Advanced Search: Congressional Publications
Related Topics:
Basic Search
Search by Number
User Scenarios
Search Segments

Use the Advanced Search form to perform complex keyword searches on congressional publication metadata records and full text . Metadata records include titles and other bibliographic information, subject indexing, and abstracts where available.  Using the "all fields except full text" default option will return targeted results, finding records in which the search term represents a main theme. In cases where full text is available, the metadata record will link directly to the full text. Use the various drop-downs and Search Within options to narrow your search.  Select the "all fields including full text" option form the search box drop-downs to include full-text in your search.

Building a Search

Selecting a Segment to Search

Selecting Publications to Search (including 'Serial Set Only' options)

Selecting Additional Search Criteria (Date and Congress)

Which Publications are Searched

For examples of how to use the Congressional Publications search forms, refer to these user scenarios.

Building a Search

When you first access this form, three keyword search term fields appear on the screen. The fields are separated from each other by two drop-down lists: the "search within" option, which defaults to "All fields except full text", and the connector option, which defaults to "AND".

The idea behind having three keyword fields is that you can use them in tandem to build very powerful searches. For example, you could build a search that looks for different phrases in different parts of a document (e.g., human rights in full text and korea in the title). Or, you could build a search that looks for one phrase, but excludes all results that include another term. Or, you could build a search that looks for two phrases that occur within a certain number of words from each other (e.g., southern california and fire within ten words of each other in full text).

To perform an advanced search:

  1. Type your search terms into the relevant fields.

  2. For each set of search terms, select a document segment to search within—for example, subject, title, or all fields including full text. The default option is "all fields except full text."

  3. If you are using more than one search terms field, select a logical connector to establish a relationship between the two fields. The default option is the AND operator.

  4. From the "Search within" section, select which publications to search. The default selects and searches all publication types.

  5. Click the Search button.

Selecting a Segment to Search

Use the "search in" drop-down list to specify which segments you would like to search. For example, if you select Subject from the drop-down, your search will only return results for records in which your search term appears within the subject term segment.

Which items appear within the drop-down list depends upon your institution's subscriptions and purchases.   If your institution provides access to the optional U.S. Serial Set Digital Collection or the Congressional Research Digital Collection (CRDC), you will see segment options specific to those collections.

For more on the various options, refer to Segments in the "Search In" Drop-Down.

Selecting Logical Connectors

Use the logical connectors drop-down lists that appear between the three search terms fields to establish a relationship between two search terms.

For example, if you were searching for information on child labor legislation as it relates to mining, you could type child labor in the first field and mining in the second, then join them by selecting AND. This way, you would retrieve only those materials that mention "child labor" and "mining."

For details on the various options, refer to Keyword Searches: an Overview.

Tip: Each of the search terms fields allows the use of multiple logical connectors and wildcard characters. For example, you could type southern california w/10 fire within the first search term field and get the same results that you'd get by typing southern california in the first field, selecting the w/10 connector, and typing fire in the second field. Keep this in mind if you want to build a search with more than three search phrases. For more detailed information, refer to Building a Search String and Connectors: Reference Guide.

Selecting Publications to Search

The "Search within" section of the Advanced Search form presents the various Congressional publications included in your institution's subscriptions and purchases. Use the checkboxes to specify which items will be searched.

'Serial Set Only' options

If your institution provides access to the U.S. Serial Set Digital Collection, the "Search within" section will contain an additional selection—"'Serial Set Only' options".  Use this feature to further refine a search on the U.S. Serial Set Digital Collection. Specifically, you can target any document type in the Serial Set (e.g., American State Papers, annual reports, Presidential messages, etc.).  Furthermore, you can target Serial Set materials that include illustrations and/or statistical tables.

To activate and use 'Serial Set Only' options:

  1. Click the plus sign () to display the feature options. (The feature options are deactivated and will be grayed out.)

  2. Click the "Clear all" link located at the top of the "Search within" section, then select the checkbox next to Serial Set. (These steps will deactivate all publication types with the exception of Serial Set, and you will be able to access the 'Serial Set Only' options. )

  3. Based on your research needs, select a document type from the 'Serial Set Only' drop-down list and/or choose a checkbox to limit your search to document with illustration and/or statistical tables.

Selecting Additional Search Criteria (Date and Congress)

In addition to specifying keywords and publications, you can restrict your search to a specific date and a specific Congress. For more information, refer to Restricting a Search by Date and Restricting a Search by Congress.


How to Cite:

Committee Prints (Online)

Committee Prints (Printed or Microfiche)

CRS Reports

Hearings (Printed or Microfiche)

Congressional Documents (Online)

Congressional Documents (Printed or Microfiche)

Committee Information

Committee Prints (Online)

Committee Prints (Printed or Microfiche)

Committee Reports (Online)

Committee Reports (Printed or Microfiche)

Serial Set

General Principles of Citation