Weekly. "In-depth reports on issues looming on the congressional horizon, plus a complete wrap up the previous week's news, including the status of bills in play, behind-the-scenes maneuvering, committee and floor activity, debates and all roll-call votes."
CQ Almanac

Govt Index JK1 .C66 (print), 1945-2020

online, 1945-2020


Annual. Exceedingly useful. Each volume summarizes selected Congressional action on a full range of topics: appropriations, defense, commerce, agricultural, health, economy, etc. Also includes congressional leadership, roll call votes, key votes, voting analyses (presidential support, party unity, voting participation), list of public laws passed, etc. For public laws, provides a brief history of a bill, including bill numbers, committee reports, date signed by the President, etc.
Congress and the Nation

Govt Index JK411 .C6 (print), 1945-present

online, 1945-present

Every 4 years (presidential term).

Current news and analysis

CQ Magazine (formerly CQ Weekly) (online, 1983-present) Best Bet
Govt Index JK1 .C15 (print, 1964-2012)
Published weekly. "In-depth reports on issues looming on the congressional horizon, plus a complete wrap up the previous week's news, including the status of bills in play, behind-the-scenes maneuvering, committee and floor activity, debates and all roll-call votes."

Major newspapers listed under Current News, e.g. Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and Christian Science Monitor. Nexis Uni and ProQuest Newspapers are excellent sources for regional or local newspapers.

Other sources:

Congressional Digest (online, 1921-present (online and/or print)
Includes articles on topics of current interest such as "Mexican Border Wall" (2017), and pro and con on topics such as "Should Congress Repeal the Affordable Care Act?" (2016), "Should The Federal Taxing Power Be Limited?" (1944), and "Should "Short" Selling be Prohibited by Law?" (1932). Other articles, e.g. "A Review of U. S. Relations with Soviet Russia 1917-1928" (1933). Reviews of activities in Congress.

CQ Researcher
Unbiased coverage of health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the economy.

Reference sources for Congress

Almanac of American Politics (online, 2000-; print, 1974-) Best Bet
Main Ref JK 1012 .A44 or Main Libr JK 1012 .A44
A volume is issued for each Congress. Organized by state. It includes for each member: biography, political activities, committees, key votes, group ratings, National Journal ratings, election results, and for members of the House, description of the district and demographics. Also includes leadership, state profiles, campaign finance, etc. The entries for the chairs and committee members may include discussion of those individuals' roles and activities on the committees.

Politics in America, 1990-2014 (ceased)
Main Ref JK 1010 .P64, Main Libr JK 1010 .P64
Similar to Almanac of American Politics. A volume is issued for each Congress. Organized by state, it includes for each member: biography, committees, key votes, CQ Vote Studies, election results, party unity, presidential support, and interest group ratings; and for members of the House, description of the district. Also includes committees, campaign finance, state profiles, member statistics, House and Senate committee rosters, etc.

Congressional Roll Call
1969, 1972-2013
Main Ref JK1 .C6635
Includes party unity, presidential support, key votes, roll call votes, etc.

Guide to Congress
Main Ref JK1021 .C565 2008
From Congressional Quarterly

A Historical Guide to the U.S. Government
Main Ref JK9 .H57 1998

The Oxford handbook of The American Congress

The National Register, a Weekly Paper, Containing a Series of the Important Public Documents, and the Proceedings of Congress; Statistical Tables, Reports and Essays [...], 1816-1820

Vital Statistics on Congress (print)
Main Ref JK1041 .V57
Chock full of statistics on members, elections, campaign finance, committees, expenses, workload.  Does not include statistics on individuals.

Vital Statistics on Congress, Brookings Institution. Updated version of the print resource of the same name.


House History Timeline, U.S. House of Representatives

Senate Chronology, U.S. Senate


Congressional Glossary, Including Legislative and Budget Terms, TheCapitol.Net, Inc.

Glossary of Legislative Terms,, Library of Congress

Glossary, U.S. Senate

Glossary of Legislative Terms, Appendix of Our American Government, U.S. House of Representatives, H.Doc. 108-94


Find Your Representative
"Not sure of your congressional district or who your member is? This service will assist you by matching your ZIP code to your congressional district, with links to your member's website and contact page."

Member information
House of Representatives, current members only

House Directory of Representatives


Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-

Congressional Directory (print and online) and online via GovInfo Best Bet
Includes short biographies of members of Congress and membership of Congressional committees

Official congressional directory (print; newer editions online)
Govt Ref, Govt Doc Y 4.P 93/1:1/

Congressional yellow book, 2013-
Main Ref, Main Libr JK1012 .C652
Previously: Congressional staff directory, 1959-2012 (with gaps)
Main Libr JK1012 .C65

The United States Congressional Directories, 1789-1840
Main Ref JK1011 .U53

Members of the U.S. Congress
From 93rd Congress- (1973-), plus members from 71st-92nd Congresses (1929-1972) who were still serving in 1973.

Members of Congress, 1700s-

Major types of congressional publications



Congressional Documents
Online finding tool for Congressional publications at Bowdoin College Library.

Texts of laws under consideration.

Committee Hearings and Prints
Texts of discussion, expert evidence and testimony.

Committee Reports
Texts of committee reports related to proposed legislation or to issues under investigation.

The Congressional Record
Congressional Record and its predecessors from 1789 to the present.

Other primary sources

United States House of Representatives
A good guide to the workings of the House. Directory information for House members, detailed calendars, descriptions of House operations and committees.

The United States Senate
Excellent source of detailed information about Senate operations. Contains directories, committees, calendars, history of the Senate, statistics, etc.

U.S. Congressional Serial Set (online, 1817-1994)
Large series of congressional reports on legislation, treaties, messages from the president. In the 19th century, contains legislative materials plus many executive agency reports, such as reports on expeditions, fisheries, commerce, defense, etc. American State Papers contain similar information for 1789-1837.

ProQuest Congressional
Online subscription service providing index access-and some full text-for congressional publications: bills, laws, committee reports, hearings, the Congressional Record, legislative histories, CRS Reports, etc. Coverage back to the late 1980's, depending on the type of document.

The U.S. Government Publishing Office's authoritative, full text service for publications of the Congress, the President and the Judiciary.

A series of reports titled Reports to Be Made to Congress, or, historically, A List of Reports to be Made to Congress, containing a "list of reports which it is the duty of any officer or department to make to Congress", prepared by the Clerk, House of Representatives. The series began at least by 1836. 2020 issue, H.Doc. 116-85. For previous issues, search govinfo or U.S. Congressional Serial Set.

Government Accountability Office (GAO)
Full text reports from this non-partisan "watchdog" agency evaluate cost and effectiveness of past and proposed legislation. Formerly known as the General Accounting Office.

Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
Primary congressional agency charged with reviewing congressional budgets and other legislative initiatives with budgetary implications. For an overview, read CBO's Role in the Legislative Process by Douglas W. Elmendorf, Director.

CRS Reports, 2004-present, via ProQuest Congressional. "The Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides comprehensive research and analysis on all legislative and oversight issues of interest to Congress." Other sources of CRS Reports.