1 Introduction to Government Information

Gwen Sinclair

Learning Objectives

  • Learn basic strategies for answering reference questions relating to government information.
  • Become familiar with standard reference sources for government information.
  • Learn the primary types of government publications.


Let’s go for a walk in the neighborhood. As we stroll down the street, we encounter some cracks in the sidewalk. Who owns the sidewalks? Who is responsible for repairing them? Who responds to complaints about cracks? What are the standards for sidewalk construction? Are there requirements for making sure that they are accessible for persons with disabilities?

At the corner, a fence sports numerous advertisements for candidates for public office. Who decides which candidates can run? What laws or regulations govern the display of their advertisements, how they are funded, and whether or not they are truthful?

Farther on, there is a newspaper box. A front page article, “Records kept secret despite high court directive,” describes how court records in a particular case have been withheld, even though such records are supposed to be public. What gives a judge the authority to keep the records confidential? How does a member of the public go about accessing court records?

A helicopter flies low overhead, and you observe a man inside taking photographs. Is it legal to fly a helicopter at a low altitude over a populated area? If something goes wrong with the helicopter and it crash lands, how will the incident be investigated, and where could you go to read the investigation report? What is the photographer permitted to do with the photos he takes?

All of the above observations are situations that relate to government information. Government information pervades every aspect of our lives and reflects the activities of governments and what they consider important at any given time. So, in a way, understanding government information requires one to understand how governments conduct business and how they are organized. Furthermore, learning whether an issue is governed at the local, state, national, or international level, or a combination thereof, requires some background knowledge of legal jurisdiction and cooperation between different levels of government. For example, imagine that a researcher is interested in honey bees. A librarian could direct the patron to Honey Bee Diseases and Pests, published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; the article “Honey Bees” on the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website; or to the University of Hawaiʻi Honeybee Project website.

The emphasis of this text is on published government information. In the pre-Internet age, a government publication, or public document, was defined as a publication printed at government expense or by authority of the government.[1] Ever since governments began publishing their documents online beginning in the early 1990s, the reference to printed documents only covers a portion of what has been issued. Today, government agencies produce YouTube videos, post collections of photographs on Flickr, maintain Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts, publish blogs, and produce information using a plethora of platforms.

In the days when the term government information referred to documents produced through printing or other means of reproduction, it was far easier for librarians to keep track of what was being published. Librarians relied on published catalogs, such as the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, bibliographies, and indexes to discover what was available. Libraries could participate in depository programs, purchase documents, or request to be added to agencies’ mailing lists. It was easy to feel confident that a library had a comprehensive collection of documents issued by a particular agency or covering specific subject matter. Nowadays, librarians can never be completely sure that they are aware of all of the online content posted by an official or agency. Even government agencies themselves cannot maintain control over all of the issuances from their various regional and local offices and sub-agencies.

What Do Governments Publish?

There are many different ways to introduce the scope and content of government publications. Some authors like Boyd and Rips have discussed government publications using an A-Z list of agencies under which they described each agency’s publications.[2] Sears and Moody and Hartnett, Sevetson, and Forte used topical approaches to explain government information.[3] Schmeckebier and Eastin discussed government publications using a typology.[4] In order to understand what kinds of information governments produce, it is necessary to employ all of these methods in combination. To begin, let’s examine some categories of publications that are common to many government entities. The following list is adapted from Boyd and Rips, who outlined 17 basic types of publications.

Administrative reports

Administrative reports are periodic reports on the activities of the agency, bureau, or office. These reports may highlight significant achievements, detail budget performance, provide productivity statistics, or discuss strategic initiatives.

Statistical reports

Agencies compile statistics from surveys such as the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System of the Centers for Disease Control or from administrative records. Agencies monitor prices, wages, employment and unemployment, industrial activity, business registrations, graduation rates, and so forth.

Committee or commission reports

Special committees or commissions created by legislative bodies or government executives may conduct investigations (Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident) or make recommendations to the president about a social issue or national concern (President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders).

Reports of investigation and research

Government agencies conduct or sponsor research on a wide range of topics. Results of research may be published in serial publications such as technical memoranda, open-file reports, or research notes. Federal agency employees also publish research in scholarly journals. While the federal government formerly published a number of journals, increasingly these publications have been transferred to commercial publishers. For instance, Public Health Reports is the official journal of the U.S. Surgeon General of the Public Health Service (PHS). From 1878 to 1998 it was published by PHS, but since 1999 it has been published by a commercial publisher.


Contractors in hard hats
Figure 1. U.S. Department of Energy. (1981). The ASEAN energy study mission, May 25-June 13, 1980. Washington, D.C. : Department of Energy, Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, Office of Energy Consuming Nations

Bills and resolutions

Legislative bodies, whether it be Congress, a city council, state legislature, or international organization, publish draft legislation in the forms of bills. They may also pass resolutions, which do not have to be approved by an executive. The availability of these publications varies widely. Often, copies may only be found in the legislative library of the body and they are not retained online beyond the current legislative session due to their voluminous nature. Frequently, legislation is introduced without ever being acted upon.


Legislative bodies conduct hearings at which testimony is heard. Transcripts of hearings may be published online or they may only be available in the library of the legislative body. In many cases, hearings are published long after the date on which they occurred and sometimes are never published. A few hearings are broadcast, live streamed, or recorded and made available on C-SPAN, public access television, or online.

Journals and proceedings

The meaning of the word journal in this context is a chronological record of the proceedings of a legislative or other deliberative body. Proceedings encompass minutes of meetings or transcripts of floor proceedings or debates (Congressional Record is an example).

Laws, statutes, compilations, codes

Laws may be published chronologically as they are passed (Session Laws of Hawaiʻi) or compiled into a code by subject area (Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes). Congressional committees also issue compilations of laws about the legal areas for which the committees are responsible (Compilation of Federal Education Laws).

Decisions and opinions

Courts of law issue decisions on cases brought before them. Attorneys general may issue opinions when requested by agency officials or legislators. Administrative bodies issue decisions on appeals of law enforcement actions or interpretations of administrative law or regulations. These quasi-judicial proceedings are similar to court cases.

Rules, regulations, and manuals

Agencies issue regulations or administrative rules that specify how individuals and organizations are to comply with the laws enforced by that agency. In order to ensure consistency in the interpretation of regulations and their enforcement, agencies issue manuals intended for the use of their employees, like Manual of Patent Examining Procedure. Even legislators use rules and manuals to guide the drafting and consideration of legislation, such as Hawaiʻi Legislative Drafting Manual.

Directories and registers

Directories include published lists of government officials (usually directors and deputy directors of agencies or sub-agencies). The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines issue registers of officers in the regular armed services and reserves. In Hawaiʻi, the Legislative Reference Bureau publishes the Guide to Hawaii Government.

Bibliographies and lists of publications

Bibliographies of government and other publications on particular topics are made available for officials and researchers in the agency. Agencies also create databases of library catalogs and, increasingly, online repositories of agency-issued documents (U.S. Geological Survey Publications Warehouse is an example).

General information and educational materials

This category includes publications issued to explain a government agency’s purpose and functions to a legislative body or general audience (see Hawaiʻi Rare Plant Code of Conduct). In addition, most agencies produce publications and other educational material about their activities or areas of control. For instance, the page Angiostrongyliasis (Rat Lungworm) is maintained by the Hawaiʻi Department of Health’s Disease Outbreak Control Division.


Government agencies have issued thousands of periodicals over the years. They range from scientific journals like California Agriculture to glossy magazines such as Soldiers to quarterly statistical summaries like Visitor Satisfaction and Activity.


Santa Claus surrounded by children and a Christmas tree
Figure 2. U.S. Air Force. (1957-2011). Airman. Washington, D.C.: Air Force Service Information and News Center AFSINC for the Office of Information.

Press releases

Almost all government agencies’ websites include news feeds. In addition, many agencies maintain sites on various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Agencies also issue news releases to announce new publications, regulatory developments, appointments of officials, and other significant actions.

Maps and charts

Agencies such as the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Forest Service, and National Ocean Service are known for their mapping products. Today, many agencies provide online mapping applications such as the National Map and print-on-demand services. Most states and many cities have GIS offices that provide downloadable files to be used in geographic information systems.

Films and audiovisual materials

Many government agencies have YouTube channels or host their own video platforms like NASA TV. Agencies produce instructional videos for their employees and for the general public (e.g., Top Notch Technology against Rapid Ohia Death). Historical audio recordings, such as those of President Nixon and his aides, can be found at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. Many agencies produce posters, games, kits, and other materials.


Government Information — or Not?

How can you tell if an organization is a government agency? Names can be misleading. For instance, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) sounds like a government entity, but it’s actually a non-profit research organization. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a government-funded non-profit organization. The Council on Environmental Quality sounds like a private environmental organization, but it exists under the Executive Office of the President. When in doubt, it’s best to consult a directory or other reference work.

Similarly, domain names of government organizations can be ambiguous. In general, federal government websites use the domains .gov and .mil, and international, state, or local government entities may use .gov, .org., or .us. There are some important exceptions, though.


  • U.S. Postal Service: usps.com
  • World Health Organization: who.int
  • National Defense University: ndu.edu
  • United States Institute of Peace: usip.org


In a similar vein, patrons may be confused by certain titles or categories of publications. The title Congressional Digest sounds like a government publication, but in fact it is a periodical published by Congressional Digest, Inc. Building codes, fire codes, and industry standards are usually privately published and are based on model codes issued by professional associations or commercial publishers. These commercial publications are not usually available online for free and users are expected to purchase copies from the publisher. As we’ll see later, even court decisions may be commercially published and may not be freely available online.

Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Glossaries

Test yourself: Which of the following is *not* a government acronym?

  • FRUS

A bit of internet searching reveals the ringer, NORWESCON. Governments are notorious for using acronyms to refer to government agencies, programs, or concepts. How can librarians understand patrons, who frequently assume that we know what they mean when they refer to CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) or FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards)? A quick online search will illuminate many cryptic inquiries, but older references may require you to consult a list of abbreviations or acronyms. Many of these can now be found online.


  • A Guide to Political Acronyms (Central Intelligence Agency, National Foreign Assessment Center)
  • Micro-organism Culture Collections: Acronyms and Abbreviations (Agricultural Research Service)
  • Annotated Acronyms and Abbreviations of Marine Science Related International Organizations (National Oceanographic Data Center)

Agencies often publish glossaries or guides to abbreviations.


  • DoD Dictionary of Military Terms(Department of Defense) is more of a glossary but also contains initialisms.
  • SALT II: Glossary of Terms (U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency)
  • NCRS Glossary of Terms (Natural Resources Conservation Service)
  • Glossary of Terms Used in Fire Control (U.S. Forest Service)

The United States Government Manual’s Appendix A has a section on agency acronyms and initialisms. The GovSpeak LibGuide by UC San Diego Library has a guide to acronyms and abbreviations, but it is missing a lot of older abbreviations.

Patrons often ask for government documents or records that they found in cited references. Unfortunately, publications whose citation guidelines are driven by space considerations force authors to  use abbreviations that hamper retrieval by others. For example, an article in the Hawaiian Journal of History referenced “FO & Ex, 17 Sept. 1845, 1, 2 July 1846.” A librarian unfamiliar with the standard abbreviations used in the journal might not know that the reference is to the Foreign Office and Executive records at the Hawaiʻi State Archives.

Reference Service for Government Information

Finding government information and helping patrons use and understand it has traditionally been the mission of government information librarians. However, it is less and less common to see full-time government information librarians, which means that all reference librarians could potentially find themselves needing to have some familiarity with the publications of government entities.

In 1984, Kathleen Heim outlined five characteristics of successful government information professionals:

  1. Political awareness
  2. Skill in identifying sources of information
  3. Ability to elicit information
  4. Capacity to convey information
  5. Commitment to disseminate information with an advocacy stance.[5]

Most librarians would consider these characteristics to be important for all reference librarians, not just those who specialize in government information. To Heim’s list I would add the following:

  1. Perseverance: difficult questions may take time and may require consulting multiple sources of information, including phoning or emailing other libraries, archives, or government agencies.
  2. Skepticism: unlike the customer, the patron is not always right! Patrons may misunderstand, misinterpret, misremember, or be fooled by “fake news.”
  3. Diplomacy: government information librarians get their fare share of questions that reveal ignorance about basic government functions or that are based on non-factual information. Our professional ethics dictate that we treat all patrons courteously and keep our own opinions in check.

Basic Strategy

General databases used to locate federal government documents, either electronic or in tangible formats, include WorldCat, govinfo.gov, and the Catalog of Government Publications (CGP). State, local, and international documents may be listed in WorldCat, but finding older documents may require the use of specialized databases or even printed indexes and catalogs. For known item searching, general search engines or USA.gov (for federal and state government) may be used to locate the item or at least verify the citation. WorldCat and specialized databases (introduced later in the text) may also be consulted. Increasingly, full-text documents can be found in HathiTrust and Archive.org, non-profit repositories for digital government documents and other material. These resources, along with Google Books, are especially useful for full-text searching, even when the full text is not viewable due to copyright or other restrictions.

A best practice is to keep a paper or electronic file that details which resources you used to answer a question and which documents you consulted. It’s surprising how often a patron comes back months or years later to ask follow-up questions or even ask for the same thing all over again because they have misplaced the material. You can also consult these files if you get a similar question.

Librarians want to be helpful, and often we will go to great lengths to find the information sought by a patron. Nonetheless, it is also necessary to recognize when you have reached the limit of your ability to assist a patron. Often, time constraints will cause you to call off the search. If the information sought is only a tiny piece of a much larger research project, the patron may decide it’s not worthwhile to spend more time looking for that one elusive piece of data. There is no shame in telling  patron that you haven’t been able to find an answer even though you’ve done your best. Suggest other institutions or experts and be sure to get the patron’s contact information in case you have a sudden stroke of insight or become aware of additional relevant resources.


Sometimes, it is necessary to analyze a question and break it into smaller components. For example, a patron involved in government contracting for the Department of Defense asked,

I would like to ask a few questions regarding PPE handling. The customer is the USG. 1) Are employees recently laid off allowed to mail PPE via APO? I cannot find the statement where it shows it is prohibited. 2) Is exemption 22CFR 126.4(c) appropriate to use for M8 paper and Decontamination kit? 3) Is a DSP 73 the most efficient way to export PPE in support of a USG/Defense program?

A jargon-heavy question like this may require searching just to understand the area of inquiry. In this example, we can determine the subject matter of the inquiry by delving into the abbreviations:

  • PPE = Personal Protective Equipment
  • USG = United States Government
  • APO = Army/Air Post Office
  • 22CFR 126.4(c) = Code of Federal Regulations, Title 22, Part 126.4(c)
  • M8 paper = M8 Chemical Agent Detector Paper
  • DSP 73 = Application for license for temporary export

We can then restate the question: “What are the requirements for shipping personal protective equipment, decontamination kits, and chemical agent detector paper to a military base abroad? Which shipping methods are allowed and what paperwork is required?” Now that we understand the question, we can consult Department of Defense procurement regulations and export regulations for defense contractors. Remember that as librarians, we cannot give legal advice, and that includes interpreting government regulations. So, we might need to refer this patron to the Defense Contract Management Agency or office listed on the contract or bid announcement for further assistance.


We can also use the “agency approach” by determining which agency regulates, collects data about, or sponsors research on a topic. Taking an endangered species in Hawaiʻi, the Palila bird, as an example, we might ask: Which agency administers the Endangered Species Act? For land animals, it is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Who collects data on the Palila? Is it solely a federal responsibility, or does the state have some involvement? As it turns out, the State Department of Forestry and Wildlife is responsible for maintaining the bird’s critical habitat and has published a fact sheet about the bird. The U.S. Geological Survey has also published research about the Palila.


Another dimension of government information is the political or legal jurisdiction. Is the matter under federal, state, or local control, or are multiple jurisdictions involved? For instance, you might believe that state harbors are solely under the jurisdiction of the state. However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers enforces the federal Rivers and Harbors Act and must issue permits for harbor construction. In addition, the Coast Guard regulates navigation and inspects vessels for safety measures. Additional questions to consider: Is the matter covered by laws, regulations, policies, and/or international agreements? Could the issue fall under an industry standard or best practice rather than a government regulation?


The currency or time period of the desired information is critically important. Does the patron want the current regulation or the one that was applicable in a particular year? Another aspect of time is managing expectations. Data can take years to compile, so the most current data available may be four or five years old. Yet, the patron expects to have access to last year’s data. Some publications, like congressional hearings, are discretionary, meaning that they may not be published immediately — or ever. Declassification can take decades, and backlogs are enormous, so some government records or publications may not be available in a reasonable amount of time.

Publications or Records?

Knowing whether the desired information is available in published material or archival records is necessary to locate the material and manage patron expectations about ease of access. For example, a patron wanted a copy of the Alien Property Custodian’s release of a particular company’s seized property during World War I. However, the APC’s published reports do not contain copies of releases, so we must look to archival records to find them. Similarly, aggregate Census survey data is available, but patrons wanting individual survey responses have to wait 72 years for their release. Survey responses may never be publicly available due to privacy laws, as in the case of Behavioral Risk Factor Survey System responses. As we will see later, court decisions are not always published, and transcripts may only be available online under limited circumstances and are not always free.

Government vs. Other Resources

Finally, it’s important to be aware that government resources may not be the best source of information about government activities. Bearing in mind Ranganathan’s fourth law, “Save the time of the reader,” a librarian should strive to find the shortest route to satisfying the patron’s need. Government-produced resources, while they are closest to the source, may not be the most reliable or authoritative, and many are certainly not easy to digest.

Where to Get Help

It is not uncommon for librarians to reach the limit of their ability to help a patron or to run out of time. In these instances, librarians can rely on colleagues for assistance or refer the patron to another library with specialized resources. Here are some resources for “stumper” questions:


  • Govdoc-l is a discussion list for government information. Librarians frequently post requests for help with difficult questions or assistance with locating a hard-to-find document. Some states have their own discussion lists for government information.
  • Government Information Online is an online reference service that is used by both librarians and researchers.
  • The Library of Congress offers an Ask-a-Librarian service.
  • Regional federal depository libraries can assist libraries in the region they serve.
  • State libraries and state archives are well-versed in state and local government information.
  • History Hub, operated by the National Archives, is best for questions about federal historical documents, military records, and genealogy.

E-government and Civic Engagement

What is E-government? Broadly speaking, it refers to a variety of methods through which government entities interact with the public. Increasingly, governments encourage or even require members of the public to use computers to accomplish tasks such as applying for jobs, requesting government assistance, or applying for citizenship. Even if a library does not offer public computers for e-government services, it’s a good idea for librarians to be familiar with nearby agencies that provide computers for the general public. Legal Aid societies, law schools, and social services agencies sometimes have public computers for defined uses and may assist individuals with access to services like Social Security and Medicare. Office supply/printing businesses sometimes provide computers with internet access that can be used for an hourly fee. Federal depository libraries play an increasingly important role in providing places for people who lack access to internet-enabled computers to interact with government, because many public libraries restrict computer access to cardholders and often impose a time limit. Depository libraries must provide equal access to computers for users of federal government information and are not permitted to impose time limits.

Benefits.gov is a one-stop gateway for members of the public and librarians to find both federal and state government benefits. It covers social services, benefits for special populations like veterans or seniors, tax credits, and many, many other programs. For instance, an important government service in libraries is disaster assistance. Following Hurricane Sandy, many public libraries opened their doors to individuals who needed disaster recovery assistance, including applying for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Benefits.gov’s disaster relief section lists a number of programs for individuals and businesses covering loans, crisis counseling, and family registry and locator services.

Public libraries sometimes partner with state or federal agencies or nonprofits to develop or expand e-government services. For instance, the Fort Worth Public Library partners with the Tarrant Area Food Bank to help register individuals and families for Children’s Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps) and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). Examples of other government services available in public libraries include passport acceptance services and the IRS’s Tax Forms Outlet Program and its state equivalents.

Libraries also promote civic engagement by providing information about contacting public officials, voting, and elections. These services are covered in Chapter 10.

Citing Government Documents

Teachers, professors, and even librarians lack confidence when it comes to citing government information, but it is not so different from citing other sources. As with any source, a principle of citation is that you should provide as much information as needed for someone to retrieve the item. In terms of government publications or records, another principle is that you should give as much information as possible even if it’s not needed for retrieval, simply because the information might be useful for another researcher down the road.

Most guides to citation format, such as APA and MLA, do not give much guidance on government documents. Some authors recommend the Blue Book, which is useful for legal materials, but it doesn’t cover all types of government publications. Complete Guide to Citing Government Information Resources by Debora Cheney is the most complete guide for citing all types of government documents, but sadly it is out of print and the publisher has not issued a new edition.[6] Indiana University Libraries developed a citation guide with many helpful examples based on a previous edition of Cheney’s book.[7] Cheney recommends the following basic format:

Government author. Title. By corporate or personal author (report number). Date. Available at: URL.

Thus, the citation for an environmental assessment is as follows:

Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority. Kalaeloa Heritage Park, ‘Ewa, O‘ahu: Final environmental assessment. By Townscape, Inc. for Kalaeloa Heritage and Legacy Foundation. Sept. 2014. Available at: https://dbedt.hawaii.gov/hcda/files/2014/09/KHP-Final-EA-w-Appendices_to-OEQC.pdf

Of course, you would have to modify the order of elements depending on which citation format is required. Using this format as a guide, you are giving the reader some additional important information — not only the document’s preparer, but also the name of the organization that commissioned the study.

For cartographic information, Cartographic Citations: A Style Guide is the best resource.[8] It offers citation formats for maps, aerial photographs, geospatial data, globes, and other cartographic resources.

Librarian’s Library


Boyd, A. M. & Rips, R. E. (1949). United States government publications (3rd Ed. Rev.). New York: The H.W. Wilson Company.

Commonly referred to as Boyd and Rips, this volume was intended to be a bibliographic guide to acquisition of government publications. It explains the purpose, history, and major publications of the main government agencies that existed at the time of its publication and gives particularly good coverage of agencies created during World War II. The second edition, published in 1941, covers New Deal agencies of the Depression Era.

Brown, C. C. (2020). Mastering United States government information : sources and services. Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited.

Brown, a documents librarian at the University of Denver, has produced a comprehensive guide to federal government information that is particularly strong in its discussion of Congressional publications and general search strategies.

Hartnett, C. J., Sevetson, A., & Forte, E. J. (2016). Fundamentals of government information: Mining, finding, evaluating, and using government resources (2nd Ed.). Chicago: ALA Neal-Schuman.

This important textbook for students of government information provides an in-depth look at the major types of government publications, with an emphasis on training all librarians to “think like a government documents librarian.” It rightfully takes its place as the successor to Morehead’s classic text.

Morehead, J. (1999). Introduction to United States government information sources (6th Ed.). Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.

Morehead, a longtime professor at State University of New York at Albany, wrote the definitive text for government documents courses in LIS programs. In addition to clearly explaining different types of federal government information, Morehead provides background and context for the various publications discussed.

Schmeckebier, L. F. & Eastin, R. B. (1969). Government publications and their use (2nd Rev. Ed.). Washington: Brookings Institution.

Laurence Schmeckebier wrote many books about federal government agencies for the Brookings Institution. This book provides a solid overview of the major types of government information and how they are interrelated.


American Library Association. Government Documents Round Table. DttP: Documents to the People. Chicago: ALA, 1972-

The Government Documents Round Table, or GODORT, came into existence in 1972. Its journal DttP: Documents to the People publishes articles about federal, state, local, foreign, and intergovernmental government publications. It is especially important for learning about state government publications, which are barely covered in other journals.

Digital Government Society of North America. Government Information Quarterly. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2010-.

Formerly Journal of Government Information and Government Publications Review, GIQ is an academic journal that publishes articles about access to government information, information policy, and e-government, among other topics.

United States. Office of the Federal Register. United States government manual. https://www.govinfo.gov/app/collection/GOVMAN

The annual publication U.S. Government Manual lists all current federal agencies, departments, offices, bureaus, etc., their organization charts, leadership, and any reorganizations. Information is provided for all three branches of government.

  1. Boyd, A.M. & Rips, R.E. (1949). United States government publications (3rd ed. rev.). New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 20.
  2. Boyd & Rips.
  3. Sears, J.L. & Moody, M.K. (1986). Using government publications. Phoenix: Oryx; Hartnett, C.J., Sevetson, A., & Forte, E.J. (2016). Fundamentals of government information : Mining, finding, evaluating, and using government resources (2nd ed.). Chicago: ALA Neal-Schuman.
  4. Schmeckebier, L.F. & Eastin, R.B. (1969). Government publications and their use (2nd rev. ed.). Washington: Brookings Institution.
  5. Heim, K. (1985). Attitudinal and operational considerations for education in the provision of government information. Government Publications Review 12 (p. 131), quoted in Lane, M. (1987). Selecting and organizing state government publications (pp.  143-144). Chicago: American Library Association.
  6. Cheney, D. (2002). Complete guide to citing government information resources: A manual for social science and business research (3rd ed.). Bethesda, MD: LexisNexis.
  7. Guide: citing U.S. government publications. (n.d.). https://libraries.indiana.edu/guide-citing-us-government-publications
  8. Kollen, C., Shawa, W., and Larsgaard, M. (2010). Cartographic citations: a style guide. Chicago: Map and Geography Round Table, American Library Association.


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Introduction to Government Information Copyright © 2020 by Gwen Sinclair is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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