The bulk of CRS reports are currently not available to the public through any governmental service provider. There are several reasons for this. Because the reports were intended for in-house use only there has traditionally been little concern given to copyright and copyright infringement. CRS has voiced concerns over the possible liability if these reports are made available to the general public. The Librarian of Congress, who also opposes providing public access to CRS reports, has argued that public access may create legal liabilities for CRS stemming from those who oppose the findings in the CRS reports. It has been argued that making the reports available to the public could lead to an increased workload for CRS staff.
The move to make CRS reports available to the public online has been gaining momentum. The Washington Post, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Project on Government Oversight, the American Association of Law Libraries, and the Congressional Accountability Project have all been strong proponents of increasing public access to CRS reports.
The reports are issued in several styles. The three most common forms of CRS reports are Short Reports (RS) which are typically less than 7 pages in length, Long Reports (RL) which are often major studies, and Issue Briefs (IB) which are no longer than 16 pages and are meant to quickly provide a brief overview of the topic at hand. UWM Libraries has the available published indexes in microfilm (JK 08, JK 09) from 1916-1981; search PantherCat under the journal title "Major Studies..."
While there is no public access to all CRS reports, there are several sites that have collected a limited number of reports and have made those reports available to the public. There are also sites that provide access to CRS reports for a fee. One of the fee based providers, Penny Hill Press, has all CRS documents issued since 1995.
Another way to locate available CRS reports is by doing a Google search. A Google based search service designed to search specifically for CRS reports has also been developed and is a useful tool in any quest for CRS reports. A Google search can be used to find small collections of CRS reports an specific subjects.
This is the Google based search engine that allows for a variety of search methods.
SITES WITH GENERAL COLLECTIONS OF CRS REPORTS
The National Council for Science and the Environment has made over 2200 reports available through their site. The site has reports available on a wide array of topics, however the majority of the reports relate to the environment or science.
The U.S. Department of State has a fairly comprehensive collection of CRS reports, from 1999, on a variety of topics.
The Thurgood Marshall Law Library provides access to reports and actively pursues the acquisition of reports relating to homeland security/terroris and health law and policy.
OpenCRS, from the Center for Democracy and Technology, maintains a site linking to CRS reports.
The University of North Texas is involved with other institutions to make CRS reports accessible.
Stanford University maintains a site with links to sites for CRS reports.
CONTENT/SUBJECT SPECIFIC SITES
The IWS - Information Warfare Site has a sizeable collection of reports that relate to war and terrorism.
The U.S. Embassy in Italy provides access to a number of reports related to foreign policy.
Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C. provides access to a number of reports that relate to Congress and Congressional procedures.
The Federation of American Scientists maintain several subject lists from their departments concerning CRS reports.
Some of the specialties are:
The First Amendment Center provides access to reports that relate to first amendment issues.
The U.S. Congress House Rules Committee's site has an extensive collection of CRS reports available on Congress, Congressional procedure, and Congress's relationship with the President.
PoliticalMoneyLine, from TRKCInc., has a small collection of reports available that relate to campaign finance.
Global Security has a very small collection of reports, from 1999-2005, relating to national security and weapons.
The Franklin Pierce Law Center provides an extensive collection of reports, from 1993, relating to electronic commerce, cyberlaw, and intellectual property.
FEE BASED PROVIDERS
"Bring you Inside the Capitol," sponsored by the combined Penny Hill Press and GalleryWatch.com, has available, for a fee, all reports issued since 1993.
LexisNexis UPA Publications is a subscription-based service [not available at the UWM Libraries] that has major CRS reports, on microfiche, dating back to 1918.
2004; llb-mod 11/08/2010
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