What are government documents? Material produced or published by government entities, whether local, state, national, or international, is considered 'government information' or 'government documents.' This library guide focuses on documents published by the US federal government through the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The guides listed below provide information on more specialized types of federal information or documents produced by other governmental sources.
Note that government information permeates virtually all academic disciplines, so many of the other library guides available from the WSU Libraries may also contain government information.
Help with searching and finding government documents is available at the reference desks in Terrell Library and the Owen Science & Engineering Library. Help via chat, e-mail, FAQ, and phone is available.
Instruction on finding and using government documents is available for classes and groups and can be tailored to the needs of the students or audience. Frequently requested topics include
Classes can be scheduled for English Composition classes through Library Instruction on the scheduling page; classes in other departments can be arranged by contacting the Government Information Librarian, Lorena O'English (see box on the left).
Many government documents are available in electronic form, linked in the library catalog or available directly from government databases or the Internet. The WSU Libraries has a large collection of circulating documents as well. The table below provides loan information for these documents:
|Format||Owen Library||Holland & Terrell Libraries|
|6 weeks||6 weeks [longer for honors students, graduate students, staff, and faculty]|
|periodical volumes||6 days||6 days|
|microfiche||do not circulate||do not circulate [Reader/printers are available]|
|maps||7 days||2 weeks|
|documents in reference||do not circulate||.|
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.