American Memory:   Technical summary

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation

URL for collection:

Collection Overview

An integrated collection of the records, papers, and laws from the first forty-two Congresses, as well as records of the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention. These volumes are not easily available and are poorly indexed. They will now be available as digital facsimile images with selected titles keyed as fully searchable text. The combination will offer unprecedented access to these documents. The searchable House and Senate Journals will provide the principal gateway to the Congressional debates by linking to the selected day. Searchable subheadings and indices will provide additional entry points for the debates, the American State Papers, and the Statutes at Large. The collection ends in 1873 with the change from the Congressional Globe to the Congressional Record as publisher of the Congressional debates. The collection will contain page images for some 440 volumes (around 350,000 pages) with approximately 140,000 pages as searchable text. A set of related reference works will be converted to enhance the collection.
Source collection
From the Law Library of Congress the following core documents--Journal of the House of Representatives of the U.S., 1789-1873; Journal of the Senate of the U.S. 1789-1873; Annals of Congress, 1789-1824; Register of Debates, 1824-1837; The Congressional Globe, 1833-1873; Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the U.S., 1789-1873; and other selections.
Technical features
Searchable text of journals linked to page images. Links by date from within searchable text to relevant pages of debates which are in image-only sets. A database supports page-turning and subject and date searching of volumes that are only available as page-images.
Original material formats
Number of original items
440 volumes
Status of collection
A 7-volume pilot of the first Congress released in March 1998, with subsequent releases through 2001. No related reference works will be included in the pilot.
Public access:
The Library is not aware of any restrictions that inhibit public access to this collection. See notes on rights and restrictions provided by the Library to users of this collection.

Aids to intellectual access

Type & granularity
Database for image-only sets, searchable text for Journals. Each record in database provides subject and date access to the page.
Linking to digital reproductions
Database record contains identifier used in "directory name" for each metaobject representing a document. Numbering system in place to link searchable text to page images and to images of relevant pages in image-only datasets. Page-turning set for image-only documents. Text also contains SGML IDs for linking from images in page-turning set to relevant point in searchable text.

Digital reproductions

Total file-space for digital reproductions: 47 Gbytes (est.)

Printed Matter (documents) Archival text file Page images Images for page-turning
Marker Filename extension ".sgm" Filename extension ".tif" Filename extension ".gif"
Formats SGML TIFF Group IV GIF
DTD American Memory (TEI conformant) n/a n/a
Tonal resolution n/a 1 bit 4 bit
Spatial resolution
n/a 300 dpi 300 dpi
Quantity (approx) 4 (in pilot) ~5,000 (in pilot) ~2,000 (in pilot)
Sample n/a Sample page-image Sample page-turning

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Technical notes: [Documents] [Images] [Maps] [Sound recordings] [Motion pictures]