How to Find Government Documents
Government publications (or documents) provide information on a wide variety of topics, e.g., business, agriculture and gardening, education, health and nutrition, languages and literature, history, geography and geology. Any controversial topic might be the subject of Congressional hearings, which frequently contain primary source material and expert opinions. Government publications come in a variety of formats, e.g., books, pamphlets, posters, periodicals, maps, microfiche, recipe cards, video cassettes, CD-ROM discs, microcomputer diskettes, and Internet files.
UW-Whitewater's University Library is a selective depository for U.S. government publications. The library receives approximately 50% of all materials printed by the U.S. Government Printing Office. The Library also is a depository for documents from Wisconsin state government agencies, and has a very selective collection of international documents and foreign periodicals. In addition, the Library has access to all government information made freely available on the Internet (a growing body of materials).
Identifying Useful Documents
The Library's Online Catalog can be used to identify most governments publications in the University Library (federal documents published since 1976, selected older federal documents, all Wisconsin documents, and all international and foreign materials). It also provides links to many online government publications.
The Library maintains a listing of especially useful Government Resources on the Internet.
Indexes to government publications may be used to identify useful documents regardless of whether they are available in the University Library (titles not available in-house may be available from other Wisconsin libraries).
- Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP) (U.S. Federal, 1976- )
- This online listing of federal government publications is from the U.S. Government Printing Office (records for materials older than 1976 are being added over time). The print catalog Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications (-1995), located at GP 3.8: in Documents Reference (ask at the Reference Desk), preceded the online version. It, and some other print titles near it on the shelves, go back much farther in time than the online catalog.
- Document Depository Shipping List Index (Wisconsin, 2000- )
- This consists of the online listings of Wisconsin state government materials distributed to the designated depository libraries around the state, or provided online (lists have links in them for many of the titles that are available online). UW-Whitewater catalogs all of the Wisconsin documents it receives, so they are accessible in the online catalog.
- Monthly Checklist of State Publications (1960-1994) LC 30.9: in Federal (U.S.) Documents
- CIS Index to Congressional Publications on Reference Index Stack 1A or use the online version: LexisNexis Congressional -
- American Statistics Index (1974-1996, 1998) on Reference Index Stack 1A
- Index to U.S Government Periodicals (1970-1987) on Index Stack 1A
Locating Documents Housed in the University Library
Most of the government documents are on shelves in the east half of the Library's Second/Main Floor (past the Reference Desk). Federal documents that are distributed in microfiche format are in the Reference Microforms Room (in the northeast corner of the Main Floor). Most maps and posters from the federal government are in the Map Room off the north end of the Reference Microforms Room. CD-ROMs are in locked cabinets; inquire at the Reference Desk for access.
Federal documents are shelved according to the U.S. Superintendent of Documents classification system, which groups publications by the agencies that created them. These classification numbers include periods, but do not include decimals; all numbers are treated as whole numbers, e.g.,
HE 20.2 precedes HE 20.1008.
Wisconsin documents, international documents, and foreign periodicals are shelved on the east end of the Second/Main Floor (just past the Reference Desk).
Most documents, including maps, posters, and microfiche, may be checked out at the Circulation Desk unless they are periodicals or reference materials such as laws and indexes. Circulation requires a current UW-Whitewater ID card, a Community Borrower's Card, or a valid ID card from another University of Wisconsin System campus. Most documents also may be borrowed by current registered students or faculty/staff from other University of Wisconsin campuses via Universal Borrowing. Most documents also are available to other patrons via Interlibrary Loan from their local library.
Examples of Frequently Used Documents
Government Activities | Law and Legislation | Business and Industry | Education and Social Sciences
* means the current edition is at the Reference Desk. Documents are in the federal documents shelves unless another location is listed.
- Budget of the United States Government PrEx 2.8: and online
- Public Papers of the Presidents AE 2.114: and GS 4.113:
- *U.S. Government Manual AE 2.108/2: and online
- *University of Wisconsin System Budget (Red book) UWS Bud. 1: and online (accessible from a computer on a UW campus only)
- Code of Federal Regulations AE 2.106/3: in Documents Reference and online
- Congressional Record X/a., X on shelves and in microfiche and online
- Federal Register AE 2.106: in microfiche and online
- U.S. Reports (Supreme Court decisions) Ju 6.8:
- United States Treaties and Other International Agreements S 9.12:
- *Whitewater Municipal Code Ref KFX2541 .W454 .A35x
- Additional links to Internet law sources.
- Balance of Payments Statistics IMF/BPS in International Documents
- *Occupational Outlook Handbook L 2.3/4:
- OECD Economic Studies in Periodicals
- Foreign Labor Trends L 29.16:
- IMF Survey (International Monetary Fund) IMF/S in International Documents
- Main Economic Indicators (OECD) in Periodicals
- Economic Surveys (each for a specific country) OECD 10- in International Documents
- Survey of Wage Rates for Selected Occupations in Wisconsin... Wis. IND 6/2:W/3/5/ in Wisconsin documents
- Wisconsin Economic Indicators Wis. EMP 2.4: in Wisconsin documents
- Library links to Internet government business information
- Census documents on population and housing
- CIA maps PrEx 3.10/4: in the Map Room
- Area Handbook (Country Study series) D 101.22:550-
- *County and City Data Book C 3.134/2:C 83/2/
- *Crime in the United States (Uniform Crime Reports) J 1.14/7:
- *Digest of Educational Statistics ED 1.326:
- *Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics J 29.9/6:
- *Statistical Abstract of the U.S. C 3.134:
- CDP (Chronic Disease Prevention) File HE 20.7039:1/ in the reference alcove (CD-ROM)
- TIGER/line census files C 3.279: in the compact disc cabinet