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FYIs on Congressional and Legislative History Matters

Shared from GOVDOC


Earlier this week the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO), in partnership with the Library of Congress, announced the digital release of the bound Congressional Record for the 1960’s on its new GovInfo platform. Since September of 2016, the availability of earlier decades of the historical Congressional Record (1990’s, 1980’s, 1970’s) has been announced by GPO and it is GPO’s intention to keep on doing so until the first edition of the Record, issued in 1873, is completed in digital form. The bound Congressional Record from the 1960’s is also available on GPO’s older platform, FDsys, and both GovInfo and FDsys have browse and advance search capabilities. However, each historical PDF file of the bound Record before 1999 covers a whole bound “part”, or several thousand pages, and thus it takes a while to download. Because of this GPO does not have volume and page citation capability for the bound Record before 1999.

Surprisingly, GPO has not kept up as well with issuing digital versions of the most recent volumes of the bound Congressional Record, having, since 2001,  only made available volume 151 (2005) and part of volume 152 (2006), whereas the commercial firms, HeinOnline and Proquest, have available in digital form all the volumes of the bound Congressional Record from 1873 through 2011. However, the daily edition of the Congressional Record, with completely different pagination, is available from GPO from 1995 and is on Westlaw and Lexis from 1985, and on HeinOnline from 1980. For a fuller availability listing with links, see Sources for the Congressional Record: Free and Commercial–free-and-commercial. Remember, when available, it is better to cite to the bound edition of the Congressional Record, which was designed to have enduring value.



LLSDC’s  “Legislative Histories of Selected  U.S. Laws on the Internet: Free Sources” has recently been expanded to some 150 histories by including links to some 80 legislative histories on the Hathi Trust Digital Library and some additional ones added from the U.S. Department of Commerce Library.

Have a nice weekend everyone.

Rick McKinney
Assistant Law Librarian
Federal Reserve Board Law Library
Washington, DC 20551

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