The Center for Legislative Archives

Research Guides and Tools


The Center for Legislative Archives has created a variety of guides to assist researchers in learning more about the records in our holdings. The guides of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and Joint Committees of Congress provide an overview of unpublished records held at the National Archives. There are guides to:

Finding Aids and Preliminary Inventories

The Center for Legislative has various finding aids and preliminary inventories for selected records. Our preliminary inventories are detailed finding aids that include descriptions of series, and in some instances include folder titles, at the record group or committee level. These inventories are available in our research room, and are also being added to the National Archives Catalog.

Online Public Access

Most of the Center's holdings have been described. The description is available through the National Archives Catalog.

Digitized copies of records and born-digital electronic records in the Center's holdings are made available through the National Archives Catalog. The vast majority of the Center's holdings are paper-based records that have not been digitized. The Center also features various digitized documents through our Featured Documents section.

Citing the Records of Congress

To facilitate retrieval of unpublished Congressional records, researchers should include the following elements in their citation record: file unit, series, Congress, record group, and repository. For more guidance visit Chapter 1 of the House and Senate Guides, which includes a section on Citing Unpublished Congressional Documents, or visit our page on Citing the Records of Congress.


Ready to start your research?

Visit our Research Portal to browse and search legislative records.