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U.S. Government Documents: General Information and Resources

General Indexes and Databases of Interest

List of government executive agencies and departments.

Bibliographic finding tool for federal publications.

Find information and government publications.

Hein Online (Princeton faculty, students and staff only)

Features Congressional Record and its three predecessor publications.

Marcive (1976+) (Princeton faculty, students and staff only)

Bibliographic finding tool for U. S. government documents from 1976 to the present.

Monthly Catalog (1895-1976) (Princeton faculty, students and staff only)

Bibliographic finding tool for U. S. government documents from 1895-1976

Database that contains bibliographic records for the latest research sponsored by the United States and select foreign governments. Information is typically oriented toward the scientific, technical, engineering, and business related fields.

Proquest Congressional (1789+) (Princeton faculty, students and staff only)

Online access to historical and current Serial Set, Congressional hearings, and Congressional Record

Proquest Statistical Insight (Princeton faculty, students and staff only)

Indexes statistical publications issued by the U.S. government, the American Statistical Index. Beginning in 2004 full text PDF is available.

Find general government information.



What are U. S. goverment documents?

A U.S. government document may be broadly defined as any publication issued at government expense or published under the authority of a governmental body. Included are official papers that record the actions or deliberations of government (such as the Congressional Record), informational publications (like the many statistical compilations of the Bureau of the Census), and reports of research done under government contract. 

The United States Government, often through the Government Printing Office (GPO) and its predecessor agencies has provided open access to much U.S. information since 1790. 

How do I find U. S. government documents at Princeton?

United States Government Documents can usually be identified in the Main Catalog of the University Library. Also useful is the MarciveWeb DOCS electronic index, specifically for U.S. Government Documents issued after 1976.

If a Princeton location for U.S. Documents for the period before 1980 can't be found in the Main Catalog, it can be useful to check the Supplementary Catalog. Before 1980 U.S. Documents are found under the formal name of the governmental agency as an author. For example, Congressional committees are found under headings such as: U.S. Congress. House. Committee on... ; while Laws of the United States are entered as: U.S. laws, statutes, etc.

Many U.S. Documents at Princeton are found in call number order in typical locations as any other material would be. However, most documents received in 1980 and following are arranged by a "call number" created by the Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) classification system. SuDoc numbers are in two parts, separated by a colon, and often includes decimal points and slashes. The first part represents the agency responsible for the publication, while after the colon are found symbols representing the individual publication, such as the following:

AC 1.16: U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
998 World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers 1998

PR 40.9: U.S. President.
2002 Economic Report of the President 2002

Y 3.R31/2: U.S. Resolution Trust Corporation
15/990 Real Estate Asset Inventory

How do I cite U. S. government documents?

  • The complete guide to citing government information resources : a manual for social science & business research. Debora Cheney. Bethesda, MD : LexisNexis ; Congressional Information Service, c2002.
(DR) Z7164.G7 C48 2002
(SPIA) Z7164.G7 C48 2002
  • Online! : a reference guide to using Internet sources. Andrew Harnack.  Boston : Bedford/St. Martin’s, [2003].

(F) TK5105.875.I57 H364 2003

    Depository Info

    The general public is welcome to use depository materials free of charge. For access information and hours, please consult the the online hours (choose "Firestone Library - Depository Access" from the drop down menu), Access Information Page, and the Firestone Access Office

    PLEASE NOTE:  While the general public is welcome to use depository materials free of charge, many of our U.S. Government resources, including many of the resources listed in this research guide, are not depository materials and may only be used by Princeton University students, faculty, and staff.  This includes most of the electronic resources such as Proquest Congressional and Hein Online.

    Princeton University Library adheres to the following policies set by the Goverment Printing Office: FDLP Internet Use Policy Guidelines and Depository Library Public Service Guidelines for Government Information in Electronic Formats.