Government Information in the
"Who knows, Dr. Jones? Perhaps in 1000 years even you will be worth something." — Raiders of the Lost Ark
This set of guides has 2 purposes:
Therefore, each of the guide's sections is subdivided into
I welcome suggestions for additions and improvements to the guides, and they will be updated as I find new sources of information to include.
A note regarding internet sources: there is certainly a bias on the web in favor of the most current information. But, that said, there are many wonderful sources of historical material online, and some agencies and organizations are making an effort to preserve their historical records and materials electronically. I hope these guides will be helpful in locating this information.
From the standpoint of historical research, any and all government publications could be considered as potential primary research materials. To limit the scope of these guides, therefore, to a manageable amount of material, only the following types of material are included:
In addition, I have given information about publications of specific agencies, usually those with limited scope, and about major series, that might be of interest to the historian.
The Library's Collection
Particularly when searching for older material in any library, it helps to know something about the history of the collection.
The Blume Library (then called the Academic Library) became a U.S. documents depository in 1964. Most of our printed material, therefore, is of that vintage or more recent.
However, the Library was in possession at this time of some government documents that had been published prior to 1964 and purchased. Most of this material was integrated into the new documents collection, and shelved on the main floor with Superintendent of Documents classification numbers. A few older government publications have remained in the Library of Congress classification system and were not moved to the Documents Collection. Most of these titles are not included in this guide; exceptions include a few massive bibliographies in REF Z (in the General Resources section).
|Readers of this guide will notice immediately that no single agency is
responsible for all publications relating to history. Because of this dispersion
of pertinent material throughout the Federal government, users of government
information are urged to use the Library
Online Catalog and the indexes described in our
"Government Information Basic Guide." Browsing
in the documents stacks can turn up many relevant items through serendipity.
But for a comprehensive search on any topic, use of the indexes is essential.
Other Government Documents Guides—"Congress, Laws
and Regulations," "Census Bureau Information"
and "Guide to U.S. Government Information
in Science and Technology"—may also be useful. Also be aware that other
libraries in the city may have more extensive collections in certain areas
than we do, and we may borrow from these libraries. Ask a librarian for
assistance if you have difficulty finding the information you need.
Another handy publication is the American Library Association's Using Primary Sources on the Web. Not limited to government sources, it offers many tips on finding, evaluating and citing primary sources, a category of materials into which many government publications fall.
|Ancient History, Anthropology & Archeology|