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The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications

CGP: Basic Search

Welcome to the GPO LibGuide for The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP)!   

"The CGP is the finding tool for federal publications that includes descriptive information for historical and current publications as well as direct links to the full document, when available.  Users can search by authoring agency, title, subject, and general keywords, or click on "Advanced Search" for more options."

CGP: Basic Search Instructions

search example for "water quality florida"

The initial landing page offers users the fastest, "Basic" search functionality: enter some search terms and click "Go"!  This example shows a search for the terms "water quality Florida" in any keyword index and within the Historic Shelflist catalog.


For more options with a Basic Search, choose a keyword index:

  • Exact Title: search terms will appear in the exact order given
  • Title: search terms may appear anywhere in the title
  • Author: surname and forename in any order
  • Subject: LC, MeSH, and NASA subject headings

Then choose a catalog to search (available catalogs are listed in the box below). Enter search term(s) in the box and click "Go". Use quotes around phrases, use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) between terms, or apply any of the other rules listed above to get more precise search results. 

Once you have conducted a search you begin to work within the catalog. To perform another Basic Search, click on BASIC in the catalog's top navigation bar and formulate a search as done previously, or simply update the previous search by adjusting the search parameters at the bottom of the Results List page (this will require an understanding of the Command Code Language described on the CGP: Expert Search Page).

CGP: Searchable Catalogs


Other catalogs contain record subsets of the "full" Catalog of U.S. Government Publications and are a first step in narrowing a search. These catalogs also contain indexing specific to the content. For example, ISSN numbers can be searched in the Serials catalog:

CGP: Other Search Types

Wildcard search

For specific subject searches of LC, MeSH, and NASA subject headings, the wildcard character, "?" (question mark) must be used if the exact heading is unknown. For example:

LC heading search of libraries retrieves only records with "libraries" as a subject heading.
LC heading search of libraries? also retrieves records in which "libraries" is only the first element of the subject heading, e.g., "libraries - security measures"
super? = super, superconductor, superintendent, superpower, supervisory, etc. 


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