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Government Documents

International, Federal, and State & Local, Government Documents at WSU Libraries

COVID-19 Updates

Please note: while we try to keep our guides as up-to-date as possible, the most current information on WSU Pullman Library operations and Services can be found at the links below:

Lorena's COVID-19 Notes


If you need assistance, please use the "Schedule Appointment" link under my photo on the left side of this guide. You can also email me directly at - Lorena



  • Free and expanded electronic access for temporary online teaching and learning. During thw current period causing library closures, many publishers and library vendors are allowing special access to research databases and materials. Note that some of these will be invisible because they will be added to something we already have, like SAGE Research Methods or JStor.
  • Relevant highlights (although be sure to check the list for yourself!!): Publication Manual of the APA (6th and the new 7th editions); Paratext U.S. Documents MasterFile.

U.S. Government Coronavirus Resource Guide - from the Library of Congress. Includes relevant legislation, congressional action, presidential action, agency action, state government action, CRS reports, international reports,and more.

Index and Related WSU Libraries Topic Guides

Library Services for Government Documents

Reference Service

Help with searching and finding government documents is available at the reference desks in Terrell Library and the Owen Science & Engineering Library.  Help via instant messaging, e-mail, FAQ, and phone is available--see Ask a Question!

Library Instruction

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

  • finding documents through the WSU Libraries' catalog and the Internet
  • searching government databases
  • becoming familiar with government agencies/offices and their publications
  • governments statistics and how to find them
  • assessing government information and web sites
  • citing government documents

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).

Checking out Documents

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:

Loan periods for government documents
Format Owen Library Holland & Terrell Libraries
print 6 weeks 6 weeks
periodical volumes 6 days 6 days
microfiche do not circulate do not circulate  [Reader/printers are available]
CD-ROM/DVD-ROM na 2 weeks
maps 7 days 2 weeks
documents in reference do not circulate .

Citation Resources

  • The Complete Guide to Citing Government Information Resources: a Manual for Social Science & Business Research. Debora Cheney.  Bethesda, MD: Lexis Nexis, Congressional Research Service. 3rd ed., 2002.  Terrell Reference Desk J 9.5.G37x 2002

Guide: Citing U.S. Government Publications (Indiana University at Bloomington) -

This guide uses the Cheney book above to provide a framework. For specifics on citing a document in MLA, APA, Chicago style, etc., its best to look at a style guide, i.e. the ones at the Purdue OWL, but this will help you understand the process.

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