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U.S. Government Information: U.S. Government Documents

Guide information

This guide is under revision in fall 2023 by Brooklyn Law School Library Fellow Carol Lemos, under the supervision of Brooklyn Law School's reference librarians.  The recently revised pages are: "U.S. Government Documents" and "Executive Branch/U.S. President."

Brooklyn Law School Library



Brooklyn Law School Library is a member of the Federal Depository Library Program, serving as a selective depository for U.S. government documents. The Library became a selective depository in 1974 and holds few government documents published prior to this date. The majority of the Library's collection emanates from the U.S. Congress and the U.S. courts. The Library has a microfiche collection containing all U.S. Congressional hearings, reports, prints and bills from 1984 to date. Patrons who would like to access government documents in the Library's collection should email:

U.S. "Government Publications"

According to the U.S. Depository Library Act of 1962, a government publication is "informational matter which is published as an individual document at [g]overnment expense, or as required by law." (44 U.S.C. § 1901) Government publications exist in many formats: print, digital, DVDs, and microfiche or microfilm. Today, the majority of U.S. government publications are published in digital format.

CALI Lesson: Government Documents

Brooklyn Law School students can log in to review CALI's online lesson: Government Documents (discusses finding U.S. government documents and using them in law practice). [Authors: Alicia Brillon & Brian Huddleston, running time: 45-50 minutes. Updated: Sept. 2019.]   

BLS first-year students receive a CALI authorization code during 1L Library Orientation.  Enter this code the first time you sign in to CALI.  Also feel free to contact or to text (718) 734-2432 to obtain this code.

Publicly Accessible Digital Starting Points to Find U.S. Government Publications

Starting Points - U.S.:

Catalog of U.S Government Publications - Is a finding tool for U.S. government publications. Describes and links to full-text documents (if available). [Provider: Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Publishing Office.]

GovInfo - Offers free online access to official publications of the U.S legislative, executive and judicial branches of the federal government. [Provider: U.S. Government Publishing Office.]

Links to these popular sources:

+ - Provides a free, centralized source of federal government publications for consumers. Many publications are available for digital download; some publications are available to order in print. [Provider: U.S. Government Publishing Office Pueblo Distribution Center]

Organizes publications under these categories:

GovSpeak: A Guide to Government Acronyms & Abbreviations - Lists U.S. government abbreviations and acronyms. Searchable. [Provider: UC San Diego Library.]

MetaLib - Searches many U.S. government databases and finds reports, articles and cites. Links to full-text documents (if available). Tip: In search results, click link: View retrieved. [Provider: U.S. Government Publishing Office.]

Online Legal Information Resources - Links to free online legal materials for U.S. states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, the U.S. federal government, and Canada. [Compiler: American Association of Law Libraries Advancing Access to Justice Special Committee.] - Provides free online access to U.S. regulatory materials, including: "trending regulations, public comments, supporting analyses, FR notices, and rules." Tip: Look for link: Comment when viewing a recently proposed federal regulation. [Provider: U.S. government] - Is the U.S federal government's official web portal for all government transactions, services, and information. Includes: 

U.S Government Manual - the "official handbook" of the federal government. 

Starting Points - New York City:

NYC Resources - Provides a directory of resources for New York City, arranged by category. Click: Agencies to view/link to an alphabetical list of New York City agencies. [Provider: City of New York]

New York CIty Government Publications Portal - Is a searchable digital repository of New York City government publications. Also links to NYC Municipal Library's catalog. [Provider: NYC Records & Information Services] 

Starting Points - New York State:

Checklist of Official Publications of the State of New York - Is a monthly digital compilation of New York State documents that New York State Library has acquired. Links to full-text documents. [Provider: New York State Library]

New York State - Is New York State's official site. Includes many government links, such as the New York State Governor's site, the New York State Attorney General's site, court sites, legislative sites, and a list of New York State agencies. [Provider: New York State.]

New York State Library Digital Collections - Provides New York State publications, "both contemporary materials from 1995 to the present and selected State publications from earlier years." Related site: New York State Library/Archives/Museum Catalog  [Provider: New York State Library]

Guides to U.S. Government Branches

Branches of the U.S. Government - describes the executive, legislative and judicial branches. [Provider:]

Through YouTube, The History Channel provides these brief videos:

Guides to U.S. Government Information