Monday, July 22, 2019

Sources for CRS Reports

Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports, produced by a nonpartisan office within the Library of Congress, have long been a valuable research resource. For a long time, though, their access was limited to the members of Congress who requested the research, constituents who requested copies via their congressperson, and those with access through commercial databases or publishers.

CRS products include the well-known comprehensive research reports as well as shorter "In Focus" documents (providing a brief overview of a topic), "Legal Sidebars" (briefly examining legal developments), and "Insights" (analyzing current topics of interest to members of Congress). Researchers at Duke have several options for locating CRS products.
  • By law, CRS reports are now posted to the free Congressional Research Service page on Users can search for a particular topic, or list all available documents by clicking the search button with no terms in the box. Currently, more than 6,500 documents are included, mostly from the last two years but with selected historical coverage.
  • is a free website containing publicly-available reports as well as other CRS product series. Currently, the site contains more than 15,000 documents. A unique feature of this site is the ability to "redline" changes to documents with the Revision History sidebar. For example, a recent In Brief publication on Regular Vetoes and Pocket Vetoes illustrates that the majority of changes since 2005 have been quite minor, but that the most recent revision last week changed 27% of the content from the previous version, mostly related to the change in Presidential administration.
  • The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) has long maintained an online archive of CRS reports on various topics. This site also includes CRS annual reports back to FY1995, which predate the collection on the Library of Congress's own page (back to 2009). Annual reports often include a list of products prepared in that fiscal year, providing a helpful inventory of CRS materials for that time frame.
  • University of North Texas Digital Library also maintains a CRS report collection. This collection contains more than 41,500 items, dating back to the 1960s.
  • The ProQuest Congressional database, available to current members of the Duke University community, includes the full text of selected CRS reports and other products from 1916-present.
For help with locating the full text of a Congressional Research Service publication, check out the above resources or Ask a Librarian.