Serial Set for 69th Congress is Now Online

GPO + Library of Congress announced they have completed scanning the serial set for the 69th Congress (1925-1927). A serial set contains all the numbered Senate and House Documents and Senate and House Reports for that period.

This publication — constituting four gigantic PDF files: the Senate Journal (1.4 GB), the House Journal (895 MB), Miscellaneous House Reports (720 MB), and Miscellaneous Senate Reports (569 MB) — is the first part of a larger effort to scan the entire serial set and make them publicly available, which is expected to take up to ten years. (The serial set goes back to the 15th Congress.)

At the Virtual Public Forum in September, it was revealed the initial goal is to scan and release the 69th, 82nd, and several 19th century congresses, and then to proceed with the 15th Congress and work forward. These documents are an incredibly important part of understanding what Congress has done, including what relevant committees were thinking when they conducted oversight and drafted legislation.

Our preference would be to start with the most recent Congresses and go backward, as more recent documents are most likely to be of current use to Congress. We would also recommend exploring how to break the PDFs into smaller pieces, so that they are easier to find, become searchable by citation, and are more easily downloaded. We would also recommend considering re-keying the documents so they are available in more lightweight, flexible formats that are viewable on mobile devices and can be enriched with hyperlinks. Perhaps on this final point about rekeying, a crowdsourced effort undertaken by the Library for other documents might prove useful.

We applaud GPO and the Library for this important effort and express our appreciation to appropriators and authorizers who have approved this work. It will make available online what previously was available electronically only through expensive paid subscription services, thereby democratizing access to America’s rich legislative history.