Government Documents CE
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Government Documents CE






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Government Documents CE Government Documents CE Presentation Transcript

  • Government Documents Be unafraid Be flexible Be creative
  • Overview of session
    • Focus on pre-1976 searching
    • Known item searching
    • Partial information
    • Getting people started with topical searching
    • Getting people started with maps
  • Known-item searching Title only Series name & number Common citations
  • When it’s not in the catalog…
    • Try WorldCat
  • Question:
    • My professor told me about this government report, but it’s not in the catalog. Do we have it?
    • It’s called “ Measuring forest-fire danger in northern Idaho .”
  • A 1.38:29
  • When the SuDoc # isn’t in WorldCat…
    • 2. Try a print index (and use cues found in WorldCat)
  • Monthly Catalog (MoCat)
  • Cumulative Title Index
  • Poore’s Index
  • Question:
    • I saw a reference to a report in a book I checked out, but I don’t know how to find it. Where would it be?
    • It’s called “ The Rocky Mountain spotted fever tick .” It was written in 1911, and the citation says it’s from the USDA.
  • Cumulative Title Index
  • Cumulative Title Index Entry
  • A 9.6:105
  • Another option…
    • 3. You may want to try:
      • Lexis-Nexis Congressional (for hearings or some Serial Set searhing)
      • The digital Serial Set (for 1789-1937)
      • (More on this later…)
  • What if they don’t have a title?
    • Series name and number
      • Example: USGS Bulletin 922-N
    • Find the series title/call number in the OPAC, on WorldCat, or in the Government Serial Titles index
  • Common Legal Citations
      • 115 Stat 1425
          • Refers to Statutes at Large (volume, page)
      • Pub. L. 107-110 or P.L. 107-110
          • Public Law number (Congress #, law #)
      • Both of these refer to passed laws
      • Can find online on GPO Access (1995-present) or in Hein Online database
  • Common Legal Citations
    • 20 USC 6301
      • U.S. Code citation (title, section)
      • U.S. Code provides latest in legislative law (cumulative) by topic
    • 34 CFR 200.13
      • Code of Federal Regulations (title, part.section)
      • Latest in regulatory law by topic
      • Note: new and pending regulations published in Federal Register
    • Can find online on GPO Access
  • Serial Set
    • What is the Serial Set?
      • A catch-all Congressional product with a mish-mash of great stuff:
        • Bill reports (provide bill intent)
        • Reports from special investigations & explorations
        • Some executive branch reports (including major series)
        • Etc., etc., etc.
    • The Serial Set does not contain bills, laws, or hearings (usually)
    • Good overview at
  • When should I think about using the Serial Set?
    • When you have a reference to a Senate or House “report” or “document”
    • When the research falls within the 1789-1970 range
    • When you’re looking for a special investigation or special event
    • When you’re looking for a major executive branch series
    • Since the digital Serial Set is so easy to search, give it a try when doing topic searches.
  • How to recognize a Serial Set reference
    • Includes a “doc” or “rep”
      • H.rep. or S.rep. (associated w/ a bill)
      • H.doc or S.doc or S.exec.doc or H. Misc.Doc. (everything else)
    • Includes a Congress & session (ex: 67-1)
    • If pre-1937 (at the moment), you can use the digital Serial Set database to find the report.
    • Otherwise, use L-N Congressional to identify volume number.
  • Question:
    • “ I found this reference to S.Misc.Doc. 65, 52-1 in a book on fisheries in Montana. How do I get the actual report?”
  • Question:
    • “ I need the War Department report from 1865, and you don’t have it downstairs in the W’s. Is there another way I can get it?”
  • Semi-known and unknown items General hearing details Partial information Statistical needs Topical searching
  • How do you get people started?
    • Suggest preliminary searching in:
      • Serial Set Index
      • Lexis-Nexis Congressional
      • Cumulative Subject index & MoCat
      • WorldCat with a publisher location “Washington” element
    • Gov docs librarian trick is to consider which agency would be interested in their topic
  • Hearings: Lexis-Nexis Congressional
    • Great source for hearings
      • Search by topic, committee, date, witness
    • Provides SuDoc call numbers
    • Useful starting point for historical research
    • Full index of the Serial Set
  • Question:
    • Did Professor Scott Mills in the Wildlife Biology Department ever testify before Congress?
  • Yes!
  • Partial information
    • Requires creative searching
    • Good reference interview is key
    • Many times the patron will have to look at the options and decide what works best
  • Question
    • “ How can I get the text of the Dawes Act?”
  • Dawes Act
    • Get background information through reference interview or quick web search
    • Look in Hein Online’s Statutes at Large
    • If the initial bill is needed, suggest using the Congressional Record (but bills are not consistently accessible)
  • Historical Statistics
    • Think about what agency might need to collect data on that topic.
    • The Statistical Abstract goes back to 1878.
    • Try the digital Serial Set (might give a clue as to a pertinent agency or series)
  • Question
    • “ How many tons of vermiculite were mined in Libby in 1928?
  • Further reading in this series shows that Libby was the only area in Montana that was mining vermiculite.
  • A few more chronic questions…
    • “ I need a map of some property I own.”
    • or
    • “ I need the survey notes for this property.”
    • BLM Montana Survey Plats & notes
    • GLO Land Records
      • (other states)
    • Note: some questions about property can only be answered at the county courthouse.
  • Maps: How to get a patron started
    • Ask about the time period (the way people define “old” really varies).
    • Ask about the location/scope (how much detail).
    • What features are needed (general locations, topography, geology/ground content, elevations)?
    • Check the cartobibliography & remember the map card catalog.
    • Really listen to what the patron is looking for and be flexible in how you search (much is not yet in the OPAC & the cataloging may be very light).
  • A few map resources
    • USGS Publications Warehouse
      • Useful for tracking down formal titles & series numbers
      • Includes a large amount of full text
    • MBMG State Geologic Mapping Program