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ProQuest Congressional & Executive Branch Documents: Cross Search

What is Cross Search?

Cross-search highlights the related content in the News (historical and current newspapers) for  ProQuest Congressional customers. Users will only see and be able to access news and historic news content for which their institution should have access.  Congressional  is dynamically linking individual records on the Congressional platform with those related news items. This means when the researcher is looking at a document or abstract on Congressional, they will see related news on the right side and can click to link to their ProQuest news article.

Cross search ties existing Newspaper and Historic Newspaper subscriptions with your valuable Congressional content. Most importantly, puts the government documents in context of what the newspapers were saying about the event at the time

With cross search, users can see newspaper articles about government scandals (such as Teapot Dome, Watergate, and Iran-Contra), wars (the Civil War, the Philippine Insurrection, and Vietnam) and disasters (including the 1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco, or the Titanic sinking).

Are all documents included?

Some document types are excluded from cross search. These include:

  • Federal Register
  • Code of Federal Regulations
  • Political News & Social Media
  • Congressional Record- Daily & Bound. The content within the covers so much in a given day, that relevant news content would be overwhelming. However, we are looking at ways of improving the relevance for this very broad content type.  One idea would be to make targeted results for the index items.

We may add these in the future, but wanted to initially focus on the congressional and executive branch publications.

Using Cross Search

Congressional search results showing news content, right

1.       Do any search as usual.

2.       Select your document by clicking on the citation/abstract link, or the hyperlinked title.  

When you look at the document abstract or text, there will be a pane on the right side that says "Related news". These results are taken from the news  content in ProQuest.

3.       Click on any of the news items.  This will  bring up a new tab in your browser with the news item. The original document results list will still be in that original browser tab.

If a user has access to Congressional AND access to newspapers or historic newspapers, they will see relevant newspaper content “Related News” on the right hand side.

An example of what the results look like, using the 1912 Titanic hearing, is here.

Relevant Results

For the relevant news results, we depend on 3 main things:   a date range around the document, the correct news content for each customer, and the key words and key phrases of the original document.

  • Date  - the related news is searched 1 year before and after the document date for all document types  except for the Congressional Record Daily Edition (5 days on either side of the date of the CR Daily item)
  • Correct News Content - We use a source limiter on the ProQuest platform for  “newspaper” and “historic newspaper”
  • Key words and key phrases of that Congressional doc  - We use the key words and phrases from the document to create the search for similar content.  The terms are derived from the metadata, and sometimes from the full text. 

The keywords and phrases are then parsed through a 800+ entry “stop word list” which disregards common words. Examples include:  consideration,  your, thanks, tracking, meantime.

Relevance - Relevancy is much higher for documents on particular and specific topics,  however, it is less useful for larger documents without a focused topic.  For example, “Titanic” hearings bring back excellent cross search results while the “Annual Report for the Department of War” bring back less relevant Related News results.