Home / Class Resources


  Background Sources
  Congressional Quarterly's Guide to Congress. 2013
Comprehensive treatment of all aspects of the Congress including history, powers, procedures, pressures, pay, conduct, and the electorate.

Encyclopedia of the American Legislative System
. 3v. 1994.
Legislative system in historical context; personnel & elections; legislative structure & processes; legislative behavior; legislature & public policy. Excellent coverage of issues in state legislatures, as well as at the national level.

Encyclopedia of the United States Congress
. 4v. 1995.
Historical development of Congress from 1789-1995.

Vital Statistics on Congress
. 1980- [biennial]

  • Statistics on over 100 topics on members of congress and their staff, campaign finance and elections, committees and workload, budgeting, and voting alignments

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents & Debates, 1774-1873.


Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789

  • Materials include journals of Congress, resolutions, committee reports, proclamations, treaties, and other proceedings of Congress.

How Our Laws Are Made 2007

  • From the Library of Congress

How to Research Congress. 1996.

  • Introduction to basic research resources on Congress
  • Covers primary & secondary sources
  • Includes selected bibliography on specific aspects of Congress

To top




Who Are Your Elected Officials in Maryland?

Project Vote Smart

  • Use this site to identify those who represent you in the U.S. Congress and your state legislature
  • Use Find Your Candidate search to identify your candidate by zip code or search for a specific legislator
  • Includes Washington and home district addresses, e-mail addresses, phone and fax numbers, brief background information, committee assignments, political action committee contributions
  • Lists members of Senate and House committees and subcommittees and key Congressional leaders and officers

C_SPAN Congressional Directory provides information on members of Congress including appearances, finances, committees, votes, bills.


Congressional Quarterly's Politics in America
. 1990- [biennial] Latest on Reserve.
Members' performances, stands on issues, voting records, interest group ratings. Political biography of each member of Congress.


The Almanac of American Politics: The Senators, the Representatives and the Governors: Their records and election results, their states and districts
1974- [biennial] Latest on Reserve.
Overview of the year in politics, as a nation and regionally. Sections on the House, Senate, and presidency, and significant issues, including elections. Political overview of each state, including members' performances, stands on issues, voting records, interest group ratings.


Congressional Directory
. [104th Congress - ]

  • GPO directory of members of Congress; Congressional officers; committee members; Congressional district maps; key governmental personnel including executive, agencies, departments.

U.S. Senate

  U.S. House of Representatives


Women in Congress

  • Website devoted to women who have served and/or who are serving in Congress
  • Includes historical essays and data, member profiles, historical artifacts related to the history of women in Congress including portraits and images, campaign buttons and literature
  • Educational Resources include essays and lessons on issues related to women in Congress
  • Historical data provides a listing by state of women who have served

Ethnic Majority

  • Lists African, Hispanic (Latino), and Asian American members of Congress, including party affiliation and state that they represent

Congressional Staff Directory. 1964- [annual]

  • Members' of Congress biographies, staff, committees; state information; governors; Congressional districts; counties & cities & their districts.

To top

Campaign Finance

Federal Election Commission

  • See Campaign Finance Reports and Data for access to financial disclosure reports filed by House, Senate and Presidential campaigns, Parties and PACs from 1993 to the present. Keyword access to reports filed from 1997 to date.
  • See Campaign Finance Law Resources for access to campaign finance laws, regulations and campaign guides for corporations, candidates and committees

Opensecrets.org: The Online Source for money in Politics Data [Center for Responsive Politics]

  • Money behind Presidential and Congressional candidates; state money maps; lobbyist's spending by name and industry; news alerts

Campaign Finance [Brookings Institution]

  • Research and commentary on campaign finance

Follow the Money [National Institute on Money in State Politics]

  • Tracks campaign contributions for each state

  Legislation: Current

LLSDC Legislative Source Book
[Law Librarians' Society of Washington, DC]

  • Offers finding aids for locating current legislation, including titles such as, Federal Legislative History Research: A Practitioner's Guide, Internet and Online Sources of Legislative and Regulatory Information, and links to Web sites of State Legislatures, State Laws and State Regulations

Open CRS:Congressional Research Reports for the People

  • Prepared by staff of the Library of Congress Congressional Research Service and intended to provide an overview of the legislative topics being addressed by the U.S. Congress
  • Focus on fact-rich, unbiased, non-technical background information on policy issues
  • Provide keyword searching of and summaries for over 12,600 CRS Reports available through various repositories sponsored by organizations such as National Council on Science and the Environment, Federation of American Scientists, and Thurgood Marshall Law Library at University of Maryland School of Law
  • zFACTS is another service that provides access to additional research reports
  • University of North Texas Libraries includes CRS reports back to 1970 that can be searched by keyword or sorted by title or by date of publication
  Primary Resources from Congress

Thomas: Legislative Information on the Internet

  • Library of Congress's gateway to current legislators & legislation
  • For a guide to using Thomas see About THOMAS
  • To check sponsors of bills, Browse Bills by Sponsor on the home page of Thomas
  • Access Roll Call Votes for House and Senate the from 101st Cong. (1989) to current
  • To check for floor activity by member and by subject of bill, search the Congressional Record [101st Cong. to current]
  • To trace the legislative history of a bill, search Bill Summary & Status [93rd Cong. (1973/74) to current]

FDsys: Federal Digital System

  • Full text of Congressional publications issued by the Government Printing Office including Congressional bills and their history, committee prints, documents, hearings, reports; Congressional Record; Public Laws and US Code.

Secondary Resources on Congressional Activity

CQ Weekly

  • Requires TU login
  • Excellent source for keeping up with the weekly coverage of Congressional activities including status of current legislation, vote charts, and bills to watch
  • Special feature articles on the agendas of members and parties, major bills before Congress, and implications of legislation

Congress.org [CQ- Roll Call Group]

  • Provides information on public policy issues with the intent of encouraging civic participation
  • Find how a member of Congress voted on a bill in the current session state-by-state or previous sessions by subject, month, member, or vote number

Roll Call Online: The Newspaper of Capitol Hill

  • Includes news features, commentary, election previews, policy briefings, and a review of legislative sessions
  • Special section on lobbying and influence
  U.S. Congressional Politics [CNN]

: Congressional Information Center

  • Includes sections on Federal and state elected officials, issues & legislation, election & candidates, and media guide

Public Agenda Online:The Inside Source for Public Opinion & Policy Analysis

  • Nonpartisan briefing on policy issues, supplemented by polling data, and a list of concerned PACS and advocacy groups
  • Click on Issue Guides tab for information on "hot" issues including facts, trends & statistics, pros & cons, major players, and public opinion
    • Links to related sources of information on an issue such as polling organizations

  Legislation: Past

Congress and the Nation
. 1945- [quadrennial]
US politics & government based on material from the CQ Almanac & other sources. Each volume provides a chronology for a 4 year period.

Congressional Quarterly Almanac
. 1964- [annual] Latest on Reserve.
Each volume devoted to summary of Congressional legislation for one session of Congress; arranged by category of legislation; includes voting information.

5th floor stacks

JK1 C15

CQ Weekly Report. 1965 - 1997

  • Earlier editions of CQ Weekly

RealClear Politics

  • Political commentary, news, polls, and election analysis pulled from columns, magazine articles, and the Web
  • Particularly useful during an election year for coverage of candidates running for Congress with links to many reputable information sources

Washington Post's Campaign Toolbox

RealClearPolitics Elections

NPR: Elections

CNN Election Center

New York Times Election Guide


Federal Election Commission

  • Post-election financial summaries of candidates, parties, and PAC's, and searchable databases on individual, committee, and candidate contributions

Congressional Races [OpenSecrets.org]

  • Search for comparison of candidates state-by-state on campaign finance, including interest group support
  Election Reform [The Century Foundation]
  • Formerly the Federal Election Reform Network focused on the National Commission on Federal Election Reform chaired by Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter establishing models for the Help America Vote Act
  • Provides access to final report, Task Force reports, and Commission hearings
  • Maintains site on current activities regarding election reform
  • Issues include: improving elections; new media,new voters; Help America Vote Act; and voter ID laws

Fair Vote: Center for Voting and Democracy

  • Advocates the "constitutionally protected right to vote, universal voter registration, a national popular vote for president, instant runoff voting and proportional voting" - from the site

Guide to US Elections 2010

  • Latest kept in Reference stacks


Vital Statistics on Congress. 1980- [biennial]

  • Historical data on Congress as an institution: membership; elections; campaign financing; committees, workload; budgets; voting alignments.
America Votes: A Handbook of Contemporary American Election Statistics. 1956- [biennial]
Presidential, Congressional, and Gubernatorial returns; includes pluralities and % per county & congressional districts.



  • Portal to Maryland governmental Web sites including the Maryland General Assembly which provides links to bills, state House & Senate affairs, and legislators' Web sites.

Ghost Hunting: Searching for Maryland Legislative History
[Michael Miller, Maryland State Law Library]

Online Databases available through Cook Library website

Academic Search Premier
Search for citations, abstracts and some full text articles from magazines and journals in various disciplines including Political Science, Law and History.

Note: The truncation symbol in this database is *. For example, environment* = environment, environments, environmental

To search for articles on legislators:

  • Search Academic Search [Ebsco], Military & Government Collection [Ebsco], and Social Sciences Abstracts [Ebsco] together by clicking on Choose Databases tab, selecting the appropriate databases and clicking on [Continue].
  • Then click on the Advanced Search tab and search lastname firstname (e.g. bush george, cardin ben*).
  • Academic Search indexes scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals, news magazines, and the New York Times
  • Social Sciences Abstracts indexes a broad selection of journals in the Social Sciences
  • Military & Government Collection indexes publications like FDCH Political Transcripts, Press Releases, & Congressional Testimony and Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents







LexisNexis Academic
For U. S. Newspapers: Click on the blue News button and select Newspapers & Wires and check off Major Newspapers or Newspapers, if you want smaller local US newspapers. Provides full text of major newspapers including New York Times (1980 - ) and Washington Post (1977 - ) and also other local newspapers like the Baltimore Sun (last 6 months only), Charleston Daily Mail, Houston Press.

Note: For best results when searching a member of congress, search by the given first name and the nickname (e.g. Ted Kennedy or Edward Kennedy) in the Headline & Lead. Depending on the uniqueness of the name, you may have to AND the name with other words like massachusetts or ma or senat! in the Everywhere field.

Note: The truncation symbol in this database is !. For example, senat! = senate, senate's, senatorial

Note: To restrict your search to a specific time period, change All available dates to a shortened time period or specific dates. Once you have a list of results, you may want to click on Sort by: Relevance to change the arrangement of results so that the "best" articles are listed first, instead of the "most current" or to Chronological, which arranges the oldest articles first.

For State/Local Newspapers & News Services: LexisNexis is a good place to start when researching less prominent members of the U.S. Congress or state-related issues that might not be covered at the national level.

  • Once in LexisNexis, click on the blue Sources button.
  • Click on Browse Sources, change All Countries to United States and then All Regions to a specfic state.
  • Below this on the web page, click on the publication type News.
  • Check the box next to your state's News Sources (e.g. Pennsylvania News Sources)
  • Click on the red box that says OK- Continue.
  • On the resulting search screen, make sure to search the section segment - HLEAD (which means Headline & lead paragraph).
    Note: For most comprehensive results when searching a member of congress, search by the given first name and the nickname (e.g. James Jeffords or Jim Jeffords)

National Newspapers [ProQuest]

  • Provides full text of newspapers including The Sun (Baltimore), Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.
  • The truncation symbol in this database is *. For example, environment* = environment, environments, environmental, etc.
  • To limit a search to The Sun (Baltimore), from the main search screen, click on select multiple databases next to the words News - Proquest Newspapers, deselect Proquest Newspapers, select The Sun.
  • To search multiple papers, such as The Sun (Baltimore) and the Washington Post, from the main search screen, click on the words select multiple databases. Uncheck Proquest Newspapers, check off the Washington Post and The Sun. Click on Continue and type in your search topic.

America: History and Life
Search for abstracts of articles from scholarly journals in history and social sciences on the Congress from an historical perspective.

The URL for this Web page is http://pages.towson.edu/sara/congress.html

Home / Class Resources sfn 1/5/12