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Government Documents & Information  

A guide to finding and evaluating government documents and information.
Last Updated: Jun 18, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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This guide will help you locate information published by the government or governmental agencies.  

Library Databases for Political Science can be here.

Key Government Documents

  • U.S. Government Manual
    The U.S. Government manual is a helpful source of up-to-date information about each branch of government the activities and functions of each department and office.
  • Core Documents of Our Democracy
    This collection provides American citizens with direct online access to the basic Federal Government documents that define our democratic society. Including: U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, Gettysburg Address, Supreme Court Decisions, Congressional Bills, etc.

News Articles from CQ Weekly (CQ Press)

Each issue of CQ Weekly contains an unbiased, objective and comprehensive roundup of virtually all Capitol Hill activity from the previous week.

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Branches of Government

The federal government is defined by the U.S. Constitution as having three equal branches:

Legislative Branch: This branch of the Federal Government is commonly known as Congress. Congress is composed of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

Executive Branch: This branch includes the Office of the President of the United States and the departments and agencies that make regulations.

Judicial Branch: The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the land and the only part of the federal judiciary specifically required by the Constitution. The rest of the Federal Judiciary is established at the discretion of Congress.

Here is a helpful primer about the Federal Court System from the United States Courts.

Government Information Portals

To search for documents from multiple branches of the government as well as departments and agencies, try these indexes.

  • Legal Information Institute
    A starting point for legal information, hosted by Cornell University Law School.
  • GPO MetaLib Federated Search
    Searches multiple U.S. Federal government databases, retrieving reports, articles, and citations while providing direct links to selected resources available online.
  • FDsys
    GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) provides free online access to official publications from all three branches of the Federal Government.
  • CGP (Catalog of U.S. Government Publications)
    The CGP is the finding tool for federal publications that includes descriptive records for historical and current publications and provides direct links to those that are available online.

Ask a Librarian


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Hours vary during breaks; please see our library hours.

Call: (209) 946-2433


IM: askpacific

Visit: Come see us at the Reference Desk in the Information Commons of the Main Library


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