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's Government Publications, Maps, and Microforms (GovPubMM) collection has been an official depository for U.S. government publications since 1962, receiving currently about 34% of the items available. In addition, we have purchased historic sets in microformats and received many government publications as gifts. 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 paper, provide the SuDocs call numbers for materials in our collection.

GovPubMM is located on the 3rd floor. Assistance is available at the GovPubMM Reference Desk in person or by telephone: (509) 963-1541.

Finding Information in U.S. Government Web Sites

  • USA.gov 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

  Kids' Web Sites

  • 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.
  • Kids.gov searches government agency web pages to find information (and educational games) for 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.
  • Most Federal government departments and agencies will have a "kid's page" or "education resources" page on their website.  So, look for it when you go to a government agency website.

  Law & Legislation Web Sites

  • LexisNexis Academic contains the full text of U.S. and state laws and court cases. Searches can be performed by keyword or legal citation.
  • THOMAS , a Library of Congress database, contains current legislative information. It is an excellent resource for U.S. bills, committee reports and other information regarding federal legislation.
  • Congress.gov (beta) This new website that is on its beta stage at this moment, will eventually replace THOMAS. Take a look at it and see what you think. At this moment, it is not as comprehensive as THOMAS, but, hopefully, eventually it will.
  • 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.
  • Legal Reference Resources at the Brooks Library

 Indexing for U.S. Government Publications - in all Formats

  • The Online library catalog (Cattrax) 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.
  • MARCIVE  and  Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP)   both index 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 numbers for materials in CWU's collection, and still serves as official indexing to government publications.