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Government Documents Fundamentals: Home

A guide to basic information about finding, evaluating, and using government documents for assignments, reports, and your own information.

What are government documents?

What are government documents?

Material produced or published by government entities, whether local, state, national, or international, is considered 'government information' or 'government documents.'

Depository Libraries

The federal government established a system of depository libraries in 1813.  The WSU Libraries, #0643, became a depository in 1907 along with many other land grant institution libraries.  The FDLP symbol is posted at the entryway to the Holland and Terrell Libraries and the Owen Science & Engineering Library as well as on the Libraries' home page.

The State of Washington also has a depository program, started in 1963.  The WSU Libraries is a full state depository and receives all of the documents distributed by the state government.

Subject Guide

Lorena O'English's picture
Lorena O'English
Terrell Library 120-D
Washington State University

Office Hours: (Spring, 2020):
*M - F most days, from 10am to 3pm (usually), Click the "Schedule Appointment" link above to set up a Zoom appointment, or email me directly via the button.

Learning Objectives

After viewing these pages and completing the exercises you should:

  • understand basic government organization and the types of publications that are produced;
  • know several databases for finding government documents and how to search them; and
  • know more about evaluating and citing government documents

Other LibGuides

WSU Libraries, PO Box 645610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5610, 509-335-9671, Contact Us