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Government Publications: Welcome!

Introduction to Government Publications

The government of the United States is the largest publisher in the world. Through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), the Government Publishing Office (GPO) distributes certain classes of government documents to designated libraries throughout the United States. The mission of the FDLP is to provide free, ready, and permanent public access to federal government information, now and for future generations in order to create an informed citizenry and an improved quality of life.

Designated in 1945, Woodward Library serves as a selective depository in the service of Tennessee's 7th Congressional District in coordination with the regional depository library at the University of Memphis. It receives a percentage of all GPO publications in tangible or electronic formats. The library's collections provide open, free access to members of the Clarksville and University communities.

In the interest of facilitating public access to government information, the GPO has increasingly focused its efforts on mass digitization projects and other methods of introducing contemporary and historical publications, data, and utilities to the electronic environment. While this undertaking has made access to government information less dependent on physical collections, it has not and cannot remove all barriers to identification and retrieval. The U.S. government bureaucracy remains highly complex; government information often mirrors this complexity. Please consult a Librarian if you require any assistance while attempting to locate or properly utilize government resources.

The function of depository libraries has largely shifted from material collection to access provision. The FDLP is even moving in the direction of rebranding itself as the FIALP, or Federal Information Access Library Program. The resources contained in this guide represent the best available tools to discover text, statistics, media, and other manifestations of primary and secondary information from the U.S. government.

Consult GPO's List of Classes for a complete listing of federal publications available for selection by depository libraries. Search the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications to identify historical and current publications. Direct links are provided to those resources that are available online, including e-books.

Explore the tabs above to locate government and para-governmental information resources created at local, state, national, and global levels.


Government Information Online

Through Government Information Online (GIO), you can ask government information librarians who are experts at finding information from government agencies of all levels (local, state, regional, national international) on almost any subject. GIO is a free online information service supported by nearly twenty public, state and academic libraries throughout the United States. All participants are designated Federal depository libraries in the U.S. Government Publishing Office's Federal Depository Library Program. Many are also official depository libraries for their other types of governments and public agencies.

Federal Depository Library Program

Government Information FAQs


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Resource Management Librarian

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Scott Shumate
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