The Law Library of Congress (LOC) and the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) have announced a collaborative decade long project to digitize House and Senate reports compiled in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, an official publication dating back to 1817. Traditionally only available in print versions in Federal Depository Libraries throughout the U.S. or for a fee from private vendors, the Serial Set is a complete collection of over 14,000 volumes that contain hundreds of thousands of numbered House and Senate reports and documents. GPO plans to upload the Serial Set volumes in phases and will store the digital files in a certified repository. This effort will allow the public to easily find and download scanned versions of the reports at govinfo.gov.
Free online access to these reports is valuable for current lawmaking efforts. They provide insight into what was considered when legislation was enacted and valuable history about legislative oversight efforts. It has the additional benefit of saving libraries and researchers millions of dollars in fees they would otherwise pay for access to primary government-produced documents.
We applaud this joint effort and look forward to learning more about timelines, the order of publication, opportunities for public collaboration, and efforts to make the metadata or underlying individual reports publicly available as data.
— Written by Taylor J. Swift