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US Legislative Materials & Histories: Legislative History Indexes

This guide is designed to help you find federal legislative documents in the Law Library, in the Graduate Library, and through online resources

General Indexes

1. CIS Index to Publications of the United States Congress. 1970-present

This is the single most effective research tool for compiling post-1970 legislative histories. It indexes and abstracts congressional documents, including:

  1. hearings
  2. committee prints
  3. House and Senate reports
  4. executive reports
  5. treaty documents
  6. special congressional publications

Access is by subject, committee, title, bill number, and names of witnesses.

From 1984 to date, three separate volumes (performing separate functions) are published each year: Abstracts, Index, and Legislative Histories. (Prior to 1984, only the Index and Abstracts volumes were published and the legislative histories were included in the back of the Abstracts volume.) In addition, there are four- and five-year cumulative indexes, which are helpful if you are not sure of the precise dates involved.

We have the actual documents indexed in this set on microfiche in the CIS Microfiche Library.

The CIS Index is complimented by Proquest Congressional (may require authentication) which also includes full-text of some legislative documents.


2. Congressional Index 1939-present. 

The main function of the CCH Congressional Index is to trace the progress of a bill through the legislative process. This index can be used retrospectively back to 1939, but it is especially valuable for following current legislation, since it is in loose-leaf format and is updated on a weekly basis.

Related bills can be identified and traced by using the subject indexes to find bills on the same topic. If there has been no action on a bill, (i.e., no hearings have been held) then it will not be included in the Status Tables. 


3. CIS US Serial Set Index (1789-1969) 

The documents indexed by this publication are now searchable as part of Proquest Congressional (may require authentication).

The Serial Set is a collection of congressional documents including the following items:

  1. House and Senate reports and documents;
  2. Senate treaty documents; and
  3. Senate executive reports.

This index to the Serial Set provides access to documents in the United States Congressional Serial Set, to documents in the American State Papers, and to documents preceding the Serial Set (1789-1817).


Specific Indexes

1. CIS US Congressional Committee Hearings Index. 1833-1969

Indexes hearings from the 23rd Congress (1833) through the 1st session of the 91st Congress (1969). Access is by subject, organization, title of act, bill number, report and document number, personal name, and Superintendent of Documents number.

The Graduate Library Documents Center has the hearings that accompany this index on fiche.


2. CIS Index to Unpublished U.S. Senate Committee Hearings, (1823-1980) and

CIS Index to Unpublished U.S. House of Representatives Committee Hearings (1833-1972)

These are two more tools for finding older, unpublished Congressional hearings, and are very similar to other CIS publications. Access is by subject, organizations, titles of acts, bill numbers, and personal names. To see if the Law Library owns a particular document, check the MLaw Catalog under "U.S. Congress. House." or "U.S. Congress. Senate." followed by the name of the committee.

If it is not in the Law Library, the Grad Library Docs Center has the full text of these hearings on fiche.



3. CIS U.S. Congressional Committee Prints Index: From the Earliest Publications Through 1969

This index works much like the other CIS indexes. You may access references to committee prints by subject, name, title, Congress and committee, bill number, or Superintendent of Documents number. Once you locate the accession number, the Grad library has the full text of the prints on fiche. 

These documents can also be found in the Serial Set portion of Proquest Congressional  (may require authentication).

4. CIS Index to US Senate Executive Documents & Reports: Covering Documents and Reports Not Printed in the US Serial Set, 1817-1969 

This indexes Senate Executive Documents and Reports, which give background on treaties and nominations up for ratification by the Senate. The law library owns the underlying microfiche set: CIS Senate executive documents and reports (on microform).

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