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Congress, Legislation, etc.: Hearings/Prints

describes Library holdings and major internet sources dealing with the operations of Congress, legislation, and regulation at the federal level

What are Hearings & Prints?

Definitions from GPO:

  • "A hearing is a meeting or session of a Senate, House, Joint, or Special Committee of Congress, usually open to the public, to obtain information and opinions on proposed legislation, conduct an investigation, or evaluate/oversee the activities of a government department or the implementation of a Federal law. In addition, hearings may also be purely exploratory in nature, providing testimony and data about topics of current interest. Most Congressional Hearings are published two months to two years after they are held."
  • "Congressional Committee Prints are publications issued by Congressional Committees that include topics related to their legislative or research activities. The prints are an excellent resource for statistical and historical information, and for legislative analysis. The subjects of the Committee Prints vary greatly due to the different concerns and actions of each Committee."

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Internet Sources of Hearings & Prints

The Government Publishing Office's is the major online source for relatively recent hearings.

Hearings and Prints may be available through individual Committee web sites, which can be found by chamber:

Unfortunately, some Congressional Committees do not release their hearings to GPO. Many of them, however, are still available on the Committees' websites. For House hearings, you can also check this source:



checkA librarian at the Univ. of Kansas libraries has a great guide full of links to Congressional Hearings on topics of current interest, as well as general information about Hearings:

Here are two handy reference lists giving online hearings sources (complete with dates of coverage), from the Law Librarians Society of Washington, D.C., and the Georgetown Law Library. Note that some sources linked in these resources are not freely available.

More about Hearings/Prints on the Internet

Notes regarding formats: Hearings and Prints are usually available in either text or PDF format.Text files do not display charts, PDFphotographs, and other graphic materials. The PDF files are electronic copies of the full hearing, including both transcripts and illustrative material, reproduced in the same quality as the printed documents.

Occasionally, not all exhibits brought to Committee hearings will appear in the printed or digital versions of the hearing transcripts. You might be able to find this material on majority or minority websites. See the links to Committees below.

checkOfficial Committee web pages, especially in the House, are operated by the jajority party, but the minority party also maintains a site for the Committee. Particularly when looking for information on controversial topics, it would be wise to seek views on both websites. Each will have a link to the other, somewhere in its navigation.

Two databases available to St. Mary's students, faculty, and staff also include Hearings and Prints. In MasterFile Premier, limit your search to "Primary Source Documents" to find hearing testimony, as well as other government publications. The database breaks each hearing into individual chunks of testimony is a nice feature.