Government documents are those records, reports, and publications written by various government agencies and published by the Government Publising Office (GPO). Not all documents published by government agencies are printed by the GPO. Many agencies have some or all of their documents printed by other sources. The fact that an item is a government document does not mean that it will be available in the Law Library as we select only limited titles printed by the GPO.
Most items selected are directly related to the law, legislation, or legal subjects. Some of the items selected are: United States Code, slip laws; United States Reports (U.S. Supreme Court decisions); Congressional bills, reports and hearings; Congressional Record; presidential documents; Code of Federal Regulations (rules and regulations of federal agencies); Federal Register; some federal administrative agency decisions; and treaties and international materials.
Some of the materials are received on microfiche, some are in paper, and many government documents are available as electronic files on the Internet. The best source for electronic access to government documents is the Federal Digital System. Various federal legislative materials, such as Congressional Record, legislative histories, and current bills are also available on Lexis and Westlaw for those with access.
The majority of the hardcopy government documents are located in the back of the basement. They are arranged by SuDocs number.
A Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) number is the classification number assigned by the GPO to a certain document or series of documents. Generally, the first letter or letters indicate the agency that produced the document and the rest of the numbers or letters indicate a specific publication or series. For example, SuDocs numbers starting with L indicate publications from the Department of Labor; I is Department of the Interior; J is Department of Justice.
Much of our government document collection is on microfiche and is located in microfiche cabinets in the back of the basement. Each drawer has a label indicating its contents.
Many government documents come in an electronic format. These are loaded directly into our library catalog and are most easily accessed through the regular search functions. Access to other federal materials is available through ProQuest, HeinOnline, Westlaw and LSSN from the Databases page on this site. If you have any questions about these resources, please ask a librarian for assistance.