FDLP

Digitizing the United States Congressional Serial Set

GPO, in collaboration with the Law Library of Congress, has started a large multi-year effort to digitize and make accessible volumes of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set back to the first volume, which was published in 1817.

The United States Congressional Serial Set, commonly referred to as the Serial Set, is a compilation of all numbered House and Senate reports and documents, including executive reports and treaty documents, issued for each session of Congress. As a chronicle of events of the U.S. Congress over the years, the Serial Set is one of the Nation’s most treasured publications. The Law Library of Congress will digitize the Serial Set. GPO will securely store the files in its certified preservation repository where the documents cannot be edited or tampered with in any way. GPO will upload volumes of the official Serial Set in phases for free public access on govinfo, the one-stop site for authentic, published Government information. The entire effort is expected to take at least a decade to complete.

Spring 2020 Update

Digitization began in fall 2019 and will continue for some time. As it continues, the list of needed volumes will grow, so please regularly check our Serial Set needs list on the FDLP LibGuides and FDLP eXchange. We need your help to ensure all volumes are digitized.

LSCM staff are also working to gather bibliographic metadata about each volume and the individual reports and documents contained within the volumes. If you know of any community produced Serial Set metadata resources, please let us know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Fall 2020 Update

LSCM received the first delivery of 445 digitized volumes from the Law Library of Congress over the summer. LSCM staff are using this content to develop workflows and processes that we will use to process deliveries going forward including:

  • ensuring data integrity throughout our processes
  • gathering and producing metadata for the serial set volumes and documents
  • compiling requirements to design the Serial Set collection in govinfo

Additionally, LSCM continues to look for replacement volumes when a volume is missing from or incomplete in the Law Library of Congress’ collection. If you are considering weeding volumes or the Serial Set, please check our Serial Set needs list on the FDLP LibGuides and FDLP eXchange. We need your help to ensure all volumes are digitized.

The Serial Set govinfo collection will debut in Fall 2021, and the first release will include volumes from the 69th Congress, as well as any other volumes that are ready. After the initial public release, additional digitized Serial Set volumes will be made available on govinfo as they are processed. It will take several years before the approximately 14,000 volumes are available on govinfo.

Spring 2021 Update

The collaborative effort between GPO and the Law Library of Congress to digitize and make accessible volumes of the Serial Set is ongoing. The initial public release of content on govinfo is scheduled for fall 2021. Throughout winter and spring:

  • The Law Library of Congress has continued to inventory and digitize volumes.
  • GPO received the second batch of digitized volumes in February 2021.
  • GPO has been creating or updating bibliographic records for each document or report in the digitized volumes. Thus far we have worked on over 8,300 records.
  • For the govinfo collection, we completed the initial design review and have begun development of the collection.

Fall 2021 Update

The multi-year collaborative effort between GPO and the Law Library of Congress to digitize and make accessible volumes of the Serial Set is ongoing. Throughout the summer and fall:

  • The Law Library of Congress continued to inventory and digitize volumes.
  • GPO received the third batch of 950 digitized volumes in June of 2021
  • The initial public release of content on govinfo was on September 28. It contained 627 digitized volumes. The release contained a selection of volumes from the 69th Congress, the 82nd Congress, and several 19th century Congresses.

Going forward, Serial Set volumes will continue to be digitized and ingested into govinfo as they are processed. This multi-year project will take several years before all the volumes are available on govinfo.

Resources and Background Information