Help with searching and finding government documents is available at the Information Desk on the main floor of The Valley Library. Help via chat, e-mail, text, and phone, as well as in person, is available -- see Ask Us
Library Instruction for Classes and Groups
Instruction on finding and using government documents is available for classes and groups and can be tailored to the needs of the students or audience. Possible topics include
Classes can be scheduled by contacting the Government Information Librarian, Valery King.
While many documents are available online, the OSU Libraries also has a large collection of circulating documents in physical formats. Many are located on the 3rd floor; others are cataloged and shelved within the library stacks. Be sure to check the online record in 1Search to find out what format your document is (paper, microfiche, CD/DVD, online etc.) and the physical location of the document. The table below provides location information and circulation status for documents:
|print / SuDoc number||3rd floor Documents section||yes|
|print / LC call numbers||in stacks with other LC call numbers||yes|
|microfiche||3rd floor microfiche cases||no|
|CD-ROM/ DVD-ROM||3rd floor CD cases (near Fiche readers)||most do|
|maps||3rd floor maps cases||yes|
Federal and State documents at the OSU Valley Library can be found in a variety of places. Records for all of them are included in 1Search searches. For documents in physical formats, it is essential to note both call number and location from the record.
The most recent documents are often online only, and can be located with a search in 1Search; links to these documents are found in the record.
Many of our tangible (physical) documents are given a classification number in the Library of Congress (LC) system and located in the regular book stacks with our other items, or the LC section of the microfiche cabinets.
Others are classified in Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) classification (or OrDocs in the case of Oregon documents) and are found in the 3rd floor document collections on shelves, in CD/DVD cabinets, or in microfiche cabinets.
What is a SuDoc number? Federal documents no classified by us in the Library of Congress (LC) classification system are classified in SuDoc. This is a system that arranges publications by the agency that produced them, NOT by subject like LC. At the Valley Library, these are all located on the 3rd floor.
FDsys is the primary public access to Government information submitted by Congress and Federal agencies. Featured collections include Code of Federal Regulations; United States Code; Federal Register; Congressional Bills, Documents, Hearings and Reports; Congressional Record; Compilation of Presidential Documents; Economic Indicators; Public and Private Laws. More are being added as time goes on.
FDsys will soon be replaced by govinfo, a platform currently in beta release. Visit (and give feedback) at https://www.govinfo.gov/
U.S. House of Representatives
Oregon Congressional Districts (map from the Oregon Blue Book)
State Senators & Representatives: Find your local senator or representative via the interactive Legislator Lookup, https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/FindYourLegislator/leg-districts.html
Government documents can be confusing to cite in text or bibliographies, as there are some differences between them and other sources. The number and kinds of authors (personal authors, agencies, or both) can make things complicated; so can the format of the document—PDF articles, websites, databases, microfiche, and paper publications have subtly different requirements. Other than standard reports, there are special formats such as Census, Serial Set, Hearings, and Congressional Bills, with unique aspects.
Some basic stuff:
1. If a personal author is named, they should be given credit; often there isn’t any author named and the agency is treated as the author.
2. If the issuing agency is also the publisher, you may eliminate the publisher name in the entry.
3. Internet-original publications may not have “publisher” information and you can substitute the URL in its place (usually a good idea to include the access date also).
4. Abbreviate United States to U.S. in the agency name.
5. Include the report number and/or SuDoc classification number if there is one. These can be very helpful for readers looking for the document.
The style guide for whatever style you’re using (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) ought to have some guidance for citing government documents. There is also a book, The Complete Guide to Citing Government Information Resources (3rd ed.), call number J9.5 .G37 2002.
For basic help online, the University of Delaware Library has a Guide you can consult, at http://guides.lib.udel.edu/c.php?g=85404&p=548852