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Serial Set in HeinOnline

About the Collection

U.S. Congressional Serial Set (1817-Date)

The United States Congressional Serial Set, commonly referred to as the Serial Set, is considered an essential publication for unveiling American history. Spanning more than two centuries and with more than 17,000 bound volumes, the records in this series include House and Senate Documents, as well as House and Senate Reports, and much more. The reports are usually from congressional committees dealing with proposed legislation and issues under investigation. The documents include all other papers ordered printed by the House or Senate. Documents cover a wide variety of topics, including reports of executive departments and independent organizations, reports of special investigations made for Congress, and annual reports of non-governmental organizations. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, executive-branch materials were also published in the Serial Set.

American State Papers (1789-1838)

U.S. Congressional Documents from the period 1789 to 1817 are published under the title American State Papers, which consists of 38 volumes. The two series overlap, as American State Papers covers through 1838. Full coverage of the American State Papers is available within this collection inside HeinOnline.

Researching in the Serial Set

Features Include:

  • Citation Lookup Tool, which allows users without a specific citation to enter relevant information into a drop-down that leads them to their desired document
  • Volume Free-Field Locator, which enables users to simply enter a Serial Set volume number to retrieve the content
  • Citation Free-Field Locator, which provides users the ability to enter a House or Senate document/report citation for quick document retrieval
  • Multiple browse options to accommodate different research methods
  • HeinOnline’s user-friendly advanced search tool, which makes it easy to use the extensive metadata indexing or choose specific section types for quick and detailed searches

Select the U.S. Congressional Serial Set from the HeinOnline welcome page to access all content in the database. The default landing page of the Serial Set directs users to the full list of Congress numbers available within the collection.

Located on separate tabs users will also notice Congressional Documents and Congressional Reports from the 115th-118th Congresses which are available in HeinOnline, but have not yet been assigned a Serial Set citation. The American State Papers, which encompass the 1st-25th Congresses, are also available.

image of Serial Set interface

Browse the content. Select the 60th Congress.

image of listing for 60th congress

While searching or browsing the Serial Set in HeinOnline, colored icons appear next to various records. These icons indicate whether full-text coverage or indexing only is currently available for the material. Let’s select volume 5,218. This brings users to a complete list of titles within the volume. Availability is indicated by “H” icons.

image of title listings for volume 5218

Serial Set Lookup Tools

Citation and volume lookup tools are provided, which enable users to simply enter a Serial Set volume number or citation to retrieve the content or utilize a handy drop-down.

image of lookup tool

Using the free-field Citation Lookup, for example, let’s locate House Report 106-243. Enter H. Rept. 106-243 into the search bar and click the magnifying glass.

image of search query example

Next, users are directed to the description of the House Report. Access the title by clicking on the blue hyperlink.

If you are uncertain about the citation format, use the drop-down Citation Lookup Tool to the left. Enter in the relevant information pertaining to your document.

image of citation lookup tool example

Video Tutorial: How to Use the Serial Set Lookup Tools

Searching the Metadata

The Serial Set contains information on a wide range of topics, including history, anthropology, science and technology, Native American studies, slavery, and many more. For example, search the full text of documents in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set database by entering “Lewis and Clark” and choosing the Just search for option.

image of Just Search for search query in the Serial Set

Results include relevant documents such as:

Selecting the Advanced Search link located beneath the main search bar allows users to search particular fields within the metadata (indexing) for more precise results. Users can also choose the method in which to sort search results from the Advanced Search area by relevance, volume date (oldest or newest first), or by document title.

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