Welcome to the U.S. Government Research Guide
This guide shows the best places to locate United States government information from census data to congressional publications to environmental reports.
Find information from the three branches of the U.S. government: executive (president & executive agencies), legislative (congress), and judicial (U.S. courts of law).
In addition, find out how to cite government documents and locate print holdings at MHC and the regional federal depository library, UMass Amherst.
Don't hesitate to Ask a Librarian for research assistance or to schedule a research consultation.
Why United States Government Publications?
The United States federal government offers a wealth of historic and current information from presidential speeches, to congressional documents, to statistical data.
You'll find sources to assist with your research papers and multimedia projects. The majority of U.S. federal publications are in the Public Domain and offer a great resource for students working on multimedia projects. See the Legal Sources for Multimedia Projects guide for more information.
Ask a Librarian
by phone: x2212
by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
in person: Research Help Desk- 4th floor, Williston library
- Monday-Wednesday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
and 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
- Thursday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
and 7 p.m. - 11 p.m.
- Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
- Saturday 1-5 p.m.
- Sunday 1-5 p.m. and
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
I Need to Find...
* Need a basic overview of the U.S. Government? See Ben's Guide to U.S. Government from the U.S. Printing Office.
Quick Links to U.S. Government Publications
Five College Libraries Catalog: search for publications from 1976-Present held at the Five Colleges Libraries (some older publications are also listed). For more refined searching, switch to the "Advanced" tab and in the "Format" menu select "Government Publications."
Catalog of U.S. Government Publications: search for publications from 1976-Present.
FDsys: Federal Digital System (FDsys) from the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) search electronic publications from U.S. government agencies.
USA.gov: the "U.S. Government's Official Web Portal."
Google / U.S. Government Search: searches only .gov (U.S. government) and .mil (U.S. military) websites.
* Older government publications may be found through the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, 1941-1976 located in MH Main Periodicals and the Checklist of United States Public Documents 1789-1909 and the Catalog of the Public documents 1895-1940 in MH Reference.
Quick Links to U.S. Government Multimedia
American Memory (Library of Congress) "digital record of American history and creativity with written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience."
National Archives Records Administration (NARA) Online Exhibits Digitized materials ranging from letters, photos, & even telegraphs
Public Domain Collection (Government Sources) on Flickr photographs from U.S. government agencies
U.S. Government Photos and Images photographs from U.S. government agencies
"The Serial Set contains the House and Senate Documents and the House and Senate Reports. The reports are usually from congressional committees dealing with proposed legislation and issues under investigation. The documents include all other papers ordered printed by the House or Senate. Documents cover a wide variety of topics and may include reports of executive departments and independent organizations, reports of special investigations made for Congress, and annual reports of non-governmental organizations. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, executive-branch materials were also published in the Serial Set." (Library of Congress)
Bonus Trivia: The print version of the U.S. Serial Set is over 14,000 volumes.