Research guides

Federal Legislative History

Guides to Compiling

Many government, law school, and proprietary database websites, as well as books from the Jenkins collection, include how-to guides for compiling a federal legislative history. See below for a sampling of these guides.

Free Online Resources

Federal Legislative History: Initial Steps Law Library of Congress
"Quick Guide to Reference Sources" chart provides links to free online resources. Print resources listed here are located in the Library of Congress, and may not be available through Jenkins Law Library. Please check our catalog for more information.

Federal Legislative History Duke Law
Easy-to-read PDF version is available through a link at the top of the page. Although some resources link to the Duke Library Catalog, most are available through Jenkins Law Library. See the Congressional Documents guide for more information on each document type.

Federal Legislative History Research: A Practitioner's Guide to Compiling the Documents and Sifting for Legislative Intent Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C.
Click on the links at the top of the page to view as a "Detailed Outline," "Written Narrative," "Compiling Electronically," or more. Provides a thorough explanation of research strategy, but not all resources are linked. Part of LLSDC's Legislative Source Book.

Legislative History Research: A Guide to Resources for Congressional Staff Congressional Research Service (CRS)
Above link is to a PDF version of this guide. It is also available on the member database HeinOnline.

Legislative History Research Guide Georgetown Law Library
Also see Quick Reference Chart. Although some resources link to the Georgetown Library Catalog, most are available through Jenkins Law Library. See the Congressional Documents guide for more information on each document type.

Print

Although many books may offer instruction on compiling federal legislative histories, we recommend the following for their ease of use. Please note, due to changes in electronic databases some internet information from these resources might be out-of-date.

Finding the Law (12th ed.) West/Thomson Reuters
See Chapter 6: Legislative History.

Fundamentals of Legal Research (9th ed.) Foundation Press
See Chapter 10: Federal Legislative Histories.

Legal Research In A Nutshell (13th ed.) West Academic Publishing
See Chapter 5: Legislative Information. Also available on the West Academic Digital Library.