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Political Science *: Legislative Branch Resources

Below are links to databases and scholarly web sites that support the study of political science and its related sub-disciplines.

Directories and Resource Guides

Official Websites

  • Congressional Directory -- the official directory of the U.S. Congress that contains biographies of each member of the Senate and House, listed by state or district, and additional data, such as committee memberships. Also contains addresses, phone numbers, and other Congressional information. Published since 1888, the online version includes members from 1995 to the present.
  • Government Accountability Office -- the GAO is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress to investigate how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. Site includes a searchable database of the agency's reports to Congress.
  • House of Representatives -- the official website of the House of Representatives.
  • THOMAS (Library of Congress)--the catalog and database of contemporary Congressional information, including bills, the Congressional Record, hearings, reports, and other Congressional activities.
  • United States Senate -- the official website of the Senate.


  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress (1774-present) -- database of member of Congress that can be searched by name, position (e.g. Representative, Senator, Delegate), State, Party, and/or Year or Congress in order to create customized lists and to access short biographies.
  • A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation -- consists of a linked set of published congressional records of the United States of America from the Continental Congress through the 43rd Congress, 1774-1875.
  • Congressional Bills Project -- a relational database of over 400,000 public and private bills introduced in the U.S. House and Senate since 1947. The site also serves as a repository for related resources and research papers.
  • Congressional Research Service Reports -- CRS is the public policy research arm of Congress. This site provides access to reports released to the public by members of Congress. Reports are downloaded from a variety of web sites that host CRS reports, either currently or in the past. Many CRS reports are updated on a regular basis, and this site includes all versions of the reports that could be located.
  • Federal Digital System -- FDSys provides free online access to official publications from all three branches of the United States government. The database offers advanced search capabilities and the ability to refine and narrow your search for quick access to the information you need.
  • GovTrack -- research tool that helps researchers locate and track activities in the U.S. Congress. The tool can be used to identify the status of U.S. federal legislation, voting records for the Senate and House of Representatives, information on Members of Congress, district maps, as well as congressional committees and the Congressional Record. Also offers the ability to create customized tracking alerts that can be received via RSS Feed or embedded on a website.
  • LegiStorm -- as a non-partisan company, LegiStorm is dedicated to providing a variety of important information about the US Congress, including a database of congressional staff salaries and a comprehensive database of all privately financed trips taken by members of Congress and congressional staffers. Also tracks the latest happenings on the House and Senate floors, as well as upcoming floor debates and committee hearings.
  • OpenCongress -- a free, open-source, and non-partisan web resource that brings together official government data with news coverage, blog posts, public comments, and more about what's happening in Congress. Great site!
  • Project Vote-Smart Congressional Information -- provides links to information on current members of Congress, committees, and Congressional leadership. The link "Congressional Resources" contains links to party organizations, guides to the workings of Congress, and historical/architectural information.
  • ProQuest Congressional -- indexes and abstracts a broad spectrum of Congressional publications, including hearings (testimony), committee prints, reports, documents, and full text of bills and public laws.
  • United States Congressional Serial Set -- commonly referred to as the Serial Set, this collection contains the House and Senate Documents and the House and Senate Reports. The reports are usually from congressional committees dealing with proposed legislation and issues under investigation. The documents include all other papers ordered printed by the House or Senate. Documents cover a wide variety of topics and may include reports of executive departments and independent organizations, reports of special investigations made for Congress, and annual reports of non-governmental organizations. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, executive-branch materials were also published in the Serial Set.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Comparison of Content Coverage Among Databases

Type of Resource ProQuest Congressional U.S. Congressional Serial Set FDSys Thomas (Library of Congress)
Hearings 1824-present None 1995-present None
Full-Text Hearings 1824-2004 None 1995-present None
Reports and Documents 1970-present 1817-1994 1995-present 1995-present
Full-Text Reports and Documents None 1817-1994 1995-present 1995-present
Committee Prints* 1830-present [full-text] None 1995-present [full-text] None
CRS Reports 1916-present None None None
Bills and Resolutions 1989-present [full-text] None 1993-present [full-text] 1973-present [full-text]
Public Laws 1988-present [full-text] None 1995-present [full-text] 1973-present [full-text]
Statuts-at-Large 1776-present [full-text None 1951-2007 [full-text] None
U.S. Code Most Recent Only None 1994-present [full-text] None


*Note that, when searching for Committee Prints in FDSys, search under Hearings.