November 18, 2019

GPO and Law Library of Congress Announce Collaboration to Digitize the U.S. Congressional Serial Set Back to the First Volume Published in 1817

From a Joint Announcement:

The U.S. Government Publishing Office (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.

Some interesting information the public can expect to find in the Serial Set includes:

  • Maps and reports of explorations of the West
  • Reports of explorations and surveys for the Pacific Railroad
  • Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789–1897 (Includes Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln)
  • Annual Report of the Boys Scouts of America, dating back to 1924

“GPO is honored to partner with the Law Library of Congress on this massive effort toward digitizing the entire Serial Set,” said GPO Acting Deputy Director John Crawford. “Through this digitization, members of the public will be able to digitally access comprehensive and detailed information on a wide range of subjects useful for genealogical and biographical research. Of course print versions of these historic publications are available in Federal Depository Libraries across the country.”

“The U.S. Congressional Serial Set documents the history of the United States of America. We are very pleased to partner with GPO in order to make these key historical government publications searchable and freely available to the public,” said Deputy Librarian for Library Collections and Services and Law Librarian of Congress Jane Sánchez. “The Library’s collection is so vast and impressive, but it is not enough to collect and preserve. To be successful, collections must be used, and this collaboration signifies our resolve to do that.”

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.

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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