At WSU see "Ask a Question" options or e-mail:
Lorena O'English, Social Sciences and Government Information Librarian oenglishATwsu.edu
Law Library of Congress How do I Find....?
Law Librarian's Society of D.C. Questions and Answers in Legislative and Regulatory Research
The history of the United States and its government is richly documented in government publications from the earliest times to the present. The Washington State University Libraries were granted selective depository status in 1907 but have a government documents collection that reaches back to the beginning of the United States. Locating documents is not always straightforward but with improved online searching tools and electronic full-text availability it has become easier to find the documents you need.
Government documents received from 1976 forward were entered into the Libraries' catalog, Search It.
For pre-1976 documents try searching the catalog because many older documents are being digitized and cataloged. If the item for which you are searching is not in the catalog, 1) use a catalog, index, or finding aid (see the suggestions on this LibGuide) to get the title, authoring agency, year, and other pertinent information; 2) ask a reference librarian for help in finding the document(s) in our tangible collection, in electronic format, or through interlibrary loan.
For help finding Congressional documents such as bills, hearings, reports, and legislative histories use the guide, "United States Congressional Publications in WSU Libraries." See the lists and links below for detailed assistance.
Core Documents of United States Democracy The Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Emancipation Proclamation, and other fundamental documents of the country.
govinfo (dates vary) GPO's federal digital system, an archive and full-text source for publications from the three branches of government. Older materials are being added continuously.
ProQuest Congressional (dates vary) (WSU only) U.S. Congressional publications including hearings, bill text, legislative histories, voting records, calendars, and more. Congressional publications searchable from 1789- ; legislative histories, bills, laws searchable from 1980's-774-1789 Library of Congress American Memory: Historical Documents Searches early congressional documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, and the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights and Other Amendments.
1774-1881 Poore, Benjamin Perley Descriptive Catalogue of the Government Publications of the United States, Sept. 5, 1774-March 4, 1881. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1885. Continued by Ames' Comprehensive Index to the Publications of the United States Government, 1881-1893 and by the Catalogue of Public Documents, 53d- Congress, 1893- . Holland Ref Doc Y 4.P93/1:G74/1
1789-1909 Checklist of United States Public Documents, 1789-1909. 3rd ed., New York: Kraus Reprint Corp., 1962 (Reprint of 3rd ed., GPO 1911). 1st-60th Congress. complete checklist (in SuDoc number order) of judicial, executive, and legislative public documents issues by the U.S. Government. Terrell Reference Z1223.A11 1962
1789- CIS U.S. Serial Set Index Beginning with the American State Papers in 1789 and including the index and carto-bibliography of maps, 1789-1969. Terrell Reference Z1223.Z7 U55 Online: U.S. Congressional Serial Set (WSU only)
1830-1969 CIS U.S. Congressional Committee Prints Index. Washington: Congressional Information Service, Inc., 1980. 21st-91st Congress. Terrell Reference J74.C66x 1980
1833-1969 CIS U.S. Congressional Committee Hearings Index. Washington: Congressional Information Service, Inc., 1981-85. 23rd-91st Congress. "Congressional committee hearings proceedings were first heald early in the 19th century and became a major component in the deliverative work of Congress during the years following the Civil War." --Introduction. Terrell Reference KF49.C62 U5
1875-1990 Congressional Record Index. Washington: GPO, 1874. 43rd-101st Congress. The proceedings of Congress. Terrell Reference Doc X
1881-93 Ames, John G. Comprehensive Index to the Publications of the United States Government, 1881-1893. Washington: GPO, 1905, 2 vol. Terrell Reference Doc Y4745, Y4746
1893-1940 Catalogue of the Public Documents of the (53rd-76th) Congress and of All Departments of the Government of the United States for the Period from Mr. 4, 1893 to Dec. 31, 1940. Washington: GPO. 25 vol. Terrell Reference Doc GP 3.6
1900- Monthly Catalog of the United States Government Publications. Washington: GPO, 1895- . An index to Congressional publications, judiciary materials, and documents issued by executive agencies. Terrell Reference Doc GP 3.8 (1900-1998); Online Catalog of U.S. Government Publications
1900-1971 Cumulative Subject Index to the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, 1900-1971. Arlington, VA: Carrollton Press, Inc., 1973-95. Terrell Reference Z1223.Z7 B9
1941-1970 United States Government Publications Monthly Catalog: Quinquennial Cumulative Personal Author Index. Ann Arbor, MI: Pierian Press, 1971-79. Terrell Reference Doc GP 3.8/a
1951-2002 Congressional Index. Chicago: Commerce Clearing House, 1937- . (1951-2002, 82nd-107th Congress). Terrell Reference J69.C6
1970- CIS Index to Publications of the United States Congress. Washington: Congressional Information Service, 1970- . 91st Congress. Terrell Reference Z1223.Z7 C6; Online ProQuest Congressional (WSU only)
ProQuest Congressional (dates vary) U.S. Congressional publications including hearings, bill text, legislative histories, voting records, calendars, and more. Congressional publications searchable from 1789- ; legislative histories, bills, laws searchable from 1980's-