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Databases Tutorials: Advanced Search

Find links to tutorials, demonstrations, how-to guides, and other user aids developed by database vendors.

Advanced Search page

Advanced SearchAdvanced Search allows you to create complex searches that focus your results.  You can:

  • search for terms in specific search segments (Title, Subject, and More)
  • limit results to specific content types (Bills and Laws, Hearings, CRS Reports, and more)
  • limit results by date, congress, or other special limits

By default, you are searching for your term Anywhere (e.g. in any field) except the full text.

If you are interested in searching for a subject or another controlled vocabulary term, choose Find terms to view a list of controlled terms to pick from.

bottom portion of Advanced Search page

Advanced Search Limits


Retrieve testimony of witnesses in Congressional hearings and statements of participants in Congressional panels. 


Document Feature


  • content containing statistical tables, 
  • House and Senate Reports and Documents, or American State Papers, containing illustrations.. 



Retrieve bills using a sponsor name.  Or, you can specify the type of bill you want to retrieve.  Please note that Bill Amendments are available as a separate type through 1991.


Vote Reports

Retrieve vote reports for votes with a certain sponsor, or votes in a chamber of Congress.


Congressional Record

Search Congressional Record for statements by Members on a specific topic.  Search Congressional Record Bound, if available,  by topic within a specific content type, section, or index volume.

Constructing Your Search

When you first access this form, two keyword search term input boxes appear on the screen. The fields are separated from each other by two drop-down lists: the search within option, which defaults to Anywhere except full text, and the connector option, which defaults to "AND".

The idea behind having two keyword fields is that you can use them in tandem to build very powerful searches. For example, you could build a search that looks for different phrases in different parts of a document (e.g., human rights in full text and Korea in the title). Or, you could build a search that looks for one phrase, but excludes all results that include another term. Or, you could build a search that looks for two phrases that occur within a certain number of words from each other (e.g., southern california and fire within 10 words of each other in full text).

To perform an advanced search:

  1. Type your search terms into the relevant input boxes
  2. For each set of search terms, select a document segment/field from the drop down to search in. For example, subject, title, or all fields including full text. The default option is anywhere except full text.
  3. If you are using more than one search field, select a connector/operator to establish a relationship between the two fields. The default option is the AND operator.
  4. From the Content Types left-hand panel, select which content types to search. The default selects and searches all content types.
  5. Click the Search button.

Selecting a segment/field to search

Use the search in drop-down list to specify which segments/fields you would like to search.

For example, if you select Subject from the drop-down list, your search will only return results for records in which your search term appears within the subject term.

The choices that appear within the drop-down list depend on your institution's subscriptions and purchases.   


Anywhere except full text
Searches the search segments noted below, with the exception of full text.
Searches all the search segments noted below, including the full text
Congressional source
The committee, subcommittee (if there is one), CRS division, or other congressional entity that either authored or issued the publication. A complete list of the committees and CRS divisions can be found by using the Index Terms links.
Controlled vocabulary subject indexing. The items in the subject index are terms that the editorial staff have assigned to publications to describe subject matter. To see a complete listing of the vocabulary, click the Index Terms links.
The title as it exists on the actual publication, and titles of materials inserted into the document. For Serial Set materials it is the title as it exists on the actual publication, the descriptive title of the publication, and the section title of executive branch publications enclosed within larger publications in the Serial Set.
Names of witnesses who testified in hearings, including hearings published as congressional reports or documents (in addition to or instead of being published as separate hearings volumes).
Witness Affiliation
Affiliations of witnesses who testified in hearings, including hearings published as congressional reports or documents.
Author (CRS and Serial Set/House and Senate Documents and Reports only)
The author of the publication. For Serial Set, the author segment might include the member of the committee that submitted a congressional report or document or other authors, such as the President of the United States.
Map area/subject 
The geographical area presented in a Serial Set map.
Map relief method
The relief method used to represent a Serial Set map.
Names on map (Serial Set Maps only)
The geographical names presented on a Serial Set map.
Illustration caption (House and Senate Documents/ Reports and American State Papers only)
The captions of illustrations as they appear in the actual publication. Illustrations are defined as all non-textual entities that are not tables or cartographic in nature. These include drawings, paintings, photographs, lithographs, and the like.
Non-Congressional source (House and Senate Documents/ Reports; American State Papers; Executive Branch Documents only)
All Federal agencies, bureaus, commissions, and non-governmental entities authoring reports submitted to Congress. A complete list of the agencies and other entities can be found by using the Index Terms links.
Petitioner (House and Senate Documents/ Reports and American State Papers only)
The names of specific individuals who petitioned Congress for private legislation for relief (i.e., payment) in certain circumstances.
Table title (House and Senate Documents/ Reports and American State Papers only)
The title of every statistical table included in the Serial Set. For ease of use, the title of multi-page tables containing the same exact title is entered into this search segment only once.
Bills, Laws, and Resolutions (Cong Record Bound Only)
Search for your terms in the Bills, Laws, and Resolutions section of Congressional Record Bound.
Roll Call Votes (Cong Rec Bound Only)
Search for your terms in the Roll Call votes section of Congressional Record Bound.

Connecting your search terms

Use the logical connectors drop-down lists that appear between the three search terms input boxes to establish a relationship between two search terms.

For example, if you were searching for information on child labor legislation as it relates to mining, you could type child labor in the first field and mining in the second, then join them by selecting AND. This way, you would retrieve only those materials that mention "child labor" and "mining".

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