A governing institution both collects and generates information in order to function. For historians, government documents may be one of the only option for studying people and events that didn't leave behind their own records. Government-created documents can also be challenging given the very specific ways in which they described or affected the lives of the people they record.
When considering how to use government documents, consider the following?
Every country has its own rules and guidelines for making government documents available to the public, either online or in local archives and libraries. When searching for government documents, consider:
Historical statistics are a special type of government document. They provide demographic, economic, and other numerical data collected by state agents. Statistics also reveal what these historical actors thought was important to collect and know about their populations, and what categories they used to organize people and knowledge.