University Libraries

U.S. Government Information

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 James E. Brooks Library has been an official depository for U.S. government publications since 1962, receiving currently about 40% of the items available. In addition, we collect materials in all formats including maps, atlases, globes, and historic microform sets. Legislative resources in our collection date back to 1790.

Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) call numbers, which arrange materials by government agency rather than subject, are used to organize U.S. government information. Standard indexes for U.S. publications, both online and in paper, provide the SuDocs call numbers for materials in our collection.

Government Publications Services is located on the third floor of Brooks Library, and it's research collections are available to all users. A service desk is staffed in general from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday  through Friday and on some evenings and weekends. Please check the calendar for specific hours or call (509) 963-1541. We are here to help.

Finding Information in U.S. Government Web Sites

  • is the U.S. Government's indexing site, with a search engine that provides subject access to government agency internet sites and web pages.
  • Federal Digital System (FDSys) has been designated as the official database of the U.S. Government. Contents include current legislative, administrative, and legal information that needs to be accessible immediately after release.
  • U.S. Government Documents Registry is a database from the Hathi Trust digital library composed of metadata from U.S. federal documents dating back to 1790. However, it is not comprehensive as it depends upon depository libraries adding materials to the registry. It is a great place to begin your research.

  Kids' Web Sites

  • Please know that many agencies have materials for K-12th grade on their sites as well as lesson plans for educators.  Take a few minutes to take a look!
  • Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids is an educational tool with information about our federal government specifically addressed to primary and secondary age children..
  • Coloring Books published by Federal and state governments in order to learn more about the environment, the judicial system, safety, and nutrition, plus a whole lot more.

  Law & Legislation Web Sites and Government Databases

  • . contains current legislative information. It is an excellent resource for U.S. bills, committee reports and other information regarding federal legislation.
  • The United States Congress is said to be a bicameral body which means that it comprises of two legislative bodies.  The U.S. House of Representatives is the lower body and its representation is based on population.  Each member of the House represents a certain number of people which is based on the U.S. census.  Bigger states get more representatives while smaller states get fewer representatives.  However, the absolute minimum a state can have is one representative.  The U.S. Senate is the upper body of Congress and each state gets two senators.  Each state gets an equal number of senators.  If a new state were to emerge, that state would automatically get two senators to represent them.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court is the last chance arbiter of the law.  They are the ones who have the final say so on how a law is interpreted.  They base their decisions on legal precedent and the U.S. Constitution.

Tools for Locating U.S. Government Publications - in all Formats

  • OneSearch contains subject and keyword indexing for most U.S. and Washington State publications in the Government Publications collection. Links to publications available on the Internet are included in the records.
  • Checklist of United States Public Documents, 1789 - 1909 contains a listing of government documents titles that were published between 1789 - 1909.
  • Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP)    index of  U.S. government information published from 1976 to present.  Superintendent of Documents numbers, used to shelf government publications in Brooks, are listed and direct links to available websites are included.
  • Monthly Catalog of United State Government Publications (MOCAT)  paper indexes for government publications published prior to 1976 are located in Government Documents Reference. This set provides call numbers for materials in CWU's collection, and still serves as official indexing to government publications.


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