Government Documents

Government publications at the University of Arizona Libraries

The University of Arizona Libraries are a congressionally designated depository for U.S. government documents. Public access to the government documents collection is guaranteed by public law (Title 44 United States Code).

We were designated a Federal Depository in 1907, and have also been a European Union Depository Library, since 1974. Extensive current and archival collections of Arizona State and local publications are located in Special Collections. See our collection policy (PDF)

We also serve the government information needs of the 2nd and 3rd U.S. Congressional Districts of Arizona. In 2005, this library became the official U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) "Virtual" Federal Depository Library.

The U.S. Federal Depository Library Program was established by Congress to ensure that the American public has access to its government’s information. GPO administers the program on behalf of the participating libraries and the public. Information products from the federal government are disseminated to these nationwide libraries that, in turn, ensure the American public has free access to the materials, both in print and online. 

Access to the federal documents collection

We hold nearly 2 million paper and microform federal publications among our collections. The vast majority of paper items are housed on the 3rd floor of the Main Library. The maps are mostly housed on the first floor except for those located in Special Collections. U.S. Patent and Trademark Publications, National Technical Information Service, National Aeronautic and Space Administration, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Energy resources are housed in the Science and Engineering Library.  

Federal documents in paper format are shelved by the Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) classification system, which groups material by the issuing agency. Specific documents are located by using the library catalog and/or online and paper indexes. A specialized index to federal publications is the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, which has been published by the GPO since 1895. Other specialized online indexes and databases include congressional and statistical materials published by federal government agencies.

Our collections are particularly strong in statistical materials and congressional publications. Census publications include printed reports from all decennial population censuses, 1790 to the present, and reports are from all quinquennial economic and agriculture censuses from 1940 to the present. The library's holdings of Congressional publications includes the Congressional Record and its predecessors; hearings, committee prints, reports, documents, and laws from 1789. The documents collection features a number of significant historical works, selected commercial electronic databases, and digital repository collections.

Reference services for the Government Publications are provided from the Main (Information Commons) and Science and Engineering Library reference desks. The documents collection is accessible whenever the library is open.