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Using CIS/Annual for Federal Legislative History Research

Prepared by Frank Houdek, SIU Law Library — Spring 2006


Components of CIS/Annual System (KF 49.C62 Ref)

  1. ABSTRACT VOLUMES provide summaries of all Congressional publications, including reports and hearings; covers all documents whether or not bill actually enacted
  2. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY VOLUMES (Access Method #1): lists all Congressional publications (i.e., reports, hearings, prints, documents) relating to enacted federal legislation; arranged in P.L. # order (note: this material is found in the yearly ABSTRACTS volumes for years prior to 1984)
  3. INDEX VOLUMES (Access Method #2): provide access to the abstracts through detailed subject index as well as separate tables arranged by title of publication, bill number, public law number, or report number; allows you to use what you know to find all Congressional publications, whether or not legislation was enacted
  4. MICROFICHE SERVICE provides complete text of all materials indexed in the books (note: SIU has the CIS microfiche service for 1970–1983; from mid–1983 to present, SIU has comparable GPO microfiche service that is arranged by “SuDoc” number)

How to Use CIS/Annual to Find Congressional Publications

  1. Find CIS reference #s (e.g., H421-16) for apparently relevant documents, using either
    1. Access Method #1: the “Legislative History” section covering the public law no. (if you are researching a bill that was actually enacted), OR
    2. Access Method #2: the appropriate index(es) in “Index” volume (if bill was not enacted)
  2. Once you have found CIS reference numbers, go to “Abstracts” volume of appropriate year to read summary of publication (it is here that you can get the official report number for a committee report) and decide if you wish to see the full text of the publication
  3. Obtain full text of relevant publication(s) on microfiche, using either
    1. CIS number for 1970–83 (e.g., H301-26)
    2. SuDoc number for 1983–present (e.g., Y4.L11/2:Sal/3)

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