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HIST 301: The Historian’s Craft: Reading, Research and Writing History

This is a course guide for students enrolled in History 301 at California State University Northridge.

United States History Government Document Sources (Oviatt Subscription Databases)

U.S. Congressional Serial Set and American State Papers (Archive of Americana)

U.S. Congressional Serial Set (Readex) and American State Papers  (Readex) include hundreds of thousands of legislative and executive agency publications. Oviatt Library's subscription to both of these is part of Readex Corporation's Archive of Americana; it offers full text and a variety of ways to search these two very important collections. Select the appropriate collection for the time period of interest. Information about each of these collections is given below.

American State Papers, 1789-1838

American State Papers is a collection of legislative and executive documents from 1780-1838, many originating from the important period between 1789 and the beginning of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set in 1817.

U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1994, 1995-present

The Readex U.S. Congressional Serial Set digital collection includes the Serial Set in full-text format for 1817-1994. The database includes a Help page with tips for more effective searching.

For access to the U.S. Congressional Serials Set information from 1995 to present, use the U.S. Government Printing Office's Congressional Documents and Congressional Reports, both of which can be combined and searched using the FDsys Advanced Search.

The Oviatt Library also has print and microform holdings of various volumes of the Serial Set.

Historical Census Data & Statistics

Some federal agencies are digitizing a number of their older publications to provide easier access. A few examples of such online collections are:

Registry of U.S. Government Publication Digitization Projects

Registry of U.S. Government Publication Digitization Projects (maintained by the U.S. Government Printing Office) lists digitization projects (usually done by libraries, government agencies, museums, and other non-profit institutions) that include U.S. Government publications. Browsing is by topic category or alphabetically by title; either provides an overview of the types of digital projects involved, an impressive and ever-expanding list covering a wide variety of subjects. Several of the more useful projects for history students include:

National Archives and Federal Records Collections

Unpublished Federal Records and Archival Collections Online

Document Reader