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U.S. Federal Documents

References: U.S. Federal | Area Federal Depository Libraries | Census Basics: Demographic 10 Year Censuses | Congressional Information | Congressional Information Internet Sites | Continental Congress Documents | FBI Files On Microfilm | National Security Archive Collections | Presidential Administration Dates and Parties | Presidential Libraries Internet Addresses | Presidential Papers | Presidential Papers on Microfilm | Public Policy Research Using Government Information| Regional Federal Depository Libraries | U.S. Government Archival Resources | U.S. Censuses and Surveys | U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Records on Microfilm | U.S. Statistics

Federal Depository Libraries Program

Guide to Government Publications Series

WELCOME to the Stanford University Libraries Federal Depository Collection available for use in the library free of charge to all those needing federal government information. See Access policy for the Stanford University Libraries/Jonsson Library and Branner Earth Sciences Library.

The Federal Depository Collection of government documents is located in the Green Research Library and in the Branner Earth Sciences Library. All library materials including government documents are included in Stanford's online catalog. This catalog includes the classfication/call number and library location. Federal documents housed in the Law School Library are also included in Socrates.

The Federal Depository Collection in the Green Library is arranged, shelved or filed by classification/call numbers like other library materials. Federal government documents are issued in many formats including print, microforms, cdroms, maps, and Internet access. The classification/call number and library location are essential in locating federal government documents in the Stanford Libraries.

Depository documents in ELECTRONIC FORMAT are available to all free of charge and include those on the Internet and those in cdrom format. Internet documents are available for viewing at the public use terminals in the SSRC and
in the Information Center. Many of the documents are listed in Socrates and include the URL for ease in accessing.
The cdroms can be accessed in the SSRC at the designated depository cdrom terminal or at one of the Information Center cdrom terminals. All of the cdroms are listed in Socrates including the call numbers. The cdroms are located in the
SSRC cdrom files.

.Most of the federal documents in the Green Library with locations fed-docs and SSRC-docs are arranged, shelved or filed by a Superintendent of Documents classification placing the documents in an issuing agency order and not in a subject order. Documents shelved in the Information Center and in the SSRC reading room are shelved with other library materials in the Library of Congress classification.

For a description of the Superintendent of Documents classification see
View locations in the Green Library on pages Cecil H. Green Online Tour and Cecil H. Green floor plan guide.

The Branner Earth Sciences federal documents collection is shelved using the Dewey classification and specialized arrangements particularly maps. For those not familiar with the Socrates online catalog, begin by reviewing screens on Search Tips: Searching Socrates on the Web--Brief Guide, "Help" and "Browse".

Journal and periodical articles are not indexed in Socrates. To do this search (by article title/author or subject), choose Melvyl, the California Digital Library Catalog. This database provides indexing for journal and periodical articles and includes the call numbers and locations for Stanford Library locations. Socrates DOES NOT index journal and periodical articles, and it is essential to know the journal/periodical title, volume/date, and page as well as the classification/call number in order to use journal and periodical volumes in the Stanford Libraries.

Circulating documents may be borrowed directly by those holding a Stanford ID. Non Stanford ID researchers may borrow these materials through their own libraries on the interlibrary loan program.

To locate other Depository Libraries see Area Depository Libraries; Regional Federal Depository Libraries; Full list of Federal Depository Libraries by state.

Free Internet access to government information is available on 15 public terminals in the Information and Social Sciences centers. There are charges for printing in the libraries.

The following guides on using federal government documents are available and may be useful.

The following electronic databases arranged by broad topics are available for use with the Federal Depository Collection.




Laws, Statutes, Codes, Regulations



Stanford University was designated a congressional depository library in 1895, and today is in California Congressional District 14 and has continued its status. The Federal Depository Program includes about 1300 selective depository libraries and 53 regional depository libraries. These libraries are located in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories. The Library Program Service also manages the distribution component of the International Exchange Service Program for the Library of Congress making federal government documents available in foreign country libraries. These programs are authorized by Title 44, U.S.C.

Through the Government Printing Office and its coordination with federal government agencies, the Program offers titles for selection by the libraries based on the needs and interests of the library's congressional district. The regional libraries are required to select all documents offered on the program and to house them permanently.
Selective depository libraries select documents needed in their district and are required to keep materials for a minimum of five years. In exchange for the receipt of the documents, the depository library is required to provide free access to these documents and treatment equal to other materials in the library. Within this Federal Depository Library System, the regional libraries provide access to their complete collections and support the selective depositories in staff training. Stanford University is a selective depository library, and the California State Library in Sacramento is the regional depository library for the State of California. For additional information on this program, see Federal Depository Library Program.

The Depository Collection forms the basis of a substantial federal documents collection in the Stanford Libraries and has been broadened by the addition of commercial indexes, microforms of previously unavailable documents, out of print document reprints, archives, and electronic formats including databases, cdroms, and data tapes.
The focus of the collection has been Congress including the Continental Congress documents, departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, State, War, and the Office of the President. Smaller special agencies like the temporary boards, commissions, and committees have been collected while they existed. The Branner Earth Sciences Library and its facilities allow acquisition of maps which many depository libraries cannot afford to house.
This collection numbers in excess of 130,000 volume equivalents of publications, 160,000 technical reports, thousands of reels of microfilm archives, over 300,000 microfiche, and several hundred cdroms and computer tapes.


Last modified: June 17, 2008

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