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Congressional Record Permanent Digital Collection: Advanced Search Techniques

Advanced Techniques

The Congressional Record is one of the more complex publications produced by Congress.  In addition to finding letters, speeches, tributes, etc., there is information included about legislation and what each chamber (the House and Senate) did as part of their work.   And often times there are bills inserted, or conference reports.   

There are two ways to track the legislation referred to in the Congressional Record using ProQuest Congressional.  The information below demonstrates

Using the Congressional Record Indexes  

Select Search by Number, then Congressional Record Citations

Listed under Search by Number, use the Congressional Record Citations tab to see options specific to the Congressional Record. scroll down to Select Congressional Record Bound Index Volumes by Congress


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for Congressional Record Bound Index Volumes by Congress. This option allows the user to simply retrieve the index volumes for a particular Congress or dates to review.


Use the pulldown offered at the bottom of the page to select the year or Congress desired and click Search.

Congressional Record Index



Once you've retrieved the index volumes, you can either open the record, or mouse over the Full text link to see the parts of the index.


For tracking legislation where you know the bill number, there are two sections of interest - House Bills and Senate Bills.



These sections will list all the pages within the Congressional Record that refer to specific bills from either the House or the Senate.

Senate bills index from the Congressional Record


Here is an except from the Senate showing listings of bills, and the pages the bills are referred to.





Note:  This may be considered to be a complete index for the Congressional Record, however isn't a comprehensive record of all activities on the legislation. For example, often hearings are not included in this index because they take place in committee. The Congressional  Record contains information about activities on the floor of the House and Senate.

Searching by Number (bill number, law number etc)  

Search by Number - Legislative Citations



Using the Search by Number tab, users can search bill number, Public Law number, or Statutes at Large citation. 


Using this technique, users retrieve not just Congressional Record citations, but also anything tagged with that information from institutional purchases (so there may be bills, public laws, reports etc., in the search results).  From the Results list, use the filters on the left to select the Congressional Record.

Once the index record is opened, scroll down to the Bills & Resolutions section to see the pages relevant to the needed citation.


Hint:  within the Congressional Record, the pending legislation is referred to by bill number or by name/topic, so if you searched using the Public Law (PL) or Statutes at Large citation, you'll want to note the bill number or title/topic to find the section on the page.

Search by date

use the Date is field, no search terms are necessary to bring back results

Users can search the Congressional Record by date and pull back content - no search terms are necessary.

To do this,

  1. go to the Advanced Search form,
  2. Select only the Congressional Record Bound Edition in the document types on the left,
  3. select Limit by Date and Date is... and enter the date
  4. Leave the search box empty, and
  5. Click search. 

when you are looking at the metadata for the date, note the links to previous day and next dayYour result will be the only one. 

Also, in the Title Info section of the metadata there are the links for Previous Day/Subsequent Day which can be used to browse content.

Note:  if Congress didn't meet that day, there will be no Congressional Record.