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Government Documents: U.S. Congressional Serial Set

This guide to Government Documents at the City College of New York is intended to provide you with information about accessing government documents and to help you find governmental resources useful to your scholarship.

U.S. Serial Set

The "United States Congressional Serial Set," is comprised of the numbered Senate and House Documents and Senate and House Reports which are bound by Session of Congress.  It is commonly referred to as the Serial Set, and began publication with the 15th Congress, 1st Session (1817).   It is considered a "must" for any library which is frequented by law students or legal advisers.

The Senate Executive Documents and Senate Executive Reports were also included in the Serial Set at the direction of the Joint Committee on Printing in 1979, beginning with the 96th Congress. Since that time, the Senate Executive Documents, which were previously "alphabetically lettered," became Senate Treaty Documents in 1981, beginning with the 97th Congress, and they are now numbered. All of the above series begin with Number 1 at the beginning of the Congress and are numbered consecutively from the 1st Session through the 2d Session of the Congress.

The Serial Set contains the House and Senate Documents and the House and Senate Reports. 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 and may include 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.

The serial number is a unique number applied to each book in the series of congressional publications running consecutively from the 15th Congress. The serial number may be useful for locating items (but not for citation).

To find out more about the Serial Set consult one of the resources below:

City College Serial Set

Subject Guide

Tynan Hoffman's picture
Tynan Hoffman
Contact:
Cohen Library Reference Division

Email: thoffman@ccny.cuny.edu

Phone: (212) 650-5750