The U.S. Congressional Serial Set contains House and Senate Documents and House and Senate Reports bound by session of Congress. It began publication with the 15th Congress, 1st Session (1817). Documents before 1817 are found in the American State Papers. The Serial Set does not include Congressional hearings and debates.
House and Senate Reports are usually from congressional committees dealing with proposed legislation and issues under investigation. House and Senate 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.
The serial number is a unique number applied to each book in the series of congressional publications running consecutively from the 15th Congress. The serial number may be useful for locating items, but not for citation. The documents and reports series have three numbers:
- an individual report or document-publication number
- a volume number of each series for each session of Congress
- the serial number
It is possible to search the U.S. Congressional Serial Set Maps directly.