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Basic guide to get you started in researching the federal government resources both online and in the library.
Last Updated: Dec 5, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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This library is a congressionally designated depository for U.S. Government documents. Public access to the government documents collection is
guaranteed by public law. (Title 44 United States Code)"

The FSU Libraries was designated a Federal Depository Library in 1941 and serves the 2nd United States Congressional District of the state of Florida.

Information about the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) may be found here.



Ask a Librarian


Information about the Federal Collection

Federal Documents

 1.  What is a government document?

 Government documents are official publications produced by any government agency, such as the Federal government, a state agency or the United Nations. They come in a variety of physical formats, including books, periodicals, maps, microfiche, CD-ROMs, videotapes, and in electronic format on internet sites. 

 2.  What is in the Federal documents collection?

 Strozier Library receives many of the publications available through the Federal Depository Program. Subjects covered include aeronautics, business, demographics, education, energy, environment, foreign affairs, government policy and programs, health, natural resources, technology and more.  We have publications issued by the first Congress and by all subsequent congresses, and publications from every cabinet level department and most other administrative agencies. 

 3.  How do I search for Federal documents?

 Most Federal documents received since 1990 can be found through the online catalog.  Documents issued since 1895 can also be identified through The Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications issued by the Government Printing Office.  The table under the "Uncataloged material" tab lists other places to locate documents that are not in our online catalog.

 U.S. government-sponsored research and worldwide scientific, technical, engineering, and business-related information can be identified through the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), at or possibly from here.

 4.  How do I find Federal documents on the shelf?

 Practically all of the Federal documents are shelved in compact stacks or microfiche cabinets in the Basement of Strozier Library, which are  accessible  all hours Strozier Library is open.  Most Federal documents are arranged by issuing agency using the call number system created by the Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc).

 SuDoc numbers are in three parts, separated by a period and a colon, and often include slashes. The part before the period represents the agency responsible for the publication, the part between the period and the colon describes the series or type of publication, and that after the colon identifies the individual piece. Click on the "By agency" tab of this guide for more detailed information. Search Box

Key Library Databases

  • CQ Press on Sage Knowledge
    This database combines many of CQ's most well- known government and political titles into a single searchable database. It includes such titles as the Political Handbook of the world, Elections A to Z, the Federal Regulatory Directory and the Washington Information Directory and covers such topics as International Affairs, Congress, Law and the Courts, Elections and Political Behavior, the Presidency and Politics and History.
  • CQ Weekly
    A complete source for expert coverage of the U.S. Congress: status of bills, votes and amendments, floor and committee activity, backroom maneuvering, and more. Full-text coverage from October, 1983 to the present. Paper copies located in the Documents Collection of Strozier Library (320.5 C111)
  • Declassified Documents Reference System (DDRS)
    Provides access to digitized copies of classified Government Documents as they are declassified.
    Library has 1975-1997 in Mif 439 and guide in Micr Z1223.Z9D4.
  • Demographics Now
  • Digital National Security Archive
    Subscription-based resource linked to the National Security Archive, an independent, non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University, which collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The Archive provides the most comprehensive collection available of significant primary documents central to US foreign and military policy since 1945.
  • EIS: Digests of Environmental Impact Statements (Full archive)
  • Engineering Information Village
    Provides access to over 6,000,000 summaries of journal articles, technical reports, and conference papers and proceedings dating from 1970 forward as well as more than 10,000 web site abstracts, and 80 full-text searchable handbooks, patents and standards. Also called Ei Village 2.
  • Government Periodicals Index
    ProQuest Government Periodicals Index is your key to unlocking the wealth of material published by the United States federal government. As a publisher of information relating to diverse subjects business, agriculture, national security, the environment, nutrition, transportation and more the federal government offers numerous magazines and newsletters with substantial research value. Government Periodicals Index helps researchers access this type of information through detailed indexing.
  • Hathi Trust
    HathiTrust is a partnership of academic & research institutions, offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world. For greater access, log in under My Collections with your FSU ID.
  • Historical Statistics of the United States
    Print version in STROZIER Documents -- C3.134/2: H62 1789-1970
  • Homeland Security Digital Library
    Quick access to important U.S. policy documents, presidential directives, and national strategy documents as well as specialized resources such as theses and reports from various universities, organizations. In Library Access only for some collections but the following is available to the public: CRS reports; Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports; Congressional hearings, reports, documents, resolutions and public laws; GAO reports, Inspector General reports, Presidential directives, etc.
  • Military and Government Collection
    Designed to offer current news pertaining to all branches of the military and government, this database offers a thorough collection of periodicals, academic journals, and other content pertinent to the increasing needs of those sites. The Military & Government Collection provides cover-to-cover full text for nearly 300 journals and periodicals and indexing and abstracts for more than 400 titles.
  • PAIS International
    Provides access to materials on public affairs from 1972 to date. Includes articles, books, conference proceedings, government documents, book chapters, and statistical directories about public affairs.
  • Proquest Congressional
  • Social Explorer
    Contains historical decennial census data for the United States from 1790 to the latest census, the American Community Survey, the American Religious Bodies (ASARB), and InfoGroup for latest religion data . Can create reports and download data in convenient formats quickly and easily. Only 1 simultaneous user is allowed.
  • Statistical Abstract of the US
    The ProQuest Statistical Abstract of the United States is the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic conditions of the United States.
  • U.S. Congressional Serial Set

Key Sites

  • A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments & Agencies  
  • A to Z Resource List  
  • Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
    Also in STROZIER Documents PrEx2.20:
  • Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP)
    The CGP is the finding tool for federal publications that includes descriptive records for historical and current publications and provides direct links to those that are available online.
  • CIC Floppy Disk Project
    A GPO partnership that makes publications that were distributed to federal depository libraries on floppy disk available over the Internet.
  • Core Documents of U.S. Democracy  
  • Cumulative List of Organizations
    "Cumulative List of Organizations described in Section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, is a list of organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. This online version is offered to help you conduct a more efficient search of these organizations."
  • CyberCemetery  
    Provides permanent public access to the Web sites and publications of defunct U.S. government agencies and commissions.
  • End of Term Web Archive: US Federal Government Websites 2008-2009
    Documents the United States Government's World Wide Web presence during the transition between the administrations of President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.
  • Executive Branch Resources on GPO Access
  • FDsys  
    Provides public access to Government information submitted by Congress and Federal agencies and preserved as technology changes.
  • FDsys/GPO Access Online Resources: A-Z Resource list
    Quick links on FDsys
  • Federal Advisory Committees
    Perform a search by federal agency, topic, year or other variable.
  • Federal Agency Directory  
  • Federal Citizen Information Center
    Since 1970, the Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC) has been a trusted one-stop shop for answers to questions about consumer problems and government services.
  • Fedstats
    Official government statistics and links to government statistical agency sites.
    Links to top government sites
  • Free USA Government Publications
    Consumer information online
  • Foreign
    "The Foreign Assistance Dashboard provides a view of U.S. Government foreign assistance funds and enables users to examine, research, and track aid investments in a standard and easy-to-understand format. The Dashboard is still in its early stages of development."
    "Your one stop for Federal, state & local geographic data."
  • Google Patents
    Federal, state and local government information.
  • Government Attic
    " provides electronic copies of thousands of interesting Federal Government documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Fascinating historical documents, reports on items in the news, oddities and fun stuff and government bloopers, they're all here. "
  • Government Information  
    Site created by government information librarians
  • Government Information on the Web Subject Index  
  • Govpulse
    Ability to search the Federal Register and search for specific agencies and more.
  • GPO Access
    Official government information from the Government Printing Office (GPO) The information on this site is in the process of being migrated to GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys).
  • Info USA
    This site has information about United States history, culture, economy, educational systems, political processes and some very good links to government and non-governmental sites.

  • Library of Congress Finding Aids
  • LLMC Digital
    "LLMC is a non-profit cooperative of libraries dedicated to the twin goals of, preserving legal titles and government documents, while making copies inexpensively available digitally through its on-line service LLMC-Digital. LLMC provides libraries with a reliable and budget-friendly source of digital replacement when their older, physically deteriorating books became too burdensome to store given diminished use. While aiding libraries in their preservation and space recovery programs, it also provides an economical way to complete retrospective collections."
  • MetaLib- GPO
    Use MetaLib's federated searching to retrieve reports, articles, and citations by simultaneously searching across multiple databases (including reference databases, digital repositories or subject-based Web gateways). This tool, is a service of the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP), and also allows searching individual databases using the A-Z Resource List tab at the top.
  • National Archives-Holdings
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
    NISTS's "mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life."
  • National Service Center for Environomental Publication (NSCEP)
    EPA’s premier site for accessing EPA publications, with more than 7,000 in stock and 31,000 digital titles, free of charge.
  • Reference Center and General Government  
    "Find U.S. government common abbreviations, calendars, contact information, forms, photos, maps, news and more."
  • Registry of U.S. Government Publication Digitization Projects
    Contains records for projects that include digitized copies of publications originating from the U.S. Government, serving as a locator tool for publicly accessible collections of digitized U.S. Government publications. Shows U.S. Government publication digitization projects that are planned, in progress, or completed.
    This site reports product safety incidents through to help the Consumer Product Safety Commission identify product hazards quicker to provide consumers with safety information on products they regularly use.
    Searches government agencies, independent agencies and state and local sites.
    Search engine for military sites
  • Stats America
    "STATS America is a service of the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. We obtain thousands of data items from hundreds of data sets from a dozens of federal and state sources, along with some commercial or private source data."
  • University of North Texas Libraries Digital Collections
    This A to Z Digitization Project encompasses all pre-1960 federal government documents which were identified for retro-cataloging purposes. They are digitizing them alphabetically, starting with the call number A, which includes agricultural documents.
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office
  • U.S. Government Documents- Internet Archive
  • U.S. Government Photos and Images
    Many high-quality images on a wide variety of topics. Most of these images and graphics are available for use in the public domain they may be used and reproduced without permission or fee. However, some images may be protected by license.
  • U.S. Government Posters
    Iowa Digital Library
    Official portal to U.S. government information

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Marcia Gorin
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