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Research Guides

Database Tutorials

Congressional Publications


Unlike other databases, Congressional Publications is not filled with articles written by professional researchers exploring certain topics that are published in journals. Congressional Publications is a database filled primarily with sources written by Congress itself. There are 3 very specific kinds of resources in Congressional Publications:

  1. Committee Prints and Miscellaneous Publications: articles and pamphlets created by certain government committees that don't belong in the Congressional Record, but we have access to them anyway. We have access to the prints that were published between 2014 and 2017.
  2. Congressional Record Bound Edition & Predecessors: this is the actual transcript of what was said and by whom in Congress every single day it was in session. We have access to the Congressional Record from 1789- the present.
  3. Nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports: CRS reports "are great starting points for research on a wide variety of topics, past and present. Reports often provide pro and con positions, overviews, statistics and analysis." (from the homepage of Congressional Publications)



Basic Searching

You will automatically be brought to the Basic Searching page if you get to Congressional Publications from anywhere on our websites. If you're just looking to browse articles on your topic without much concern for specificity, you may want to use the Basic Search function. The Basic Search page looks like this:

ProQuest Congressional Homepage screenshot

  • Type your search terms into the text box
  • From here, the only ways you can limit your results is by limiting the date:
    • Click on "Limit by date" directly below the search box
    • Type in the dates you'd like in the boxes that appear
  • Click "Search"


Advanced Searching

You will automatically be brought to the Basic Searching page if you get to Congressional Publications from anywhere on our websites. In advanced searching, you are given more ability to pinpoint exactly the kinds of articles you would like to see in your results. To get to Advanced Searching from Basic Searching, click on the "Advanced Search" tab directly beneath the search box on the home page. Your screen will then look like this:

ProQuest Congressional Advanced Search screenshot

  • In order to search by author’s name, title, subject term, etc., use the dropdown menu above the search box to select the appropriate field.
    • If you do not choose an option from this menu, the database will automatically search your term in all the article citation fields except full text.
  • To broaden or narrow your search results, use the ‘AND’ dropdown menus before the 2nd text box
    • There will be three options: AND (which is automatically chosen), OR, & NOT
    • AND: will only display results that include both/all the search terms
    • OR: will display all results with either/any of the search terms
    • NOT: will display results with the previous search terms, but will leave out results that include the following search term
  • If you need more than the two provided text boxes for search terms, click the plus button that says "Add a row" and use as normal
  • Before you search, you can limit by either date, Congress, or type of document:
    • To limit by date, select "Date" next to "Limit By:" below the search boxes
      • Type in the dates in the boxes provided
    • To limit by Congress, select "Congress" next to "Limit by" below the search boxes
      • Select the Congress number from the dropdown menu (dates are in parentheses beside the Congress number)
      • To select more than one, hold down on the Ctrl (or Command, on an Apple MacBook) key on your keyboard, then click as many options as you'd like to search
    • To limit by document type, check or uncheck the boxes on the left of the page
  • When you are ready, click the teal "Search" button
Searching Tips!
  • Not sure which word ending to use?
    • Attach an * to the base of your term, and the database will search for words that start with that string of letter, regardless of what the ending is.
    • Example: searching for feminis* will pull results for both "feminist" and "feminism", but not things like "feminine", which is missing the "s".
    • You can see up above that I used one at the end of "poli*" so I would get results for policy, politics, political, politicians, etc.
  • Want to search for an entire phrase? 
    • Surround your phrase with " ", and the database will search for those words in that order without anything in between
    • Example: "critical feminist theory" will return results JUST with those exact words in that exact order. So you won't get results that are something along the lines of "Feminists are critical of X theory".



Limiting and Reading Results

Once you click the search button, you will get a list of resources, which will look like the image below:

ProQuest Congressional results screenshot

From here, you can:

  • Limit the results showing by clicking on the boxes on the left side of the screen that are below the "Limit to" label
    • In this list, you can narrow your results based on date of publication (or Congress), document type (Committee Prints, Congressional Record, CRS Reports), committee source, agency sourcesubject terms, and Administration.
    • You'll also notice a link directly below "Filter By":
      • By selecting "Full Text", you will only get results that you have access to in full in this database 
    • To undo that action, simply click the little "x" button that will appear next to that action under "Applied filters" (which is not shown in this screenshot because I had not applied any filters yet)
  • Change your search terms
  • Find Full-Text of the article (more on that below)
  • Click into the resource's record to find more information



Reading a Detailed Record

If you click on an item to see more information, you'll get a page that looks like this:

ProQuest Congressional detailed record screenshot

To the left of the page is a table of contents - click on the section you'd like to look at to be brought to the relevant location. The center of the page has the document information, and the right of the page has downloading/sharing links as well as related news listed.

You'll see all kinds of information about your resource:

  • Title Info: This is where your citation information lives. Things like the title of the document, the committee who wrote the document, when it was published, identifying numbers, etc. There's also a pemalink here that you can copy and paste to come back to this document later.
  • Congress Session: Gives the number of Congress that saw or created this document
  • Summary
  • Subjects and People: depending on what kind of document you have, these may be broken up into more than one heading, but there will always be a list of relevant topics. If you're looking at a Congressional Record, there will also be lists of Congressmen present, and topics discussed.
  • PDF Full-Text: You can also download the PDF of the document by clicking here

From this screen you can:

  • Find the Full-Text: more below on Full-Text, but there will be a Download PDF button in the top right of your screen that you can click on
  • Email, Print, or Save the record page: see the red box on the right side of the screenshot, click these links to perform that action
  • Find Related News: Below the links to Email, Print, Save, and Cite, there is a list of related articles that have similar subject headings, or contain the same keywords. You can explore these articles by clicking on their titles.



For more help with Searching, click on the links below:

Getting Full-Text

Just about everything in Congressional Publications is Full-Text, with the exception of a few indexes. This is great news for you! All you have to do is find the "Download PDF" button and you're good to go!

As with most of our other databases, you can download PDFs from either the results page, or from the more detailed single item page.

However: you can only download 50 pages at a time in Congressional Publications. For the most part, this won't be an issue, as there are many documents that aren't that long. However, if you're looking at Congressional Records, these can get very lengthy. So downloading articles here has an extra step, namely: choosing what part of the article you'd like to download.


From the Results List

From the search results page, there will be either a Full Text link at the bottom of (almost) every item. Click on that full text link and you'll be asked to select what you'd like to download:

ProQuest Congressional Download PDF from results screenshot

Click which option you'd like to download and you're done!



From the Detailed Record

You can also find the full text of an article from the full detailed record. From the results page, if you click on the title of the resource you want to look at, there will be a link in the top right of the screen for full text, and a number of tabs in the middle of the screen. In the top right corner there will be a "Download PDF" button with a small inverted triangle:

ProQuest Congressional download PDF from item record screenshot

Click on the button and then choose what you'd like to download.

Again, ProQuest Congressional will only let you download 50 pages at a time, so you can download multiple documents in a row, but it might be helpful to browse through the subjects and speakers before you download the document to determine where the information you need will be.

To do this:

  • look for "Members of Congress" and "Other Speakers and Subjects" in the table of contents to the left
  • Scroll down until you see something you'd like to look at, or until your search terms are highlighted in yellow
  • Click on the blue (or purple if you've already clicked on it once) linked number to be brought exactly to the page where your topic/person is discussed.

ProQuest Congressional subjects within documents screenshot

If you click into each subject or person name, there will be a number in blue that you can click on (this is the page number) - Congressional Publications will automatically download and bring you to the relevant section.

These subjects will not appear in every document. If you have a short document, they are likely not necessary and you can just download the whole thing to find what you need.


If you're having trouble finding what you need in these records, come find a librarian and we will help you.