Government Documents Worldwide: An Outline

GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS WORLDWIDE
AN OUTLINE


UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS

See U.S. Government Documents: Library Guide to Locations for Electronic, Print, and Microform Copies

A detailed guide to finding U.S. documents, organized mainly by branch of government, with specific information about holdings in Olin Library.


DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS FOR
FINDING U. S. DOCUMENTS IN THE READEX MICROFORM SETS:

A large portion of the government documents at Cornell are in the Readex microform sets. Where the Readex collections are located:

  • Documents from 1956 to 1980 (1953-1980 for non-depository documents) are on Readex microprint cards filed in Olin B52, also known as the old Rare Vault. This is not a public access area. Those microprint (sometimes called micro-opaque) cards may be paged from the Newspapers and Microforms Help Desk or Office on the B Level of Olin Library. A machine for reading and making copies of microprint cards is available in the Microform/Newspaper Room.
  • Documents from 1981 to date are on Readex microfiche. The microfiche is filed in cabinets in the Microform/Newspapers room on the B Level of Olin Library. Machines are available for reading and copying microfiche.

FINDING MICROFORM DOCUMENTS:

The following resources are used to locate U. S. government documents from 1953 to date on microform in the Readex sets. The microcards and microfiche are filed by Monthly Catalog Entry Number. This number, which began being used in July 1947, is the year the document was cataloged (not the year it was published or issued!) followed by a one- to five-digit number.
Examples:
94-1 is the entry number for the first document cataloged in 1994.
94-16549 is the entry number for the 16,549th document in the 1994 Catalog.
01-20 is the twentieth document in the 2001 Catalog.

To find a document in the Readex collection from 1956 (1953 for non-depository) through 2004, you must consult the annual indexes in the printed Monthly Catalog forward from the year of publication until you find the year it was indexed in the Monthly Catalog and obtain the Entry Number.

  • 1953 through 2004:
    Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications. Issued by the Superintendent of Documents. Washington: U.S.G.P.O., 1941-2004. (Olin Library Reference Z 1223 .A18)

    This is a printed catalog of depository and some non-depository documents. The depository documents were collected and distributed to depository libraries (including Cornell) by the Superintendent of Documents. Information was also collected for some government documents not distributed to depository libraries and included in the Catalog. The Readex microfiche includes substantial numbers of non-depository documents that appear in the Monthly Catalog; this means the microfiche collection may be more complete than our print document collection. non-depository documents are filed separately after the depository titles for each year in the microfiche drawers. The Monthly Catalog is the source of the Monthly Catalog Entry Number. This number at the upper left of each entry is the key to finding the document in microform. NOTE: Documents appear in the catalog in the year they were cataloged, not the year they were issued. They often appear three or four years after the date on the document.

  • January 2005 to date:
    Catalog of U. S. Government Publications.

    This is the online version of the printed Monthly Catalog. The "Entry No." in these online records is the number you need to find the document in the Readex microfiche set.


U. S. DOCUMENTS IN PRINT:

Many documents are available in printed form. These documents have been cataloged and added to the Cornell Library Catalog. Use this online catalog of the Library's holdings to search for documents in print form.

Other finding aids for print versions of U. S. documents include the Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications and the Catalog of U. S. Government Publications cited above. For the period from 1893 to 1940, use the Documents Catalog (official title: Catalogue of the public documents of the ... Congress and of all departments of the Government of the United States...) shelved at Olin Reference Z 1223 .A131.


U. S. DOCUMENTS ONLINE:

Records for thousands of U.S. government documents are added to our Classic Catalog each year.

Further details are available in U.S. Government Documents: Library Guide to Locations for Electronic, Print, and Microform Copies




FINDING NEW YORK STATE DOCUMENTS

See Finding New York State Documents.
The Library is a depository for New York State documents.


FINDING DOCUMENTS OTHER COUNTRIES

CANADA: UBC's Guide to Parliament of Canada Publications. Includes links to online versions of Hansard's and Sessional Papers for the Canadian House of Commons and their Senate Hansard's, with additional access information about legislative committees and Royal Commissions.

UNITED KINGDOM: See "UK Government Information on the Web" (Free Pint Newsletter #119--feature article by Sarah Dillingham, 20 August 2002)

BRITISH PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS: See British Sessional Papers and Parliamentary Debates in Olin Library.

LATIN AMERICA: Latin American and Caribbean Government Documents Project


FINDING DOCUMENTS OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

UNITED NATIONS: See Research Guide for U. N. Documents at Cornell.
The Library is a depository for United Nations documents.

EUROPEAN UNION: European Union Official Documents.


Updated 4 May 2011
Michael Engle
Research & Learning Services

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