U.S. Federal Legislative History Library

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Frequently Asked Questions


Understanding the Content in the Library

There are 3 sources of content in HeinOnline’s U.S. Federal Legislative History Library:

    1. U. S. Federal Legislative History Title Collection
    2. Sources of Compiled Legislative History Database
    3. Legislative Reference Checklist

What is the “Sources of Compiled Legislative History database”?

The “Sources of Compiled Legislative History database”, is derived from the loose-leaf publication Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories: A Bibliography of Government Documents, Periodical Articles, and Books by Nancy P. Johnson, Law Librarian and Professor of Law Georgia State University College of Law.

This database contains the same information that would be displayed in Nancy Johnson’s print publication, however, now the data is fully searchable and for documents or resources that are available in HeinOnline, we link you directly to the source. All compilations for major laws are included in the database except for appropriations measures; ceremonial matters; laws that extend the life of an agency or authority; and laws that affect small numbers of persons or specific regions of the country. The sources for these compilations include congressional documents, legal periodicals, treatises and loose-leaf services. This database will contain references to all major laws. Some of them are available in HeinOnline, and others are not. For those that are included, we will link you directly to the material in HeinOnline.

Searching the Sources of Compiled Legislative History Database

The following list displays the meta-data fields that you can search across in this database:

  • Bill Number
  • Congress
  • Related Document Creator/Author*
  • Related Document Date*
  • Related Document Title*
  • Popular Name of Public Law
  • Public Law Number
  • Title of Public Law

* Related documents are the supporting law review articles, treatises, and full text legislative histories that have been identified in a database entry for a public law.

Search Examples

Below you will find a search example for each of the meta-data fields outlined above.

Bill Number:  Simply enter the bill number into the search box and choose bill number from the drop down. Be sure to include the prefix to the bill number, i.e. H.R. or S.

  Congress: Enter the congress number as 91st or 82nd or 73rd, etc.

 Related Document Creator/Author: To search for related documents to a public law by the Author’s name, insert the Author’s name as last name, first name. For example: “Abel, Albert”.


Related Document Date: To search for related documents to a public law by the date of the document, insert the year the related document was published. This is particularly useful if you are looking for additional legislative history texts for a particular public law that were published in a specific year. Example: We could search for the date 1946 and popular name “Administrative Procedure Act”.

 Related Document title: To search for related documents to a public law by the title of the documents, insert key words from the title or the exact title. Example: “water pollution”.

 Popular Name of Public Law: Enter key words from or the entire popular name of a public law. Example: “Clean Air Act”.

 Public Law Number: Enter the public law number as 79-404.

 Title of Public Law: Enter key words from or the entire title of the public law. Example: “Patent Law Amendments Act”