schmidlawlibrary

Facts & Figures: Government Documents

In Read This on October 28, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Schmid Law Library Facts and Features: Government Documents

by Brian Striman, Head of Technical Services & Catalog Librarian

A democracy presupposes an informed citizenry. The Federal Depository Library Program is the way that the federal government ensures that its citizens are aware of government legislative, judicial, regulatory and investigative activity. Through this program, the federal government provides these materials to libraries for free. There are 47 libraries throughout the country that are designated as Regional Depositories, meaning that they receive every document published by the federal government at every level and on every imaginable topic, from maps, surveys and brochures, to House and Senate bills and judicial opinions and tax regulations. Love Library is a regional depository library. In addition to the Regional Depositories, there are over 1200 Depositories that receive selective portions of federal government output. The Schmid Law Library is a selective depository, meaning that we receive around 10% of government documents, primarily judicial, regulatory and legislative materials.

As a result of our being a Federal Depository we receive thousands of microfiche with House and Senate committee reports, hearings, data and reports from hundreds of federal agencies. Regulations galore, statues aplenty, and lots of decisions from federal courts of all kinds. Of course most of this stuff is now online with great websites like Thomas.gov and FDSys.gov, the Government Printing Office’s Federal Digital System. One unique, recently created resource by the Library of Congress is its Indigenous Law Portal. But for older resources that aren’t on the web or digitized anywhere, you’ll need to turn to larger depositories such as Love Library or large city public libraries.

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