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Government Documents: Subject searches

A guide to utilizing electronic government documents.

Subject searches

How to find government documents related to the subject(s) about which you need information.

Though government documents are classified and arranged differently that books in the general collection, their catalog records are not dissimilar from other records. Like other records, gov doc records have Library of Congress subject headings, which means users can search for gov docs by subject, or use the LINK+ catalog to locate an appropriate record and then use the associated subject headings in the record to locate similiar holdings in a library. 

  • For more on how to search by subject, read the "Researching by subject" section here.
  • For the LINK+ catalog, click here.
  • For the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP), click here.

Subject search portals

The United States Government is the largest publisher in the world, producing a variety of publications on myriad topics.  If you have a general idea of your subject interest, the following portals are good places to find related resources and publications:

  • Browse Topics: An index maintained by GPO, the guides here are created by gov docs librarians to assist their users.
  • Cross Agency Portals: This site comprises gateways that collect federal information from multiple agencies about specific topics and user groups.
  • Exports.gov: Exports.gov includes the service Market Research Library, a service that contains more than 100,000 industry and country-specfic market reports.
  • FDSys: GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys) provides public access to Government information submitted by Congress and Federal agencies and preserved as technology changes.
  • Google U.S. Government Search: Google's search indexes sites with .gov and .mil domains, and so is a good place to discover both federal and state publications and sites.
  • Grants.gov: An index that allows users to search and apply for government grants.
  • Science.gov: A search index that allows for unified searches of the federal government’s stores of scientific information.
  • USA.gov: A search index maintained by the Government Printing Office (GPO) that lets users search government information by topic. See also The federal government via USA.gov: The GPO Access finding aid uses the USA.gov search idex and is designed to assist the public in locating federal government agency information.