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Government Document Collection


Welcome to the world of government documents! "Government Documents" are materials that have been published by an official office or agency of a government. The Learning Resources & Technology Services collection includes items from the state of Minnesota and also from the United States government. The Government Documents collection is located on the first floor west and in the basement of the James W. Miller Learning Resources Center; staff are available to help students, faculty, staff, and community members with their questions concerning document materials. Documents in the Miller Center can be accessed through MnPALS.

U.S. Government Publications

St. Cloud State University is a partial depository for U.S. government publications. LRS receives about a third of all the materials printed by the U.S. Government Printing Office.

Government information comes in many formats. LR&TS collects everything from single sheets of paper to thick books, maps, posters, photographs, charts, microfiche, videotapes, CD-ROMs and DVDs. The primary index to older federal documents is the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, available in print through 1995 (located on Index shelves in the basement of Miller Center). The most recent index to government items is located on the Web at Catalog of U.S. Government Publications. Please be aware that not all items found in these sources are available in LR&TS collections. For help citing government documents in your paper or report, see Citation Guides.

There are numerous Web sites that organize federal government information or otherwise facilitate access to government information. The newest site (and among the best) is listed first:

  • Campus Research (available by subscription to students, faculty, and staff, or via in-house use) includes the full text of many West legal publications covering all federal and state court cases, Supreme Court cases after 1944, the U.S. Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, the Federal Register, state administrative codes and state statutes. It also includes a legal encyclopedia and state law journals and law reviews.
  •, the U.S. government's official web portal.
  • provides links to federal kids' sites grouped by subject.
  • Google U.S. Government Search is a search engine that gives results from federal and state sites.
  • GPO Access, the official U.S. Government Printing Office site.
  • FedWorld, from the National Technical Information Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
  • LawCrawler, a search engine for Web-accessible legal codes and case laws.
  • FindLaw, an excellent place to begin legal searches on the Internet. Includes full text of Supreme Court decisions dating back to 1893.
  • Library Subject Guides will give you some ideas for getting started on research using government publications.
  • Genealogy Resources will lead you to web sites and books that will help with your family history research.
  • The Library of Congress maintains Thomas, the primary source for current Congressional legislative information. In addition to the full text of current bills, the Congressional Record, U.S. laws, and important documents in U.S. history are available. Print indexes to committee hearings, House and Senate documents, laws, and other publications of the U.S. Congress are available in the Reference area.
  • Another excellent source of legislative information is LexisNexis Congressional.This is sponsored by Congressional Information Service and is available by subscription to SCSU users.
  • The federal government publishes a lot of statistical information. In addition to Web-based access, Government Documents contains many paper and CD-ROM indexes that can help you find the information you need. Available to SCSU users through subscriptions are STAT-USA and LexisNexis Statistical. STAT-USA is provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and gives access to current and historical economic and financial releases and economic data. You will also find trade-related releases, international market research, trade opportunities, country analyses, and the National Trade Data Bank (NTDB). You will need to ask at the Reference Desk for a password for STAT-USA. FedStats is the gateway to statistics from over 100 U.S. federal agencies. The Statistical Abstract is one of the most popular of all government publications.
  • United States government agencies also publish many periodicals. Some of these are available on the Internet and can be located through Government Periodicals. In the Miller Center, some of the more commonly used government periodicals have been placed in the Periodicals Area for ease of browsing and use. Back issues of these titles are shelved with other periodicals.
  • Among the Web sites most frequently used by SCSU students are:

State of Minnesota Publications

St. Cloud State University is also a partial depository for official publications of the State of Minnesota. Many current and historical documents are available in print and microfiche in the Government Publications area. The State of Minnesota, like the federal government, is making a concerted effort to provide online access to official publications.

Who Uses Government Documents?

  • Students completing assignments for classes, needing tax forms, looking for a statistic to add strength to an argument, or finding that perfect fishing lake on a Minnesota map.
  • Faculty wanting to integrate a course assignment with government documents, searching for information for a book or article they're writing, or finding current statistics for tomorrow's lecture.
  • Community members tracing genealogy, studying plat maps, or checking out the statistics useful to small business owners.

Who Can Help?

  • Faculty: Michael Gorman, Assistant Professor
    Coordinator of Government Documents
  • Faculty: Reference Team; Reference Desk (320) 308-4755
Address: Learning Resources & Technology Services
James W. Miller Learning Resources Center, MC 140-E
St. Cloud State University
720 4th Ave. South
St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498
Phone: (320) 308-2028
Fax: (320) 308-4778


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