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U.S. Congressional Publications & Legislative Process

About the Serial Set

The U.S. Congressional Serial Set is the permanent bound record of Congressional Reports and Documents as well as any Executive Reports and Documents submitted to Congress. The Serial Set also contains miscellaneous reports from quasi-governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations such as, the Boy Scouts of America. Expect a 3 to 5 year time lag before Reports and Documents are published in the Serial Set.

Serial Set volume numbers begin with the year 1817 (15th Congress). Due to the publishing history of the Serial Set, few libraries have a complete set of the bound volumes.

American State Papers

Prior to the Serial Set, the same types of papers are called The American State Papers (ASP). ASP volume numbers begin with zero.

Historical Maps in the U.S. Serial Set

The United States Congressional Serial Set Map Index contains a wide variety of maps on topics as predictable as Armed Forces and Conflicts or  Discovery and Exploration to those as unexpected as the Almshouses and Asylums. You can find for example the map titled "Boston in 1880, showing societies (secret and benefit), hospitals, asylums and homes." Maps included date to before 1799.  For example if you were studying the Roman Empire  you might find interesting a map of the "Main road system of the Roman Empire as shown by the Itinerary of Antonine (A.D. 150) and the Itinerary to Jerusalem (A.D. 333). From Parthey and Pinder."


U.S. Congressional Serial Set Map Index help screens provide assistance in searching for maps.

Explorer Surveys

Title: Reports of explorations and surveys to ascertain the practicability of a ship canal between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans by the way of the Isthmus of Darien by Thos. Oliver Selfridge, Commander, U.S. Navy. 
Date: 1873


Running the telegraph, Darien expedition.
Serial Set Vol. No. 1575, Session Vol. No.5
42nd Congress, 3rd Session
H.Misc.Doc. 113
from the U.S. Congressional Serial Set database (Digital Serial Set from NewsBank/Readex).

Congressional Documents & Reports Sources (Serial Set)

Print Serial Set Volumes

The individual Documents and Reports are later bound into volumes of the Serial Set, but they were not arranged in numerical order until 1980 (96th Congress).

The University of Delaware Library has an extensive collection of bound Serial Set volumes.

Volumes from the 1980s to present are located on the Lower Level of the Morris Library. Older volumes are located in the Library Annex.

  • To determine what Reports and Documents are included in a volume of the Serial Set, use the Numerical Lists and Schedule of Volumes (NLSV) *
  • To determine what Serial Set volumes are available and the location, check the "Find a copy in the library" section of the DELCAT Discovery record.

* Or use the Congressional Serial Set database!