U.S. Government Publications Basics
Looking for information provided by the U.S. Government can sometimes be a simple task, other times it can be a complex process. Below are some of the most frequently used tools for finding government publication both in the Penn Library system and on the Internet. If you do not find what you are looking for, please consult the longer U.S. Government Documents Research Guide or Ask Us!.

Online Sources


FirstGov
Search portal to government websites.

FDsys - from U.S. Government Printing Office
Includes the full-text of many important executive, legislative, and judicial government publications.

FedStats
A gateway to statistical information made available to the public by the U.S. Government

Thomas
Sponsored by the Library of Congress, a respository of recent legislative publications.

ProQuest Congressional
Includes pending bills, laws, legislative histories, committee reports and documents, selected Congressional hearings and committee prints, and biographical data about members of Congress.

U.S. Serial Set Digital Collection
Fulltext for House and Senate Documents and Reports, 1818-1969, as well as other U.S. documents , such as Executive publications, often included in the Serial Set in earlier years.

Paper Documents

Many government publications are cataloged in Franklin, the Penn Library catalog. These publications represent many time periods. Generally the publications will be listed under both the authoring agency and the title. The author is usually listed as a hierarchically arranged string, from largest entity to smallest. Example: United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Agriculture.

Microfiche and Microprint

From January 1956 through December 1980, the library has a complete collection of U.S. government depository publications on microprint. These can be identified by using the Monthly Catalog ( online 1976-) or in print from 1951 to 1976 at Van Pelt Reference Stacks: Z1223 .A18. Depository documents are marked by a 'bullet'. The microprint is arranged by year and then by MoCat entry number.

From January 1980 to December 1985, a reproduction of all depository documents was received on microfiche. Since 1985, only selected documents are available in microfiche. Documents on microfiche are arranged by SuDocs number. Use the Monthly Catalog (online 1976 - present), or WorldCat to find SuDocs numbers.