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U.S. Government Information at the University of Maryland Libraries

What Are Government Documents?

  • Information created, collected, processed, or disseminated by or for the United States federal government.
  • Common examples of government documents include Congressional hearings, legislation, regulations, tax forms, treaties, census data, technical reports, maps, statistics, and reports from federal agencies.

How Do I Find Government Information?

  • UM LIBRARIES’ CATALOG

Use the Catalog to find government documents from the 1990’s to the present, as well as some older government documents. To search only the U.S. Government Information collection: Use advanced search. Set the location to U.S. Government Information (all). Note: Some government documents may be located in other areas of the Libraries.

  • CATALOG OF U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS

Use the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (http://catalog.gpo.gov/F) to find government documents from 1976 to the present. Look for the SuDoc number (see reverse) to find the document in McKeldin Library, or click the link for Internet Access (if available).

  • INDEXES & GUIDES

Use indexes and guides to locate items on a specific topic. See the U.S. Government Information, Maps & GIS Services web site for a list of guides: http://www.lib.umd.edu/GOV/guides.html.

  • RESEARCH PORT

Access Research Port from the Libraries’ home page (http://www.lib.umd.edu). Select Government Documents from the databases by subject category tab and choose databases from that list (e.g., LexisNexis Congressional, ERIC). Remote access to Research Port is limited to UM students, faculty, and staff. Signing in requires use of your UM Directory ID and password.

  • INTERNET
    • Use web sites like USA.gov (http://www.usa.gov) to find recent government information.
    • More government resources: http://www.lib.umd.edu/GOV/GIO/index.html.

Finding Congressional Hearings


1. Use the library catalog to identify the hearing’s call number—it will begin with Y4—and the Congress in which it took place. Hearing dates indicate the Congress. Use the charts posted in the Y4 area on the 4th floor to convert dates to Congresses.

Examples:

1887-1889 50th Congress
1987-1988 100th Congress
2005-2006 109th Congress

2. Locate the appropriate Congress (e.g., 109th Congress) within the Y4 area of the SuDoc stacks.

3. Within the appropriate Congress, search for the hearing by call number.

SuDoc Call Numbers

Government documents use a unique call number system called the Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) system. In the Libraries’ Catalog, the SuDoc number will be listed next to the material’s location:

Example:

Y 4.EN 2:S.HRG. 105-15

In the SuDoc system, government publications are grouped together by issuing agency rather than subject, so all publications from a particular government department or agency are shelved together. To learn more about the SuDoc call number system, click here.