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A hearing is a meeting or session of a Senate, House, Joint, or Special Committee of Congress, usually open to the public, to obtain information and opinions on proposed legislation, conduct an investigation, or evaluate/oversee the activities of a government department or the implementation of a Federal law.
In addition, hearings may also be purely exploratory in nature, providing testimony and data about topics of current interest. Most Congressional hearings are published two months to two years after they are held. (GPO Access)
Hearings can cover:
Research for future legislation
Oversight of the Executive Branch
Supreme Court Nominations and nominations to other high office
People who testify before Congress include:
Experts on a subject
Members of the Executive Branch
Members of the public
Other Members of Congress
Subjects include everything that Congress funds, foreign relations, health, and safety
House Committee on Unamerican Activities investigations of communism in the United States
Horizon Oil Spill
Nomination of Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court
College Football Bowl Championship Series (Antitrust issues)
"Not all congressional hearings are available on FDsys. Whether or not a hearing is disseminated on FDsys depends on the committee. GPO continues to add hearings as they become available during each session of Congress. If a congressional hearing is not listed in FDsys, it is not available electronically via GPO at this time. FDsys contains selected House and Senate hearings for the 105th Congress (1997-98) forward. The House and Senate appropriations hearings for fiscal year 1998 forward are also included."
Call Number: MCK US Government Information REF JK8 .C6
To locate a hearing in McKeldin Library (GOV DOCS, 4th floor) , first find the hearing using Congressional (Proquest) or WorldCat UMD. Make a note of the call number (listed in Congressional Publications as SUDOC) and the Congress number (often listed in the title) or year the hearing was held.
Hearings are given a call number using the Superintendent of Documents Classification System, typically known as "Su Doc". The Su Doc system organizes publications by the agency that wrote the publication. Congressional hearings begin with "Y4" followed by additional letters and numbers that indicate which committee held the hearing.
1. Use worldcat to identify the hearing's call number. It will begin with Y4 and the Congress in which it took place.
Hearing dates indicate the Congress. Use the charts posted in the Y4 area on the 4th floor to convert dates to Congresses.
1887 - 1889 = 50th Congress
1987 - 1988 = 100th Congress
2005 - 2006 = 109th Congress
2. Locate the appropriate Congress within the Y4 area of the SuDoc stacks
3. Within the appropriate Congress, search for the hearing by call number.