The federal Constitution is our fundamental law. In its current embodiment, it is available both in print and online [1]. Historical versions of the Constitution are available as part of the official federal statutory collection, entitled The United States Statutes at Large and commonly known as Statutes at Large, which compiles every statute ever passed by Congress in chronological order. This collection is available at the official website of the Library of Congress [2]. The Constitution, as of 1789, is available in volume 1, page 10.

The federal Constitution is available from numerous other free-of charge repositories. For example, FDSys [3], the site of the U.S. Government Printing Office which disseminates official information from all three branches of the federal government, naturally contains past and current versions of the Constitution. The free-of-charge legal portal FindLaw [4], which contains both federal and state primary sources, also provides free access to the federal Constitution.

The fee-based digital aggregates Lexis-Nexis [5], Westlaw [6], and Bloomberg Law [7] contain the federal Constitution as well. Currently, information from Lexis and Westlaw can be accessed only after choosing a specific library or folder, such as “federal statutes,” while information on Bloomberg Law can be accessed by searching within the entire database, similar to a Google search. It seems that the next research platform from Westlaw (WestlawNext) and from Lexis (LexisAdvance) will resemble the Bloomberg Law search approach, and enable searches to be performed as soon as the user is logged in. The user does not need to designate a repository of information (i.e., “federal statutes”) as a conduit for the search algorithm. That being said, users need to know what they seek and where they expect to find it, otherwise primary sources can easily be confused with secondary sources, and vice versa.