Locating Older Materials

Researching a bill or statute that was considered or passed prior to 1970 is more challenging. The Government Documents Collection, located on the Third Floor of the West Wing of the Main Library, contains materials covering earlier time periods. Check with the reference librarian for assistance in locating and using these materials.

Generally, older materials are printed in two separate systems – one for debate, and one for documents.

The following sources may be used to locate Congressional debate:

Annals of Congress (1789-1824); Register of Debates (1824-1837); Congressional Globe (1833-1873); Congressional Record (1873-date)

The House and Senate Journals may be used as supplemental indexes to locate debate materials, as they are somewhat easier to use than the indexes in the debate records themselves. Additionally, some of the materials available in these sources are also available on-line at the American Memory Project website. This site, produced by the Library of Congress, presents scanned images of the Annals of Congress, the Register of Debates, and the Congressional Globe from the 1st through the 24th Congresses.

The following sources may be used to locate Congressional documents:

To locate older documents, use the U.S. Serial Set. This Set contains hearing documents and committee prints, and is accessed using the CIS U.S. Serial Set Index. The Main Library holds all volumes of this index (1789-1969) [KF 49 .C5 C65], and the Law Library holds a portion of the index, from 1789 to 1857 [Ref Z 1223 .Z9 C65 1975].

The Main Library also holds two hearing and prints indexes produced by CIS, the CIS U.S. Congressional Committee Hearings Index (1833-1969) [Z 1223 .A2 C5] and the CIS Congressional Committee Prints Index (1883-1969) [Z 1223 .Z7 C66]. These indexes will refer you to a Superintendent of Documents number, which is part of a categorization system created by the Superintendent of Documents. Once you have this number, ask a reference librarian at the MSU Main Library for assistance in locating your document, as Su Doc materials in many cases are not included in the MAGIC catalog.

A good source of background information on older materials:

Joe Morehead, Introduction to United States Government Information Sources, ch. 5 (6th ed. 1999) [Ref. Desk Z 1223 .Z7 M665 1999]. <