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Brooks Library Research Guides: Government Publications, Maps, and Microforms
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Brooks Library Research Guides: Government Publications, Maps, and Microforms

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Government Publications LibGuide
This Government Publications, Maps, and Microforms Research Guide has been transformed into the new & improved Government Publications, Maps, and Microforms Libguide.  Please let us know what you think and how we can make further improvements!  Thank you.
The GovPubMM Department
The Government Publications, Maps, & Microforms (GovPubMM) Department contains more information in a physical form (paper, microform, and microprint) than the entire rest of the Brooks Library does.  We also provide links in Cattrax, and on our Departmental Pages, and here in this topic guide, to a vast amount of the information provided by the Federal Government, the Washington State government, and other information sources.

This Topic Guide is designed to be skimmed, scanned, and scrutinized for 'information clues'.  Government information can be accessed in many different ways, so there is not really a 'best approach' to finding the information that you are looking for.  Information from several government branches, departments, agencies, services, bureaus, administrations, institutes, surveys, offices, programs, foundations, corporations, commissions, committees, or boards, may be useful in your search.  Scroll through our annotated collections of links, opening in another tab any that seem likely to be relevant to your information need.  Generally speaking your curiosity is your best guide for finding the information that you are looking for, if a link looks like it might lead to something relevant to your information need there is a good chance it is worthwhile to click on it and explore further.  The GovPubMM staff are enthusiastically available to serve as 'curiosity-support' during most of the time that the Library is open, and also by appointment.

The GovPubMM Department is located on the Third Floor of the James E. Brooks Library.  The collection is open for browsing whenever the library is open.  Assistance with using our diverse collections is available at the GovPubMM Public Service Desk.

GovPubMM Staff
Our Public Service Desk telephone number: 509-963-1541
     Carlos Diaz 509-963-1545   diazca@cwu.edu
     Christopher Gwyn 509-963-2477   gwync@cwu.edu
     Kathleen Nelms 509-963-1520   nelmsk@cwu.edu
     Michele Reilly 509-963-2117   reillym@cwu.edu
     John Streepy 509-963-2862   streepyj@cwu.edu

    Academic Quarter Hours   Intersession Hours
    8:00am-9:00pm   Monday-Wednesday, 
    8:00am-8:00pm   Thursday,  
    8:00am-5:00pm   Friday,
   11:00am-5:00pm  Saturday,
    1:00pm-9:00pm   Sunday
  8:00am-5:00pm  Monday-Friday.  

covered by government information include literally every topic imaginable:
  • Popular materials, including consumer information, recreation guides, many kinds of reports, and foreign country data.
  • Technical and special documents include tax forms, patents, and environmental impact statements.
  • Official publications containing laws, regulations, reports, and legislation.
  • And much, much, more.

  • Document sizes can range from 1-page pamphlets to large sets of Compact Disks.
  • Documents collections include books, periodicals, maps, leaflets, photographs, digital files, posters, and more.
  • Information may be available on paper, microfiche, disk, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, video, or online.

Call Numbers:
  • Call Numbers for Federal Government Documents are referred to as SuDoc Numbers.  The Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) classification system groups together publications by the government organization that published them.  Within an agency or department publications are grouped according to which subordinate organization produced them.  The letters and numbers to the left of the colon (:) refer to the specific organization that produced the document, the letters and numbers to the right of the colon identify the document in relation to the other documents produced by that specific government organization.  The purpose of this system is to uniquely identify, logically relate, and physically arrange each publication so that all publications of a single agency or department may be found together.  More detailed information is available here and here.

  • Call Numbers for Washington State Government Documents begin with WA, followed by letters indicating the publishing agency.

Circulation of government documents or maps is usually for 21 days.  Microforms may not be checked out, but they may be copied.

  • Most of our collection is already listed in Cattrax, but occasionally items will need to be entered into CATTRAX at the GovPubMM Service Desk (east of the elevator on the 3rd floor) before they can be checked out at the Circulation Desk on the 1st floor.
  • A few documents, such as rare or fragile publications, reference works, and microforms, may only be used in the building.

Federal Government Publications
Government Depositary Library Logo
The James E. Brooks Library is a Congressionally Designated Depository Library for U.S. Government documents.  Public access to the Government Documents collection is guaranteed by public law (Title 44 United States Code).  We have been an official depository for U.S. Government publications since 1962.

We currently receive physical copies of, and/or links to, about 34% of the publications that the GPO distributes.  We have also purchased historic sets in microformats and have received many government publications as gifts.  The legislative resources in our collection date back to 1790.

Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) Call Numbers are used to organize U.S. government information.  SuDocs numbers arrange materials by government agency instead of by subject.  When changes occur in how government agencies, departments, and bureaus, are organized their SuDocs numbers frequently change as well.

Finding Information on U.S. Government Web Sites:

Note: Beginning on November 19th, 2013 the main URL for THOMAS was redirected to the new congress.gov system.  Permanent links and links to subpages are not currently affected.  THOMAS will remain fully operational and updated, and available until late 2014, when the transition is completed and THOMAS is scheduled to be retired.  More information about this transition is available here.

Federal Executive Branch

The executive branch of the government is responsible for enforcing laws and regulations, and includes many departments and agencies.

The Federal Court System

The U.S. Supreme Court is the final arbiter and interpreter of U.S. law and the U.S. Constitution.  If Congress disagrees with a Supreme Court ruling it can introduce legislation to change the law, but it cannot reinterpret or disregard a Supreme Court ruling.

The Legislative Branch

The United States Congress is a bicameral body, comprised of two legislative bodies.  In the U.S. House of Representatives representation is based on population.  Each member of the House represents approximately the same number of people, and every state has at least one representative.  In contrast each state has two senators in the U.S. Senate.

Washington State Government Publications
The Brooks Library's Government Publications, Maps & Microforms (GovPubMM) department has been a full depository for Washington State government publications since 1965, receiving all of the materials available from the Washington State Library.  Many older state government publications have been acquired as gifts, and our collection currently includes more than 20,000 items.

Washington State publications are located on the 3rd floor, in the same room as our Maps Library.  You can search for Washington State Government documents by using Cattrax, the library's online catalog.  Call numbers for Washington State Documents begin with Wa, and the location is listed as "Docs Collection 3rd Floor".  Assistance with locating materials is available at the GovPubMM Reference Desk and at this telephone number (509) 963-1541.

Access Washington is the official website for government information in Washington State.  Among the many links to agencies, organizations, and services, by name and/or subject are:

Find-It! Washington
is a collection of online search tools for finding government information provided by the Washington State Library's Government Information Locator Service.

State Archives
Law & Legislation Web Sites

Miscellaneous Sites

Tax Forms! and other topical topics
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides all of the forms and instructions you need to pay your taxes:

Other topical Federal or State Government Information:
  • Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act begins October 1st.
    To find out the best options for you, go to: http://www.wahealthplanfinder.org/ .  You may even qualify for financial aid.


Note:  This Section is still "under construction".

The Map Collection

The Brooks Library has approximately 90,000 sheet maps that can be checked out.  We have topographic maps, geological maps, nautical and aeronautical charts, National Geographic maps, atlases and other geographic materials covering a variety of areas and topics.  Due to space constraints we only collect topographic maps from States west of the Mississippi River.  Topographic maps of States east of the Mississippi River are available in the Geography Department Maps Library in Dean Hall.

The Maps Room also contains our Legal Reference, Government Documents Reference, Washington State Documents, U.S. Department of the Interior, and our Poster collections.  (The Washington State Documents and the Interior Department collections, shelved on the north side of the room, include very many fascinating and informative maps.)

You can also find maps in our U.S. Government Documents Stacks collection: soil survey maps from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, political maps of the world from the Central Intelligence Agency, National Park Service maps, maps from the United States Forest Service, among others.

The Maps Library Collection is in the beginning stages of a reorganization that will make it more accessible for library patrons.  When the reorganization is complete all of our maps will have records in the Library catalog.  If you are unable to find the maps you are looking for please consult with one of our staff members.

Detailed information on our maps collection is compiled in this recent handout [Maps Library.pdf pdf, Maps Library.docx docx].

Web Sites

Locate Geographic Features and Named Places
  • GEONames Search - This feature-rich website from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency provides information about geographic place names in multiple languages.

  • Geographic Names Information System [GNIS] - This site from the U.S. Geological Survey has a Basic Query that enables you to search the database for all U.S. geographic features, an Advanced Search that uses additional fields for more complex searches.  This site also enables you to search for features in Antarctica and to search the database for U.S. geographic features using the relevant Census Codes, Class Codes, GSA Codes, and OPM Codes.

U.S. Government Agencies Involved with Mapping

Online Maps

  • Natural Earth Select a geographic location from the world map and focus in an area.

  • InfoMine Maps and GI S A very helpful site for all types of mapping information and digital maps.

  • Map Collection from the Library of Congress' American Memory website.

  • NationalAtlas.gov You will find all sorts of maps for the United States in all sorts of formats and interests.

  • Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection Electronic collection of maps gathered by University of Texas.  Includes over 300 maps of the United States, historical maps and city maps.

  • USGS EarthExplorer Access to all types of maps online.

  • World Map Connection Links to online maps covering all areas of the world.
  • OpenStreetMap is an increasingly comprehensive world-wide map.  Contributors use aerial imagery, GPS devices, and low-tech field maps to verify that OSM is accurate and up to date, and to emphasizes local knowledge.  OpenStreetMap is the ongoing creation of enthusiast mappers, GIS professionals, engineers running the OSM servers, humanitarians mapping disaster-affected areas, and many more people.  OpenStreetMap is open data: you are free to use it for any purpose as long as you credit OpenStreetMap and its contributors.  If you alter or build upon the data in certain ways, you may distribute the result only under the same licence.  See the Copyright and License page for details.

Microforms, Newspapers, ERIC, LAC, and more!

This Section is still "under construction".

Lots of our microforms are government publications

We have ERIC and the Library of American Civilization on microform!

We have newspapers on microforms!

We have lots and lots more stuff on microform - most of the information that is physically located inside the Brooks Library is in microform!

Microforms Collections


General Information

Microforms are materials that have been photographed and reprinted in a miniaturized format. CWU's collection includes a variety of materials, such as: newspapers, periodicals, rare and out-of-print books, government publications, dissertations, special collections, and college catalogs.

The microform collection is in a separate room on the 3rd floor of CWU Library, and contains 3 Microformats:

  1. Microfiche (MH location) - Rectangular cards containing transparent film, filed in drawers. U.S. government publications have "SuDocs" numbers, and the rest of the collection is arranged using accession numbers.
  2. Microfilm (MM location) - Reels of transparent film, placed in boxes that are filed in drawers. Each title has a number.
  3. Microprint / Microcard (MP location) - White cards with miniature black print, filed in boxes on shelves. Each set has a number.

Indexes to the microforms vary according to the type of material:

Microform Sets

  • CATTRAX contains records for many of the microform sets. Searches can be performed using keywords, subject, author or title. The record for the set will provide the location number and format for CWU's collection. CATTRAX records describe the entire set, without any entries for the individual publications or titles contained within the set.
  • Printed indexes for most of the microform sets are available at the Documents Reference Desk (3rd floor). The indexes are also arranged in numeric order, using the same number that was given to the microform set. A card file at the Documents Reference Desk contains detailed descriptions and provides access by subject for selected sets.

Newspapers And Periodicals

  • CATTRAX contains records for newspapers and periodicals. Records indicate issues received, format, and call number for newspaper and periodical titles owned by the Library.
  • Indexes and abstracts in the Reference Department (1st floor) and electronic databases accessible through the Library's web pages are used to locate articles within the newspapers and magazines.
  • The Government Documents Department has a list of major newspapers in microform, including both current newspapers and newspapers of historical interest.

Government Publications

  • CATTRAX, Marcive, and Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP) are databases that contain records for documents in all formats, including microfiche. The complete record is used to determine where each document title will be found. All documents are filed or shelved according to the "SuDocs" classification system, which puts materials in order by the publishing agency. (Documents are filed at the beginning of the microfiche collection).
  • Historical documents, primarily congressional materials, have been purchased as sets, with a separate index for each collection. Most of these indexes are located at the Government Publications Desk on the 3rd floor.

Assistance with locating microforms and using the equipment is available, and advisable for first-time users, at the Government Publications Desk on the 3rd floor.

Equipment for reading and printing pages in each of these formats is available on the 3rd floor. Copies are $.10 per page. Change or a copy card (charging $.08 per page) can be used. Portable microfiche readers, for home use, can be checked out from the Circulation Desk (1st floor) for 3 days.

Selected Microform Collections, By Subject


  • ERIC (Microfiche 9) is a collection of separately published materials (not journal articles) in the field of education. The collection includes research reports, presentations and guides. The ERIC Index is available online via the U.S. Department of Education's website.

English Literature

  • Early American Imprints (Microprint 8) contains the complete text of virtually every book, pamphlet, and broadside printed in the United States from 1639 to 1800. The extensive index, Evan's American Bibliography, is located on the shelf next to the set.
  • Microbook Library of English Literature (Microfiche 4) provides the text of English literary works from their beginnings (Beowulf) to the early 20th century. An index is available at the Government Documents Reference Desk. (Also in the Reference Department at Call Number Z 2012 L47).
  • Library of English Literature (Microfiche 4) contains early English literary works, from the beginning to the early 20th century. The index is available at the Documents Reference Desk.

Foreign Countries

  • United Nations Publications (Microprint 144, 1946-1982 and Microfiche 144, 1982-1992) is a collection of UN documents and official records. Indexes are on the Documents Index Table (3rd floor) Z 6482 U45.


  • U.S. Congressional Serial Set (Microprint 145) contains the text of U.S. congressional committee reports published from 1789-1964. Indexes are located on the Documents Index Table (3rd floor) Z 1223.Z9 C65.


  • History of the Pacific Northwest (Microfilm 641) contains materials relative to the settling of the Pacific Northwest. An index is available at the Government Documents Reference Desk.
  • Library of American Civilization (Microfiche 351) is a large collection of historically significant publications published from the "beginning" until the outbreak of WW II. Indexes are at the Documents Reference Desk.
  • Western Americana (Microfiche 318) is a microfiche collection of books and documents from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. An index to the collection is available at the Documents Reference Desk.


  • CWU collects microfilm reels with editions of many newspapers, including:
    • Christian Science Monitor (MM 1)
    • New York Times (MM 214)
    • Seattle Times (MM 3)
    • London Times (MM 304)
    • Wall Street Journal (MM 20)
    • Washington Post (MM 701)
  • Indexes for newspapers are located in the Government Documents Department (3rd floor).
  • Electronic indexes to newspapers are available via the CWU Library Databases Page.


  • These collections include personal papers from individuals, such as Jane Addams Papers (MM 908) and The Papers of Andrew Jackson (MM 1013), along with papers from organizations, such as Indian Rights Association Papers 1864-1973 (MM 392) and National Woman's Party Papers 1913-1974 (MM 845-846).
  • Indexes for sets of papers are located at the Documents Reference Desk.


  • HRAF (Human Relations Area Files) (Microfiche 3) provides information about world cultures and ethnic groups. Consult the Outline of World Cultures, the Outline of Cultural Materials, and the HRAF Source Bibliography at the Government Documents Reference Desk to locate information in the collection.

Government Publications, Maps & Microforms - Guides & Handouts
Attachment Size
newspapers-list-callnumber2012.pdf 99.39 KB
newspapers-list-geography2012.pdf 98.42 KB
newspapers-list-titles2012.pdf 100.49 KB

Laws, Law Books, & information about the Law
Legal Reference Resources in the Government Publications, Maps, and Microforms Department of the James E. Brooks Library

In the United States, law is created in two ways:   1) Case Law and 2) Statutory Law.
  • Case Law is law that is created by the courts when interpreting legislation created by the state legislature or Congress.  In the U.S. the court system can review a law that has been passed to see if it adheres to the State and/or Federal Constitution.  The judicial system in the U.S. also allows an appeal all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, who is the final arbiter of the law.

  • Statutory Law is law created by a municipality, state legislature, or Congress.  A legislator, as a representative of the people, submits a bill to the relevant legislative body.

    • The bill is assigned to a committee, the committee makes changes and additions, then the bill is submitted to the legislative body for debate and discussion, where more changes and additions may occur, until it is clear whether there is, or is not, support for passing the bill in the legislative body or bodies (Congress, and most State Legislatures, are divided into two legislative bodies).

    • If a bill passes both legislative bodies the bill (at the State level) goes to the Governor or (at the Federal level) the President of the United States for signing.  If the Governor or President disagrees with the bill, he or she usually has the power to veto the bill.  The House of Representatives can override the President's veto by a two-thirds vote; most State Legislatures have a similar ability to overrule the governor.

Our Legal Reference Collection here at the Brooks Library Government Publications, Maps, and Microforms (GovPubMM) Department includes a variety of both case law and statutory law resources.  If you have any questions about our resources, or about how to access other resources, please stop by the "GovPubMM" Desk, located on the 3rd floor of the Brooks Library, or you call us at (509) 963-1541.

I.  Case Law:
    1.1  United States – Supreme Court
  • West’s Subscriptions
    • Supreme Court Reporter (S. Ct.)
      Format: Paper
      Coverage: October, 1882 – July 1st, 2003 [through 123 S.Ct. No.17]
      Call Number: Docs Ref KF 101 A2
      Location: Hallway Shelves.

    • United States Supreme Court Digest
      Format: Paper
      Coverage: 1754 – 2008) [through 129 S.Ct. No. 622]
      Call Number: Docs Ref KF 101.1 U5
      Location: Hallway Shelves

  • Federal Documents Depository (various formats)

  • Lexis/Nexis Database (available through the Brooks Library Database page)
    • General Instructions: Click "Search By Content Type", then select "Federal & State Cases", Click "Advanced Options", Deselect "All Federal & State Courts", Select "U.S. Supreme Court" and/or "U.S. Supreme Court Briefs", Click Apply, then type your Search Terms in the Federal and State Cases Search box.
    • Quick Link: Academic URLs for Federal Legal Materials

    1.2  United States – Other Federal Courts
    (Appellate Courts, District Courts, Special Courts, etc.)
  • West’s Subscriptions
    • Corpus Juris Secundum: a complete restatement of the entirety of American law as developed by all reported cases
      Format: Paper
      Coverage: 1936 - Current
      Call Number: Docs Ref KF154 C65
      Location: Hallway Shelves

    • West’s Education Law Reporter
      Format: Paper
      Coverage: 1982 - 2013
      Call Number: Docs Ref KF4110 A2 W47
      Location: Hallway Shelves

    • West's Education Law Digest
      Format: Paper
      Coverage: 1999 - 2007
      Call Number: Docs Ref KF4110.3 .W5
      Location: Hallway Shelves

  • Other Resources
    • Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER): http://www.pacer.gov includes case and docket information for all district, bankruptcy, and appellate courts.
      (Access to PACER court documents costs $0.10 per page. The cost to access a single document is capped at $3.00)

    • Lexis/Nexis Database (available through the Brooks Library Database page)
      • General Instructions: Click "Search By Content Type", then select "Federal & State Cases", Click "Advanced Options", Deselect "All Federal & State Courts", Select the Court, or Courts, whose records you are interested in, Click Apply, then type your Search Terms in the Federal and State Cases Search box.
      • Quick Link: Academic URLs for Federal Legal Materials (US Court of Appeals only)
      • Case law from specialty courts is also included in these databases.

    1.3  Washington State Courts and nearby States.
  • West’s Subscriptions (paper)
    • Pacific Reporter (& 2d, 3d series)
      Format: Paper
      Coverage: 1883-2013
      Call Number: Docs Ref KF135 .P2
      Location: Hallway Shelves

    • Pacific Digest
      Format: Paper
      Coverage: 1883-2013
      Docs Ref KF135 P21 W42
      Location: Hallway Shelves

    • Washington Digest 2d
      Format: Paper
      Coverage: 1919-2013
      Docs Ref KFW 57 W3
      Location: Hallway Shelves

  • Other Resources
    • Reports of cases determined in the Supreme Court of the State of Washington
      Format: Paper
      Coverage: 1891 - 1939
      Call Number: DocsRef Storage KFW45.1 W2
      Location: Docs Reference Storage

    • Washington Reports 2d
      Format: Paper
      Coverage: 1939 - 2001
      Call Number: Docs Ref KFW 45.1 W26
      Location: Hallway Shelves

    • Washington Appellate Reports
      Format: Paper
      Coverage: 1969 - 2001
      Call Number: Docs Ref KFW 48 W38
      Location: Hallway Shelves

  • Lexis/Nexis Database (available through the Brooks Library Database page)
    • General Instructions: Click "Search By Content Type", then select "Federal & State Cases", Click "Advanced Options", Deselect "All Federal & State Courts", Select the State Court, or Courts, whose records you are interested in, Click Apply, then type your Search Terms in the Federal and State Cases Search box. Coverage varies by state.

II.  Statutory Law:

    2.1  United States Codes & Statutes
  • West’s Subscriptions (paper)
    • United States Code, annotated (U.S.C.A.)
      Format: Paper
      Coverage: Current
      Call Number: DocsRef KF62 U5
      Location: Hallway Shelves

    • United States Code Congressional & Administrative News
      Format: Paper
      Coverage: 1953-current
      Call Number: DocsRef KF 48 U5
      Location: Map Room Shelves
  • Federal Depository & Other
    • United States Code (U.S.C.) official version
      Format: Paper
      Coverage: Current
      Call Number: DocsRef  KF 62 2006
      Location: Map Room Shelves

    • U.S. Statutes at Large
      Format: Paper
      Coverage: 1919-2010
      Call Number: Docs Ref KF 50 A2
      Location: Map Room Shelves

    • Popular Names of Acts in the U.S. Code: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/topn/

    • Lexis/Nexis Database (available through the Brooks Library Database page)
      • General Instructions: Click "Search By Content Type", then select "Federal Statutes and Regulations".  In addition to the United States Statutes at Large (aka 'Public Laws') you will also be searching the Annotated U.S. Code (USCS), the CFR - Code of Federal Regulations, the Constitution of the United States, and the Federal Register. Type your Search Terms in the Federal Statutes and Regulations Search box.

    2.2 Washington State Codes
    • West’s Subscriptions (paper)
      • Annotated Code of Washington
        Format: Paper
        Coverage: 2002-2013
        Call Number: Docs Ref KFW30 1994 A415
        Location: Hallway Shelves
    • Washington State Depository
    • Lexis/Nexis Database (available through the Brooks Library Database page)
      • General Instructions: Click "Search By Content Type", then select "State Statutes and Regulations".  Then click "Advanced Search" and select either Statutory Code or Administrative Code or Constitution and then select which State. Click 'Apply' and then type your Search Terms in the State Statutes and Regulations Search box.

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