Government Documents Guide : History 8211



Lexis Nexis Congressional [Full text database]

  • Contents originate mostly from legislative branch of government, though federal regulations from executive agencies (such as the EPA, USDA, Dept of Labor, etc.) are indexed here as well.
  • Date coverage extends back to 1789 for some types of information.
  • This database provides a great deal of full text, particularly for dates before 1980. If only a reference is provided, then look for the physical copy of the publication in library by using MERLIN, searching under the “SUDOC” number which Lexis Nexis provides (MERLIN -> Number Search -> Govt Doc number), or ask a librarian for assistance.

Database highlights:

    Congressional Hearings
    Hearings provide verbatim testimony of witnesses who have appeared before congressional committees. Witness’ statements are generally followed by the transcript of intense questioning. Also, if witnesses should submit additional documents for the record (anything from internal correspondence to full-length copyrighted works), they may also be published as part of the hearing. Therefore it is desirable to get the complete hearing, not just the testimony portion. Where to find full text depends on the date desired:

    Full-text, complete digital hearings are available through the Lexis Nexis Congressional database.

    Complete hearings are only available in paper copy. Most are shelved in Ellis Library 1 East in the Government Documents section. Hearings may be checked out. Find paper copy by using MERLIN catalog.

    Hearing testimony only is available in Lexis Nexis Congressional. Complete hearing documents are available in paper copy in Ellis Library. Find paper copy by using MERLIN catalog.

    Hearings are available in full text on the Government Printing Office (GPO Access) website: Indexing for this time frame is available on both GPO site and on Lexis Nexis Congressional.

    Congressional Record
    The Congressional Record is the most widely recognized published account of the debates, proceedings, and activities of the United States Congress. The Journals of the House and Senate, in which the daily actions of the respective chambers are recorded, are the official records of House and Senate proceedings. However, the Congressional Record--printed by the Government Printing Office on a daily basis is widely considered to be an essential, fuller record of legislative proceedings. Published under this title since 1873--and before that in three forms and under three titles (Annals of Congress, Register of Debates, and the Congressional Globe)--the Record records the daily floor proceedings of the House and Senate, substantially verbatim. Since 1947, each day's Record also contains at its close a Daily Digest, which recounts by chamber the day's activities, including the number of bills introduced, the floor actions taken that day, a summary of meetings held that day by committees and for what purpose, and a list of committee meetings scheduled for the next day and on what topics (at the end of each week a list of committee meetings scheduled for the following week, and their topics, is printed). source

US Congressional Serial Set [Full text database; paper version also available]
The U. S. Congressional Serial Set contains documents and reports required by statute. Covers a wide variety of topics. Can include reports of legislative committees, executive departments, independent organizations, reports of special investigations commissioned by Congress, annual reports of non-governmental organizations, maps and more. Inter- or intra-agency correspondence can be included.

Checklist of United States Public Documents, 1789-1909 [Printed index with online equivalent]

Monthly Catalog of Government Publications [Printed index with some online equivalents]

  • The Monthly Catalog indexes federal government publications by topic from the 1890s-1990s. (For searches in the late 70s, 80s and 1990s, use the CGP described below. )
  • We own many, but not all, of the publications shown in the Monthly Catalog. Only a portion are findable in MERLIN. Ask for assistance if you cannot find something that you want.
  • Find digitized versions on the Internet Archive. Links from the Gov Docs Primary Sources pages.

Catalog of Government Publications (CGP) [Online only; not full text]

  • This is a catalog of federal publications issued from the mid-1970s to the present, all topics
  • Occasionally offers links to full text, but usually your next step is to check MERLIN and, if not found there, ask the Documents librarians for further assistance
  • MU Libraries owns many, but not all, of government publications shown in this database.
  • The predecessor to this database is the printed Monthly Catalog of Government Publications (above)

Lexis Nexis Academic

  • Check the "Law Reviews" box on the lower right side of the page to access legal reviews in full text.
  • Legal reviews are secondary sources which place judicial information into historical context, noting relevant legislation and regulations as well.
  • Provides helpful hotlinks to primary source court documents including judgements on cases.

Foreign Relations of the United States

This is the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. Predecessor title: Papers Relating to Foreign Affairs.

  • Full text search from Wisconsin Digital Library (1861-1960)
  • Full text search from U.S. State Department (1955-1976)
  • Browse paper copies in the library under call number JX 233

Hein Online
Use this source if you need a snapshot of how the laws looked at a certain point in history. Offers full text, primary source legal materials, notably the United States Code, 1925 forward.




For further assistance, contact:
Marie Concannon
Government Documents Librarian
106-B Ellis Library
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65201-5149
Phone (573) 882-0748