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University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries

Research Guides

U.S. Government Publications at the University of Wisconsin-Madison : Home

How to find U.S. government publications at University of Wisconsin-Madison libraries.

About U.S. Goverment Publications

Did you know the U.S. government is one of the biggest publishers in the world?  Government publications include:

  • Laws and regulations
  • Statistics
  • Maps
  • Histories
  • What Congress did and said
  • Speeches, proclamations, and executive orders of the presidents
  • Forms and applications
  • Research studies
  • Guides to programs and places
  • Descriptions of current and past federal programs
  • Patents and trademarks

Government publications cover just about any topic you can think of, from foreign relations to health, from the arts to space science.

Many publications are now available online, but some are only available in print.  UW-Madison libraries house thousands of government publications, and have experts in finding government publications who are here to help you.

Government Publications at UW-Madison

The first step in finding any federal government publication at UW-Madison is to search UW-Madison's online library catalog.  Nearly all U.S. government publications published since 1976, and a number of those published before 1976, are included in the catalog.  The catalog also has links to government publications available in full text. 

The catalog is free and available to the public.

Several campus libraries house collections of U.S. government publications. Please see each library for extensive assistance in identifying, locating, and using materials.

Geology and Geohysics Library: The Geology and Geophysics Library houses a substantial collection of materials from the U.S. Geological Survey, and other government publications related to geology.

Historical Society: The Wisconsin Historical Society Library is the official depository for all State of Wisconsin publications and, with the University of Wisconsin, is a regional depository for United States government publications. Particular subject area strengths are labor, foreign relations, census information, legislative branch activities (ie Congress), and civil rights.

Law Library: The UW Law Library is a selective federal depository library serving the university community and the general public. This page includes a selective list of major document titles or series currently received by the library.

Memorial Library: Memorial Library houses some U.S. government publications related to the social sciences and humanities. 

Robinson Map Library: The Arthur H. Robinson Map Library provides access to cartographic government publications, including materials from the U.S. Geographic Survey.

Steenbock Library: Steenbock Library houses state and federal government publications related to agriculture and natural resources (such as forestry and fish and wildlife management).

Wendt Commons Library: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has designated Wendt Commons Library as a Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC). The library maintains all U.S. utility, design, and plant patents. Wendt also houses a collection of technical reports, as well as federal government publications relating to energy, the environment, aerospace technology, climatology, transportation and nuclear energy.

Federal Depository Library Program

  The UW-Madison is part of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), and has been a depository library since the mid 1800's.  This program, administered by the U.S. Government Printing Office, provides free federal government publications to depository libraries in exchange for the library's commitment to make the publications available to the public at no fee.

The UW-Madison is a regional federal depository library.  A regional depository library receives and keeps all depository titles, and serves as a resource for other federal depository libraries in its state.  Because of its regional depository status, nearly all depository titles can be found somewhere on the UW-Madison campus. Milwaukee Public Library is also a regional depository library.