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Government Publications-United States Federal Government

This guide was designed to help aid students and researchers locate information published by the U.S Federal government.

General Resources

Websites: 

Catalogue of US Government Publications: Lists and describes federal publications (primarily 1976- ) and provides direct links to those that are available online. Search by authoring agency, title, subject, and general keyword. (See next tab for pre-1976 documents.)

govinfo: Presents online versions of major U.S. government publications, such as: the Congressional Record, congressional publications of all kinds, the Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, Supreme Court decisions, executive branch documents and more. (Replaces the FDsys website.)

USA.gov  Official portal to U.S. government information  and services on a federal, state, tribal and local agency level. Typical documents found here are government forms, food/product recalls, consumer guides, program information, statistics, government news, tax guidelines etc.

MetaLib: A service of the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, is a Federated search engine that searches and retrieves reports, articles and citations, and also provides links to selected resources that are available online.

GovSpeak: A guide from UC San Diego on US government acronyms.

UBC Library Subscription databases

Hein Online  includes the Code of Federal Regulations, the Federal Register, Statutes at Large, U.S. Attorney General Opinions, the Congressional Record, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Public Papers of the Presidents and many other executive agency and Congressional documents.

ProQuest U.S. Serial Set Digital Collection:

This database includes Congressional reports and documents as well as executive agency and departmental reports ordered to be printed by Congress.

  • Contains documents from 1789-1969.
  • Documents and reports from the mid 1990s to present are available for free from FDSys.

Statistical Abstract of the United States : Authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic conditions of the United States. Online from 1878; including Historical Statistics from 1789-1957.  (Replaces the previously-free Census Bureau publication, which are available online).

CQ weekly and CQ.com: CQ Weekly reports on the world's most powerful legislative body completely and accurately every week. The CQ news team covers virtually every act of Congress, delivering nonpartisan news and analysis unavailable anywhere else. Includes floor votes and Congressional transcripts. 

Digital National Security Archive:

The Digital National Security Archive (DNSA) is a comprehensive collection of declassified primary source documents central to U.S. foreign and military policy dating from 1945. Document types include: presidential directives, memos, diplomatic dispatches, meeting notes, independent reports, briefing papers, White House communications, email, confidential letters and other secret material.

  • UBC Library subscribes to twenty-two collections from DNSA, each focused on a single topic, including the Berlin Crisis; US foreign policy regarding Afghanistan, Japan, Nicaragua, the Phillipines, El Salvador, South Africa and the Soviet Union; the Iran-Contra affair; Cuban missile crisis; China; Iraq & Saddam Hussein; Terrorism; Espionage and more.
  • The Library also owns the related titles: Declassified Documents Reference System (DDRS), call no.: AW5 .D429 and DDRS Retrospective Collection, call no.:AW5.D428 on microfiche.

PAIS - Public Affairs Information Service:

This database serves as an index to the literature of public policy, social policy, and the social sciences in general.

  • It contains references to a vast array of government documents, grey literature and research reports, as well as journal articles, books, conference reports, publications of international agencies, and more.
  • Documents date from 1972 - present.
  • As this is an index you will have to click on the UBC E-Link buttons embedded in your results list to see if the full-text is available through another UBC Library resource.

Microforms: 

Guide to U.S. Government Publications  (Gale).(1998-current)  Koerner Reference Z1223.Z7 G82.

  • Continues the microfiche collection with same title (1981-1993). AW5. G8456 

 United States Government Publications. Microprint format. Call no.: AW10 .U5.

This collection contains the publications found in the Monthly Catalog for the years listed below.

  • The microprint cards are arranged in two separate collections - those government publications that were part of the US Federal Depository Library Program and those government publications that were not part of the Depository Program. Items marked with a black dot in the Monthly Catalog are depository - the rest are non-depository titles.
  • Each collection is organized by Monthly Catalog date and entry number.
  • The depository collection covers 1956 - 1980. The non-depository collection covers 1953 - 1980.  Partial holdings are available for 1981-1982 on microfiche, as well as complete holdings for 1984-1985. Call no.: AW5.U55 U55

U.S. Monthly Catalogue

Catalogue of U.S. Government Publications Monthly Catalog 

  • This is the official bibliography of U.S. Government publications 
  • UBC Library has No. 1, 1895 - No. 1345, 2004 in print.  Koerner Ref. Z1223 .A18.

Discontinued in print in 2004, but is available online from July 1976 to present.

  • Print catalogs were published monthly so there are 12 issues bound together in each annual volume.

What if I don't have a specific document to search for?

If you are just beginning your research you may want to consult the Monthly Catalog's index for the year(s) you are interested in. The index allows you to search for general subjects, as well as authors and titles of specific documents. Note:

  • Prior to 1976 the Monthly Catalog included an annual, cumulative index that listed authors, limited titles and basic subjects.
  • Volumes from 1976 - 1995 included a much more comprehensive cumulative index that listed authors, titles, title keywords and Library of Congress Subjects.
  • Volumes after 1995 no longer include a cumulative index for the year, though the index for each month was retained.
  • Other indexes to the Monthly Catalog exist, including:
    • Cumulative Title Index to United States Public Documents, 1789-1976. Call no.: Z1223.Z7 L47 and
    • Cumulative Subject Index to the Monthly Catalog of US Government Publications 1900 - 1971. Call no.: Z1223.A18.

How do I Find a Publication listed in the Monthly Catalog?

The answer is dependent on the publication year of the document in question.

  • Documents published from the early 2000s- are available via GPOAccess.
  • Documents published from the mid 1950s - mid 1980s are available in print at UBC Library, call no.: AW10 .U5.
  • Documents published during years other than those mentioned above may not have been collected by UBC Library. Search for these documents by author or title in the Library catalogue. If not found, contact the Inter Library Loan Department for assistance.

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