Looking for background information on a complicated issue? Your new best friend: Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports. These reports are written by Library of Congress staff members and are intended to keep our members of congress up-to-date on current affairs. In the words of the CRS:
With public policy issues growing more complex and political debate turning more contentious, the need for insightful and comprehensive analysis of the issues has become vital. Congress relies on CRS to marshal interdisciplinary resources, encourage critical thinking and create innovative frameworks to help legislators form sound policies and reach decisions on a host of difficult issues.
Recent titles include:
- February 05, 2010 – Al Qaeda and Affiliates: Historical Perspective, Global Presence, and Implications for U.S. Policy
- February 01, 2010 – Campaign Finance Policy After Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission: Issues and Options for Congress
- January 28, 2010 – The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases
- January 26, 2010 – Climate Change and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS): Looking to 2020
- January 22, 2010 – Charitable Contributions for Haiti’s Earthquake Victims
While there is no central distribution point for providing public access to all CRS Reports, there are many entities that collect these reports and offer access. Here are some of the places where you can search by keyword for a CRS report on your topic:
- LexisNexis Congressional (you can limit your search in “Advanced Search” to just find CRS Reports)
- University of North Texas
For the backstory on CRS’s controversial distribution policy, see the FAQ at OpenCRS.
Find out more about Gleeson Library’s government information collection by visiting our homepage or contacting Carol Spector (the Government Information Librarian) at firstname.lastname@example.org.