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Federal Government Information: Reference Sources

Material available through the three branches of government.

Citing Government Information

Citing Government Documents:  APA Style
Citing Government Documents:  Chicago Style
Citing Government Documents:  MLA Style
Common Abbreviations and Legal Citations Examples for Selected Federal Government Documents: Legislative, Regulatory and Statutory

Citations for law reviews generally follow the White Pages of The Bluebook: A Uniform of Citation which often employs LARGE AND SMALL caps to designate many titles. However, U.S. courts and litigation practitioners generally follow the Blue Pages of that work which often uses italics or underlining. This brief resource generally follows the Blue Pages, but it is important to be consistent and include enough identifying information so a researcher can find the cited document.

Federal Government Resources
govinfo is a service of the United States Government Publishing Office (GPO), which is a Federal agency in the legislative branch.It provides free public access to official publications from all three branches of the Federal Government.
MetaLib is a federated search engine that searches multiple U.S. Federal government databases, retrieving reports, articles, and citations while providing direct links to selected resources available online. To learn more, view additional brief or detailed search information.
FDLP LibGuides
There are three groups of guides in FDLP LibGuides- FDLP Information, Hot Topics, and Subject Guides. FDLP Information guides contain resources and guidance for depository libraries. These are intended to simplify your depository operations and help depository libraries provide services to their users. Hot Topics contain collections of guides on specific topics that are of current interest. These can include guides from any of the other groups. Subject Guides contain information about specific topics, including resource lists, search tips, and community guides. Community guides are arranged by topic and contain links to guides created by libraries and agencies outside of GPO. These are housed on the creating institution's websites.

Schaffer Library Subscription Resources

Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, July 1976 to present
Congressional Publications (Proquest)
Congressional Publications provides access to a wealth of historic and current materials produced by the U.S Congress, including a majority of hearings published from the beginning up to 2003. Proquest Libguide about Congressional Digital Hearings Collection is available for assistance.
Congressional Bills and Resolutions
The Center for Research Libraries holds hard copy, microprint and microfiche of congressional bills from 1789 through 1979. Format and arrangement depends on the time period. Not online but can be requested.
CQ Press Electronic Library Requires UCLA authentication
This database is the definitive reference resource for research in American government, politics, history, public policy, and current affairs.
CQ Researcher Online
CQ Researcher is noted for its in-depth, unbiased coverage of health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the economy. 1923-2013.
CQ Weekly
CQ Weekly reports on the world's most powerful legislative body completely and accurately every week.
Digital National Security Archives
The Digital National Security Archive contains the most comprehensive set of declassified government documents available consisting of over 80,000 meticulously indexed documents, with more than 500,000 total pages. Each of these collections, compiled by top scholars and experts, exhaustively covers the most critical world events, countries, and U.S. policy decisions from post World War II through the 21st century.
Homeland Security Digital Library
Over 92,800 documents related to homeland security policy, strategy, and organizational management from a wide variety of sources including federal, state and local governments; international governments and institutions; nonprofit organizations and private entities. This is a free database but entry must be made through here or Schaffer Library's catalog or it requires individual registration.
United States Congressional Serial Set (1817-1988)
Reports, documents and journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, originally published in approximately 13,800 bound volumes.
Serial Set finding aids: Numerical Lists of Documents and Reports (85th Congress, 1957-58 to 2010) and Schedule of Serial Set Volumes (100th Congress, 1987-88 to 2010)
United States Congressional Serial Set: Maps (1817-1980)
The maps published as part of U.S. Congressional Serial Set publications.
Military and Government Collection (EBSCOHOST) Requires UCLA authentication
Designed to offer current news pertaining to all branches of the military, this database offers a thorough collection of periodicals, academic journals and other content pertinent to the increasing needs of those sites. The Military & Government Collection provides cover-to-cover full text for nearly 300 journals and periodicals. The database also offers indexing and abstracts for more than 400 titles. Some publications covered in this database include Air Force Comptroller, Defence Studies, JFQ: Joint Force Quarterly, Military Technology, Combat Edge, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Foreign Affairs, Naval Forces, and many more. Many full text titles are available in native (searchable) PDF, or scanned-in-color.
Voxgov Requires UCLA authentication
Sometimes described as a “discovery engine,” the home page gives you a simple, Google-like search box where you can immediately search the government’s releases on any topic. Ranging from the official releases of agencies to personal tweets of elected officials, strives to capture and make sense of the thousands of ways our government tries to communicate with us.  

Search Engine Options

Apps for Browsers and/or Phones

  • Federal Mobile Products
    TONS of government native apps, hybrid apps, responsive sites and mobile websites offer official information and services from the palm of your hand. For both iOS and Android and mobile web.
  • Mobile Apps Gallery (
    Government apps and mobile sites offer official information and services from the palm of your hand. Learn more about apps.
  • Greenhouse
    After installing the plugin on Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, Greenhouse will highlight the names of any members of Congress no matter what webpage you’re on. When you hover your mouse of the highlighted name, a list pops up showing the elected official, their political affiliation and state, and a full list of their biggest contributors, as well as dollar amounts. The pop-up also shows what percentage of the official’s donations were $200 or less, and which campaign finance measures they supported. The data Greenhouse uses is pulled from, and includes dollar figures from each politician’s most recent election cycle.
  • Congress 101
    Using this FREE app, you can search for representatives by zip code, Last name and state. The app also shows detail information like their party affiliation, district they represent, contact phone number, mailing address and website. If you are looking for an app to keep you updated about congress or as a reference guide, this is a great app for you.
  • Congress by Sunlight Foundation
    Follow the latest from Washington with (the always free and updated) Congress app from the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation. Learn more about your members of Congress, track activity on bills and more.
    • Find your representatives
    • Information on legislators, bills, votes, committees and hearings
    • Push notifications for the legislators and bills you follow
    • Call your representatives directly from the app
    • Add hearings to your calendar
    • Lots of other stuff!
    Stay up to date on Twitter, follow @congress_app.
  • @Congressedits
    A bot that tweets anonymous Wikipedia edits that are made from IP addresses in the US Congress.
  • Supreme Court Cases
    Historic Supreme Court Cases FREE app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Read some of the most famous cases that shaped America as they were written by the Supreme Court. Cases from the earliest courts to present day.
  • U.S. Code
    The entire United States Code, loaded onto your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad so that you can access all federal statutes without using the internet.
    Search, browse, or use legal citations to find the sections you're looking for. Keep bookmarks, scroll through each chapter of the code as if it's a book, and email code sections to yourself or others.
    This app is provided as a free service by Shawn Bayern, an assistant professor at the Florida State University College of Law. It's a personal project, not one that represents the university or anyone else.
    Of course, it's intended for informational purposes only, and it's not meant to provide legal advice or legal services of any kind. You should always confirm that the information in this application is correct and still current law before relying on it.
  • U. S. Constitution: Analysis and Interpretation
    The U.S. Constitution: Analysis and Interpretation app is a mobile version of the "Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation", a comprehensive analytical legal treatise prepared by attorneys of the Congressional Research Service at the direction of the United States Senate and issued as Senate Document No. 112-9. The app is presented by the Library of Congress using data provided by the Government Printing Office.
  • U.S. Political News
    Your one stop app for all political news from both sides of the aisle.
    - Political news from the major networks
    - News and opinion from the right
    - Opinion and news from the left
    Internet is required for all functions
  • U.S. Government RSS Directory
    Stay on top of important government news and information with the Updates RSS feed. They'll revise this feed when news and featured content on the website are added.
  • Census PoP Quiz App
    The app is free and available for both iPhone and Android smartphones and tablets. Features include:
    -Challenges that test knowledge of topics such as population, housing and commuting.
    -Questions that span locations in all 50 states and the nation’s capital.
    -Badges to share with contacts via social media connections.
    Census PoP Quiz is the third in a series of Census Bureau mobile apps. The mobile initiative is one example of how the Census Bureau is working to make America’s statistics available anywhere, anytime to everyone and on any device—consistent with the Department of Commerce’s open data priorities and the federal government’s Digital Government Strategy.
  • America's Economy
    Take the pulse of the U.S. Economy straight from your phone. The America’s Economy app provides real-time updates for 19 key economic indicators released from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Bureau of Economic Analysis. Key economic measures on employment, manufacturing, international trade, retail sales, and residential construction and sales allow those who follow the U.S. economy to be the first to see whether the indicator has gone up or down since the previous report, and trends over time.
  • dwellr
    City or country? Bike or drive to work? Beach or mountains? Download the U.S. Census Bureau’s dwellr app today to discover the top 25 U.S. cities and towns that best fit your lifestyle. Whether you prefer the bright lights of the big city or wide open spaces, dwellr powers your phone with neighborhood-level statistics on topics such as home values, education, and how people get to work so that you can explore where you want to dwell. Once you’ve found your dream neighborhood, take dwellr with you wherever you go.
  • Heath Hotlines
    Listing of organizations with toll free numbers from the National Library of Medicine's DIRLINE Database. Subject areas include AIDS, cancer, maternal and child health, aging, disabilities, substance abuse and mental health. Organizations include federal, state and local government agencies, information and referral centers, professional societies, support groups, and voluntary associations. The services of the organizations listed have not be reviewed or evaluated.
  • Foodkeeper (US Dept. of Agriculture App) The FoodKeeper application offers users valuable storage advice about more than 400 and beverage items, including various types of baby food, dairy products and eggs, meat, poultry, produce, seafood, and more.
    The app is available for Android and Apple devices. Storage times listed are intended as useful guidelines and are not hard-and-fast rules. Some foods may deteriorate more quickly while others may last longer than the times suggested.
  • Drug Shortages (FDA)
    This app was specifically designed to speed public access to valuable information about drug shortages. It identifies current drug shortages, resolved shortages and discontinuations of drug products. App users can search or browse by a drug’s generic name or active ingredient, and browse by therapeutic category. The app can also be used to report a suspected drug shortage or supply issue to the FDA.