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Federal Legislation

Numbers Associated with Government Sources

Congress and Session Numbers  

In recognizing the numbers that represent the congress and session for legislative information, you can easily browse through print and electronic texts to locate the needed document.

Years of Congress Conversion Table (United States Senate)

Lists each Congress and session, beginning with the first in 1789. Provides the opening and closing dates. Especially handy for tracking the text of bills, hearings, and committee reports when only the Congress is cited.

Example:   H.Rpt. 103-2   House Report from the 103rd Congress, 2nd Session

House Reports are indexed in Congressional Publications from 1970 to the present

Public Law Numbers 

Closely related to the Congress and Session number is the Public Law Number. The first number of the Public Law refers to the Congress number in which the law was passed. The second number, following the dash, refers to the sequential order in which the bill was passed.

Example: P.L.104-104  104th law enacted in the the 104th Congress

Public Law could be located in the Congressional Publications index, through, or by locating the paper copy in the Documents Reference Area on Floor 4, AE 2.111:104-104

SuDocs Classification Numbers 

The SuDocs number is a government publications call number that always has a colon (:) in it and looks like this example:  Y 4.M 53:103.

SuDocs numbers generally follow a mnemonic pattern. For example the letter A stands for Agriculture; the letter C for Commerce; HE for Health and Human Services; etc. If you would like to locate the paper copy of a government document, be sure to write down its SuDocs number.

Example: Y 4.L 11/4:S.Hrg 104-43

43rd hearing in the 104th Congress, produced in the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources

Senate Hearing could be located through the Congressional Publications index and full text found in the Documents Stacks on Floor 4.


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Angela Bonnell
Milner Library, Office #417
309 438-2354