HeinOnline is not the only player in the game when it comes to the U.S. Congressional Serial Set. Lexis also includes U.S. Congressional Documents 1777-present (U.S. Serial Set), with its own advanced search functions. You may be thinking this is overkill (isn’t one of these enough?), but for any researcher who has something specific in mind and cannot easily fish it out, it is a boon to be able to have all sources at hand and algorithmic search variables to multiply the means to compare and locate possibilities.
As valuable as a specific Serial Set Identification Number may be, the problem with a very special number is that even a small anomaly in the citation may mean a blank wall within one or the other databases. As one example: the Senate Committee on Judiciary Report on the Nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor is available on both Lexis and HeinOnline. The Serial Set citation given on HeinOnline is 13406 S.rp. 22 and on Lexis the report is designated as 13406 Exec. Rpt. 22. Neither will bring up the other solely on the assigned number.
Fortunately, both Serial Set databases also offer keyword and title searches, with advanced filters. The true charm of having this content both within HeinOnline and on Lexis is the power to search across the entire Serial Set based on whatever level of information is already known to the researcher.
In the current Phase I of the HeinOnline Serial Set, search results indicate whether the material is downloadable as full text content, or preliminarily indexed as part of Phase I, with the Serial Set citation and other information given.
In Lexis, searches facilitated by its own advanced search functions bring up detailed summaries of results, with the option of downloading the original text as “Replica of Original Proceedings.”
If you can’t make it to the library to use HeinOnline and Lexis, there is yet another congressional resource collection: the ProQuest Congressional database offers coverage from 1970 for some congressional reports, and later dates for other document types. Online access is available for free to any CA resident with a library card issued from the San Francisco Public Library.
Next up: an in depth look at available Supreme Court nomination materials