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ProQuest Congressional & Executive Branch Documents: How Do I...

How do I find my ProQuest Account ID?

Your ProQuest Account ID has many different uses. A quick and easy way to find your account ID is to simply search Proquest Congressional. Any item with a permalink (which is every record in the database!) shows the your account ID.

The search here was for gross domestic product.  From the results list, click on the Permalink, and look at the URL. Your Account ID should be at the end of the character string.

How do I find the Senate Executive Documents (SED)?

Senate Executive Documents, also known by their facet, Treaty and Nomination Reports and Documents, are treated as a facet of the Serial Set documents (though they haven't always been published as part of the Serial Set).

To start out searching for only these documents, use the phrase "Treaty and Nomination Reports and Documents" in one of the search boxes, and use the other search box for your search term (e.g. Paris or copyright).   

finding Senate Executive Documents

If you forget to enter the document type in your search, you can easily limit your search results using the facets on the right, or the "more options" at the bottom of the list of document types.

left filters showing Treaty and Nominations Reports and Documents

Finally, if you have the document number (or letter) for one of these, you can use the Search by Number form. 
- please select Exec.doc. for the document type.  There are several that are quite similar. 

On Search by Number forms choose bibliographic citations page and under Publication Number select pulldown for Exec.doc.

How do I find the Public Law Number if I am starting with the U.S. Code?

Depending on the information that you are starting with, you may need to find the proper legislative citation in order to retrieve documents related to that citation. This is one way to generate a legislative history "on the fly," because ProQuest Congressional "tags" or cross-references all of the different publications in the legislative process of a particular legislative history with three citations- a bill number, a Public Law number (also called the slip law) and the Statute at Large citation (or the session law number).

The Public Law or PL number is the best piece of information to be used on Congressional because it is common to the most sources. After enactment and/or publication, our editors add this number to the meta-data in the abstracts for all the publications in our digital collections. If you are starting with a section or subsection of the United States Code (US Code, USC, USCS, or USCA), here is how to find the Public Law number:

  • U.S. Code: If you have a section of the United States Code, such as 18 U.S.C. § 879, you can use the Search by Number form to retrieve the text of the section and view the "History" segment of the Code to view the legislative history citations.
  • The History segment tells us: (Added Oct. 12, 1982, P.L. 97-297, § 1(a), 96 Stat. 1317; Oct. 30, 1984, P.L. 98-587, § 3(a), 98 Stat. 3111; Sept. 13, 1994, P.L. 103-322, Title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(H), 108 Stat. 2147; Dec. 19, 2000, P.L. 106-544, § 2(a), (b)(1), 114 Stat. 2715.)
    Keep in mind whether your research requires you to look into the original enactment (in this case, Oct. 12, 1982, P.L. 97-297, § 1(a), 96 Stat. 1317) or any of the amendments made (you must read the remainder of the History segment together with the Amendments information to determine the legislation that amended the Code language you are researching.)
  • Copy and paste the Public Law number into the Basic Search box at the top of your screen to retrieve all the publications in your Congressional library related to that enactment.  For this example, paste P.L. 97-297 into the search box. This will retrieve all the documents in my library's collections related to the law which enacted that section of the Code.
    To find out what, if anything, was discussed about the meaning of the words "knowingly and willfully" in that law, check the "search within" check-box at the top of the results list and search the full-text of the documents in the results list for the terms knowingly NEAR/2 willfully.

How do I search for only a Legislative History?

Using the Search by Number page to search for a legislative history brings back other content types, so how do I set up a search to retrieve only the legislative history?

Use the Advanced Search form in Congressional. On the Advanced search form you can select the document type you want to retrieve, so deselect the others and check the box for Legislative Histories. limit to Legislative Histories on the Advanced search form


Note:  If your institution subscribes to Legislative Insight, you'll want to use that as that has the best collection of Legislative Histories.

key in the search terms for the legislative history search After selecting the document type (Legislative Histories), you can type in the keywords or the public law number in the search box.


search using pl numberTo search using a public law number, note that the law number can be formatted several ways (the PL must be in caps): 

  • 101 PL 549  (note the space between the elements)
  • PL101-549  (note there is no space between the elements)
  • P.L. 101-549  (note the space between the elements.  Also, in preliminary testing, the periods appear optional)

Creating a Saved Search

using the file folder icon

To bookmark or save a search that you have done, do the following:

  1. Click on the folder icon in the upper right corner of the screen and select "Recent Searches".
  2. Select the search you wan
  3. Click on Get link
  4. Copy the URL in the box for later use.

research searches - get link

Links can be used in IM's, guides, emails, etc. 

How do I find the Public Law Number or Statute at Large Citation if I have an internal "Stat." citation?? (Add-on Statutes at Large Module required)

When the law is codified or added to the US Code, the History section of the US Code mentioned earlier gives us the pinpoint page number to the location in the Statutes at Large compilation where the particular enactment or amendment begins. Because some Acts can be quite large, this is a quick way to go right to the exact spot where a section begins.

ProQuest Congressional Statutes at Large digital collection only allows laws to be retrieved using the first page of the session law, so copying and pasting, or using the Search by Number form with these internal page number citations may not retrieve any results. To find the starting page number citation for the law,  the most efficient way is to use the citation you have, and do a full text search. 

Step 1:  Type the citation, in quotes, in the Basic Search form.  For example  "110 Stat. 464" 

Note:  The quotes are essential as they tell the search engine to find an exact match in full text.

Step 2:  Click Search

Step 3:  Sort your results, oldest first. 

In the image shown below you can see the the results are sorted with oldest first, and the second option shows the Statute with the the document beginning on page 186.  Now use this new citation for your Congressional searches. 

searching bya Statute at Large page