Skip to Main Content

U.S. Congressional Serial Set Finding List: Home


Purpose | Methods | Limitations | Sources | Acknowledgements


The existing indexes to both the Serial Set and various agency series (see Sources below) have always been valued reference tools, but one major thing lacking from them all has been a way to connect Serial Set volume numbers to specific SuDocs numbers over an extended period of time. (The Checklist of United States Public Documents 1789-1909, or 1909 Checklist, is a notable exception, although it, of course, stops with 1909 editions of all these series and does not give complete information as to Congress, session, or Document or Report numbers [they are almost always Documents].) This idea of correlating agency holdings to their Serial Set equivalents had been a project in the back of our minds here at Wooster for many years, but it was only in 2003, when our Five Colleges of Ohio Government Documents Subcommittee collected our holdings information for the national Serial Set Inventory project, that I decided we should take a look at our agency holdings to determine what Serial Set volumes we "owned," albeit as agency editions. I started working from an 1892 federal document finding list unearthed at Denison University during our historical cataloging project, but the more I worked on annotating this list just for our own agency holdings, the more I realized I was only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Thus, this project has expanded to cover as many agency serials as possible (and several monographic series) published in the U. S. Congressional Serial Set from the 15th Congress through the first session of the 91st Congress.

In time, I would like to round out this finding list with information on any of these serials that continued to be published after the 91st Congress, 1st Session; any future work done on this project will be added to these pages as it becomes available. I hope that the time spent here on creating this finding list will save many other people the time in assessing their own Serial Set collections.

NOTE: As I was wrapping up the initial phase of this project, I came across a reference to Mary Elizabeth Poole's 1909 Checklist, Correlation Index. I was unable to review this material until I had "published" these pages, but subsequent review shows that my work does not precisely overlap this publication from 1976. Poole's list indicates the Serial Set volume number, the document number, and the Department edition number, though it does not indicate when a document is the sole one published in the Serial Set volume. Some of her assigned SuDocs numbers differ from those that I have used, so you may wish to consult her volume in addition to this finding list. Special thanks go to Doreen Hockenberry of Ohio University for sharing her library's copy of the 1909 Checklist, Correlation Index as well as an in-house extension of this index; I was able to compare my findings to both documents and found only minor differences.


For the years up to 1909, I followed the information on serials found first in the Finding List and then, when I realized the scope of the project needed to expand, the 1909 Checklist. I set up individual web pages for each series, including brief information about the history of the publishing agency as well as about the title, drawing from both the 1909 Checklist and Andriot. Following a standard template, I filled in information found in the CIS U. S. Serial Set Index: date (in some cases, number or volume or both), Congress and session, type of document, volume and number, and the Serial Set number. Once known serials had been pinpointed and noted, I then looked through each of the CIS index volumes to unearth any other serials I might have missed, following the same procedure for setting up and filling in web pages.

For later years, I used the CIS Index and Andriot almost exclusively, with occasional checks on the CONSORT or OhioLINK public catalogs for confirming how to list the SuDocs numbers for less straightforward series. I also consulted the Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives for history on agencies where Andriot had little or no information listed. (This method was exceptionally useful for Depression-era agencies and offices created during World War II; it also provided a wonderful micro-history lesson for the U. S. government for that era.)

The tables for each serial or series included in this list are laid out as follows:

  • Date covered by the document (may be replaced with Volume or Number)
  • Congress indicates in which Congress this date's edition (or this volume) was published in the Serial Set
  • Session indicates in which session of that Congress the document was printed
  • Type indicates whether the document was a House or Senate Document (Executive, Miscellanous, or standard) or Report
  • Volume indicates the volume of that type of document within that Congress and session (e.g., the 2nd volume of House Documents for the 68th Congress, 2nd Session)
  • Number indicates the House/Senate Document/Report number (e.g., H.doc.96)
  • Serial Set Volume reflects the volume number assigned to the volume in the overarching Serial Set organization system


Compiling a list correlating Serial Set volume numbers with agency SuDocs numbers seemed a straightforward task at first glance, but further research proved that there are a number of pitfalls in attempting to make this correspondence between editions. Please use this finding list with caution and in the full awareness that an exact correlation between document and departmental editions is NOT the norm. The major problems with creating a list of this nature are as follows:

  1. The creation of the Superintendent of Documents classification scheme was not begun until 1896, when Adelaide Hasse published her initial classification table (only for Agriculture). The classification scheme was expanded and refined in subsequent years, finding broader publication in the 1909 Checklist and becoming a vital part of depository shipments in 1910 (Cameron 26, Nelson & Richardson 93). Therefore, the SuDocs numbers used in this list for Serial Set volumes prior to that date were retroactively applied as part of a broad reorganization scheme, without necessarily checking each volume for overlap, and a strict application of the retrospective assignment of SuDocs numbers has therefore resulted in some chronological anomalies.
  2. The printing of Congressional documents was often fraught with problems. Documents for use by members of Congress were printed first and very rapidly, and subsequent copies of the same titles were often corrected or had information added before distribution as departmental editions (Imholtz 13, deLong 128). In cases of significant discrepancies, the 1909 Checklistis useful in pointing out the differences; smaller changes may have gone larger unnoticed, thus making an exact correlation between document and department editions problematic.
  3. Some of these documents were only issued as either document editions or department editions, but not both. This means that those documents published only as part of the U. S. Congressional Serial Set do not truly have corresponding SuDocs numbers, although some libraries may have labeled these volumes with the SuDocs numbers and shelved them with other documents from the same agency or department (Imholtz, Sleeman, & Wears 23). Of course, this pitfall in creating a correlation list also points out one excellent reason for having the list: libraries can then examine their agency collections and find those items that do actually belong in the Serial Set.
  4. Information provided in this finding list may be incomplete or incorrect due to the use of Andriot. From 1980 on, this reference title was published in two volumes, one covering current classes and the other non-current, and the volume for non-current titles was issued solely on microfiche (Olbrich 479). The paper volume, therefore, is missing some agencies and some of the bibliographic data or historical information that was used in this finding list. Some changes in agency and class stem may have been missed because of this unfortunate flaw in an otherwise useful resource; please use caution in following the correlation lists to the letter as your library may use different classes for some of the titles listed.
  5. Last, but not least, expect a certain amount of human error in these lists. I have input all the data by myself, and though I have caught a number of errors in double-checking pages or filling out correlation lists, I fully expect this to be an imperfect list. I would be happy to correct any errors that you may find; please contact Mark Gooch at with any specific errors found, and I will update the appropriate pages as quickly as possible.


Four titles have been of enormous primary help in this project:

Checklist of United States Public Documents 1789-1909. 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1911. (Reprinted by Kraus Reprint Corporation, New York, 1962.)

CIS U. S. Serial Set Index. Washington, DC: Congressional Information Service, Inc., 1975-   .

Finding List Showing Where in the Set of Congressional Documents the Individual Volumes of Certain Series of Government Publications Are Found. [Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1892.] (I 15.2:F 49)

Guide to U. S. Government Publications. ("Andriot.") Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, 1953-   .

Additional information on the history of Serial Set as well as sources that point out some of the limitations of this finding list include:

Cameron, James. "GPO's Living History: Adelaide R. Hasse." Administrative Notes 5 (May 1984): 26. (Also available online from the Government Printing Office.)

deLong, Suzanne. "What Is in the United States Serial Set?" Journal of Government Information 23 (1996): 123-135.

Imholtz, August A., Jr. "The Printing and Distribution of the Serial Set: A Preliminary Contribution to 19th Century Congressional Publishing." DttP 31 (2003): 8-17.

Imholtz, August A., Jr., William Sleeman, and William O. Wears. "A Survey of Hardcopy Holdings of the U. S. Congressional Serial Set: Issues of Preservation and Completeness." DttP 27 (1999): 15-30.

Nelson, Gail K., and John V. Richardson, Jr. "Adelaide Hasse and the Early History of the U. S. Superintendent of Documents Classification Scheme." Government Publications Review 13 (1986): 79-96.

Olbrich, William L., Jr. "Andriot's Guide: A Flawed Classic?" Government Publications Review 13 (1986): 473-489.

Poole, Mary Elizabeth. 1909 Checklist, Correlation Index as indicated in "Departmental Publications" part: Serial Number to Classification Number. Millwood, NY: Kraus-Thomson, 1976.


I have appreciated the support of my supervisors here at The College of Wooster Libraries during the duration of this project, as well as the encouragement and enthusiasm of my colleagues in the Five College of Ohio Government Documents Subcommittee. The initial phase of this project, focused on Wooster's holdings, was made much easier by the willing help from two excellent student assistants, Malika L. Gujrati ('03) and Ashley E. Brown ('06), who input the first correlation list into a file that could be shared within our consortium. These pages are based on style sheets created by another outstanding student assistant, Jesse Legg ('03), and further technical assistance was cheerfully provided by the 2003-2004 Electronic Services Intern, Andy Busch ('03), and Senior Technical Assistant, Todd Johnson ('04).

In addition, I have been grateful for the advice and wisdom shared by other members of the depository community. August A. Imholtz, Jr., provided a wealth of information about the U. S. Congressional Serial Set and its history through conversations, correspondence, and the sharing of his research. He pointed out reasons for discrepancies between document and department editions of many of these series, and he opened my eyes to the vast treasure trove within the Serial Set as well as the impact our country's history had on the shaping of this wonderful resource. Other persons who graciously gave advice and feedback on the work in progress as well as information on other resources were George Barnum, Robin Haun-Mohamed, and Virginia Saunders of the Government Printing Office; Donna Koepp from Harvard University; and Doreen Hockenberry from Ohio University.


--Jennifer E. McMullen




Disclaimer: This finding list is provided for general reference use only and is not indicative of the Serial Set or agency holdings at the College of Wooster. If you are looking for a report listed here, please check at your local depository library.