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Serial Set


Officially known as the Congressional Serial Set, this is practically the Bible of Congressional activity from 1817 onward. Basically it has committee reports related to bills and other matters, presidential communications to Congress, treaty materials, some executive department publications, and certain non-governmental publications.

How to Understand the Document

Interesting Examples of Items in the Serial Set:

If you can't get a full text copy of any item online, you will have to get the microfiche or paper copy using the record given in LexisNexis.

About This Resource

  • Basically, documents and reports come in the Serial Set. However, the time of publication determines where to search for these items. Here are a few options for searching in LexisNexis.

    1. By checking the box for the Serial Set, you can search an index for all Serial Set documents from 1789 to 1969.

    2. By checking the box for House & Senate Reports, you can search an index from 1819 onward and get full-text from late 1980s onward.

    3. By checking the box for House & Senate Documents, you can search an index from 1817 onward and get full-text from late 1980s onward.

    4. If you're looking for Markups, select Reports only and search for markups or prints.

  • In LexisNexis,

    1. Before 1970, search Serial Set

    2. After 1970, search reports and documents

  • Numbering for reports is the chamber, Rp., number of the Congress, -, report number. For example, S. Rpt. 104-10 "Legislative Line Item Veto Act" is a Senate Report from the 104th Congress with the report number 10.

  • Numbering for documents is H. or S. (House or Senate) Doc. (Document) number of Congress, number of document. For example, H. Doc. 108-35 "Plan Colombia/Andean Counterdrug Initiative Semi-Annual Obligation Report, Communication from the President" is a House Document from the 108th Congress numbered 35.

  • Start to look in LexisNexis. If you're looking for old reports or documents in paper:

    1. In the record, look for DOC-NO and SERIAL-VOL-NO. For example, "Bridge across Hudson River at New York City, by New York and New Jersey Bridge Company, with minority report" from 1889 is DOC-NO: H.rp.3167, 51-1 SERIAL-VOL-NO: 2816. So, we need to find the serial volume 2816, and then find H.rp.3167 in it. The 51-1 stands for the 51st Congress, 1st session.

    2. Serial Set Before 1909, your quickest option is to use the microfiche. The Serial Set is under the number JK404 .C59x in the Hecker Center microfiche cabinets. Then the actual microfiche will be numbered by the SERIAL-VOL number. There might be a few cards to cover the whole volume, so check each volume card for the report or document you're looking for. If you want the paper copy, you will need to page it from the HAY Annex. In Josiah, do a title search for Serial Set. In the results, select the Congress number to get the call number of the volume to be paged.

    3. Serial Set From 1909 onwards the Rockefeller has paper copies of the Serial Set on the Level 2. The SERIAL -VOL is the volume number. So, we're looking for volume 2816 and then, if there are more than one document in the volume, look for the DOC - NO - H.rp.3167.

    4. Serial Set From 1970 to 1988 the record will not say what volume number it's in. So, you'll need to check in the The Numerical Lists and Schedule of Volumes of the United States Congressional Serial Set (Z1223 A15x 1983 3 DOCS) or one of the supplements, which are located in the government documents reference shelf, to get the volume number. Look under the Congress number, type of document and document number to get the serial volume number.

    5. Serial Set From the late 1980s onward, most of the time you can find full text versions of the items online (graphs and maps not included). However, if you need to consult the paper item, you will need to search the Serial Set collection by Congress, document type and number as given on the spine of the book. Volume numbers are not given.
  • Note:

    1. If you do not find the item in the Serial Set and there is a SUDOC number, search under that numbering system (See Federal Documents in Print).

    2. Oversized Serial Set items are marked 1-Size and placed at the end of the Serial Set run on the Level 2.

Access to Information

Digital Information

Paper Information

  • In Josiah, do a Title search for the Serial Set. This set goes back to 1817, and is located both in the Hay and Rockefeller. This Set contains the reports and documents.