Exponential Growth of the U.S. Federal Legislative History Library

Content News, U.S. Federal Legislative History
Shannon Furtak

We are committed to increasing the value of your HeinOnline subscription by adding content to existing libraries, creating new collections, and developing new features to improve our users' legal research experiences. Thanks to partnerships with Arnold & Porter and Covington & Burling, we have dramatically increased the number of compiled federal legislative histories available in HeinOnline's U.S. Federal Legislative History Library. January 2016 marks the completion of a massive project in which hundreds of new titles were added to this library with each monthly content release.

Legislative histories are often used to research legislative intent behind one or more provisions of a public law, and will almost always provide informational and historical context behind major federal statutes. Before you set out to research the history of a particular public law, review this collection in HeinOnline to ensure that someone else hasn't already done the work for you.

At the end of 2011, the U.S. Federal Legislative History Library contained 387 titles and about 1.2 million pages. By April of 2014, when this blog post was published, it contained 934 titles and more than 2.5 million pages. Today, this impressive collection boasts nearly 2,400 titles and 22 million pages; it's currently one of the top 10 most frequently utilized HeinOnline libraries!

The following titles are the most-accessed compiled legislative histories in the U.S. Federal Legislative History Library:

It's not surprising that many of these documents pertain to today's hot-button issues, such as social security, health care reform, and the environment.

To access a compiled legislative history, enter the U.S. Federal Legislative History Library. The library can be either searched or browsed by publication title, public law number, or popular name:

Use the database version of Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories to locate available material on a specific public law.  This database can also be either searched, or browsed by Congress or by a list of public laws:

For example, to locate Public Law No. 90-321, select the 90th Congress and use the find function to locate the specific public law number:

Click the title of the law to view a list of available material pertaining to that law. For this example, there are books, journal articles, and compiled legislative histories available:

Items available in HeinOnline will be hyperlinked. For instance, clicking the legislative history from the above example will direct the user to this two-volume Covington & Burling legislative history set:

We will continue to seek out new compiled legislative histories to further increase the value of this library. If your library is in possession of a compiled legislative history that is not currently in HeinOnline, please contact us at marketing@wshein.com. We would be happy to digitize the material.

If you have questions about searching for a compiled legislative history, or if you would like a tour of this collection for your organization, contact our dedicated support team at (800) 277-6995, email us, or chat with us. We look forward to working with you!