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Finding and Citing
Government Documents

How to Use the Online Catalog
Other Search Tools for Federal Documents
Citing Government Publications
Personal Assistance

How to use the Online Catalog

To find government documents in the James C. Kirkpatrick Library, the first and best tool is the online catalog, Quest. Search by title, author, subject, keyword, or SuDoc call number.

The online catalog contains records for most of the Missouri documents collection and for Federal documents received since late 1995 as well as significant titles previous to 1995. Remember to watch for notes in the LOCATION field next to the call number concerning whether the document is located in the main Government Documents collection, in Reference, in Periodicals, in the map collection, or in the Government Documents microfiche or CD-ROM collections. Some documents are on the Internet; a link to these is located above the SuDoc number. 

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Other Search Tools for Federal Documents

Statistical Universe (1974-present) (Available on and off campus) This  index provides citations to federal government statistical reports and online access to Power Tables, a searchable collection of online statistical reports

Congressional Universe (1970-present) (Available on and off campus) Indexes and provides legislative history for congressional bills since 1970. Provides congressional reports, testimony, and other documents in full text. Track legislation and regulations. Use National Journal and Congress Daily to keep up on current news. Historical indexes for documents from 1789-1969.  

U.S. Government Periodicals Index (1988-present) (Available on and off campus) Indexes nearly two hundred journals and magazines in many subject areas

Cumulative Title and Subject Index These two sets are located behind the Reference Desk. They provide very brief descriptive information and SuDoc numbers for federal documents. Great for locating historical documents.

FDLP Electronic Collection-- The FDLP Electronic Collection is composed of primary data sources in full text and secondary data sources or finding tools at GPO or at other official sites.

Finding Tools--This page includes a wide variety of tools for finding government information on the Internet

Government Information Collection of links to Federal government information organized by topic

GPO Access--Instituted by Congress in 1993, GPO Access is the premier avenue of access to Federal government information. Developed by the U.S. Government Printing Office, it is a continually expanding resource. For additional information see http://library.ucmo.edu/govdocs/gpo.htm

Monthly Catalog--Published since the early 1900s, this series is a catalog of federally-published documents. Until January of 1996 it was in paper format. Since then, it is available on CD-ROM and at GPO Access

Search Strategies --This web page describes various search strategies useful for finding government information

Subject Bibliographies--These contain abstracted descriptions of federal publications on a variety of topics. They may be a very good place to browse for research topics or for federal publications on a particular topic

Various guides published by commercial publishers are also located near in the Reference collection or in the circulating collection on the third floor of the library. These often provide very useful suggestions for finding information in government documents. Here is a short list of helpful books:

  • Andriot, J.L. (1996). Guide to U.S. Government publications. McLean, Va.: Documents Index. Circ 3rd Floor Z1223 Z7 A574 1996.

  • Robinson, J. S. (1998). Tapping the government grapevine: The user-friendly guide to U.S. Government information sources. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press. Government Documents Reference Ref Z1223 Z7 R633 1998.

  • Sears, J. L. (2001).Using government information sources: Electronic and Print. Phoenix, AZ : Oryx Press. Ref Z1223 Z7 S4 2001.

  • Government Information on the Internet. (2003). Lanham, Md. : Bernan Press. Ref ZA5075 G68.

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Citing Government Publications

  • Garner, Diane L. The complete guide to citing government documents: A manual for writers & librarians. Bethesda, MD: Congressional Information Service, c1984. Government Documents Reference Ref Z7164 G7 G37 1984 The University of Memphis Depository Library has a helpful collection of citations based on this publication and includes some examples on citing electronic documents.

It's hard enough figuring out how to cite normal publications using APA, MLA, Chicago Style Manual, etc. without the added intricacies of government agency authors, report numbers, and Internet addresses. Below is a list of Internet resources that might be of assistance. Some are designed to answer questions about citing government documents, others for citing electronic publications, and others for citing anything at all.




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Personal Assistance

Please contact the Reference Desk for additional assistance. 

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