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What are Government Documents?

Government Documents are materials produced and published by state governments and the federal government, either by the Government Printing Office (GPO) or independently by the agency.

About the Collection

Buswell Memorial Library was accepted to the Federal Depository Library Program on September 28, 1964, although it had been a repository library prior to 1951. Buswell Library is a selective federal depository for approximately 29% of what is produced by the Government Printing Office (GPO). These documents appear in the Library's Online Catalog and are searchable like any other library material. 

Collection Strengths

Census, Congressional Record, Education, Health & Human Services, Geological Survey, NASA (see Buswell's Core Documents)

Some of the resources held by Buswell Library include:

  • Census Information, 1850 - present (see Buswell's U.S. Census Collection)
  • Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
  • Congressional Record and other legislative resources
  • Congressional Record Index 
  • Federal Budget Information 
  • Federal Register 
  • Justice Department Information
  • List of CFR Sections Affected (LSA)  
  • Social Security Publications
  • Supreme Court Cases & Opinions 
  • Tax Information 
  • U.S. Code
  • USGS Maps and Monographs
  • United States Statutes At Large

Government Documents Staff

Stewart McElroy
Head of Technical Services
(630) 752-5964

Mark A. Levi
Government Documents Assistant
(630) 752-5652

Using the Government Documents Collection

To get a full listing of federal departments and agencies with their Superintendant of Documents Classification System (SuDoc) author symbols for easy browsing of the collection by department or agency, CLICK HERE.

Materials received from GPO come in a variety of formats: 

  • Books and Journals - the majority of which are located downstairs in the Movable Shelving 
  • Bulletins, Newsletters, Pamphlets and Fliers - located downstairs in the Vertical File
  • CD-ROM/DVD-ROMs, Copyright and IRS Information - located at the Reference Desk
  • Maps - this is one of the most heavily used parts of our collection. Maps are shelved on the Lower Level in the map cases.
  • Microfiche - located in the Microfiche Cabinets on the Main Level
  • Online Documents - the library's online catalog provides web addresses for documents available on the Internet. 65% of government documents are now available electronically. This number is growing, as GPO projects that this ratio will grow to 80/20, electronic to print, within the next few years.

Searching the Online Catalog
Search for government documents by SuDoc number, keyword, or government department or agency.

To search for a particular government document by SuDoc number, go to the Guided Keyword Search in the Online Catalog. Search by Classification. Enter the SuDoc number in the corresponding Search for box. Be sure to search as a phrase.
What the Library does not receive in print, microform, or CD-ROM/DVD-ROM is often available online via the Internet. The current U.S. Government follows an aggressive policy to provide access to all types of federal documents electronically. The library's online catalog provides web addresses for documents available on the Internet.

  1. Search our online catalog. If you know the SuDoc number, try a SuDoc number search (see Help with Searching).
  2. If the item is not found in Buswell's online catalog, it may still be found online by searching the FirstSearch GPO Database.
  3. If we do not own the item, we can in most cases get the item via Interlibrary Loan