The ability to thoroughly investigate and analyze the activity of Congress and its members is crucial for historical research projects, understanding current events, and these days, especially, for becoming a more informed voter during election time.
Discover a few ways to research the life and career of a U.S. senator, in particular, with this tip of the week. We’d like to thank Staci Green, Head of Library Operations at Dickinson State University, for her recent question, which inspired this blog post!
Start with the Basics
Before diving into the nitty gritty of database research, you’ll want to check and see if any relevant titles have already been compiled. Users can easily do this by performing a catalog search in the Catalog tab, located atop the main search bar and accessible from anywhere in HeinOnline. Throw in a keyword as simple as senators to see a list of titles containing the query.
Try different keywords for yourself to find even more titles! You’ll find general guides, bibliographies, and overviews of the Senate, such as the following:
Guide to Research Collections of Former United States Senators, 1789-1995
A list of archival repositories that hold the papers and related materials of former senators. For example, see the entry for Senator Joseph McCarthy here.
Senators of the United States: A Historical Bibliography (1995)
A listing of scholarly works about U.S. Senators through 1995. Again, see the entry for Senator Joseph McCarthy here.
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress 1774-2005
A compilation of brief biographies of all members of Congress through 2005.
And other titles relating to the office, including:
Use Specific HeinOnline Databases
For a quick and easy overview of some of the tips we’ll go over in this section of the post, watch the brief video below.
U.S. Congressional Documents
HeinOnline’s U.S. Congressional Documents includes the complete Congressional Record bound volume set from its inception, plus its three predecessor titles, congressional hearings, and much more, making it the ideal database to begin researching a specific senator.
To locate records of a specific senator’s participation in hearings, his or her statements, and more, perform a full-text search for the senator’s last name, then select the senator’s full name under the “Person” facet within the results.
In our example below, we’ve chosen to research Senator Bernie Sanders.
Users can further use the tips in these guides to make the most of U.S. Congressional Documents when researching a particular senator:
- How to Search for a Roll Call Vote, to find out how a particular senator voted on certain issues.
- Locating a Congressional Hearing, to find a specific congressional hearing at which the senator may have participated.
- Searching for a Bill Number, to locate a particular bill that the senator may have sponsored or cosponsored.
U.S. Congressional Serial Set
Now almost completely digitized in HeinOnline, the U.S. Congressional Serial Set is a must-have publication for studying American history and more current American events. More than two centuries of documents spanning more than 17,000 volumes make this publication an indispensable resource for understanding the development of the United States and, specifically, congressional activity.
To find congressional reports from committees of which the senator was a part, search the full name of the senator and filter by their date range in office. In the example below, we again chosen to research Senator Bernie Sanders.
If you have a specific Senate report or other document in mind, make sure you check out this document lookup feature that we recently incorporated into the Serial Set database.
Law Journal Library
The Law Journal Library is HeinOnline’s signature collection of more than 2,800 fully searchable, image-based journals, each dating back to the first issue ever published.
To find scholarly works that discuss and analyze various aspects of a senator’s political career, search for the senator’s first and last name. Then, filter by the “Person” and “Organization” facets to make sure you’re targeting the correct individual, and not just any individual with the same name. In the example below, we’ve chosen to research Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Connect with Us
Do you have a suggestion or a topic you’d like covered in our Tip of the Week blog series? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!