Written by: Madan Mohan

Photo by Amanda Bartel licensed under Unsplash

Did you know that government documents are a great resource that can be used for your research? The Government Publishing Office (GPO), generally known as GovPubs, has a plethora of information that produces, distributes, and provides free access to documents from the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government. UNT is one of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) institutions that hold documents published by GPO, which are free for public access. FDLP is a national library consortium that archives, catalogs, and stores information for public use. GPO uses a separate system to organize these documents called the Superintendent of Documents Classification system, generally referred to as the SuDoc. Like the Library of Congress, GovPubs covers a wide range of topics such as legal research, health, government and politics, financial assistance, agriculture, science & technology, education, and much more. These documents can be accessed in various formats including print, electronic, monographs, serials, maps, CDs, DVDs, microfilm & and microfiche. In the present-day, government documents are mostly published digitally and are archived through several resources like FDLP.    

Where can we find government documents? There are a few ways that we can access or request Government Documents for free. Metalib is a search engine that looks for articles, reports, and citations in various federal government databases. This website has an A-to-Z list of 72 resources available that cover a wide range of subjects. Another useful resource that is important for finding government documents is the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP); this website could help the user find government information, including the various formats available for public use. Furthermore, UNT holds access to electronic resources and information that are archived through multiple databases and can be searched by subject under “Government Information.” Access to these documents and databases are readily available for UNT students. Moreover, the public can gain free access to different monographs, serials, articles, etc., through Interlibrary Loan.

Small judge gavel placed on table

Our UNT LibGuides have a list of comprehensive directories and guides that link to government resources that patrons can access to research at https://guides.library.unt.edu/government-information. UNT library Government Agencies: U.S. Federal guide has a list of the legislative branch, executive branch, judicial branch, and independent agencies links. Another useful resource that’s free for public use is The United States Government Manual. This website holds the Federal Government’s official handbook by National Archives, which stores all electronic editions digitally, and is readily available for viewing and downloading as pdf at Govinfo.gov (United States Government Manual). 

Small judge gavel photo by Sora Shimazaki licensed under Pexels

UNT also has a Citations & Style Guide for legal and government documents that give specific information on citing legal documents.

Please leave a comment letting us know about your experience with these resources.

Feel free to contact Ask Us if you need help with your research, or contact our Government Information experts Bobby Griffith and Robbie Sittel.

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