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

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

COVID-19 information

Due to the COVID-19 virus, all UW-Madison libraries, including the Wisconsin Historical Society Library, are closed indefinitely as of March 19, 2020, and are unable to provide access to federal government information in print at this time. 

 

Access online Government information through...

  • The library catalog: free and open to the public. When a publication is available online, there will be a link in the catalog record for that publication (Click on the title of the publication for the complete description, then click on links under “Online Access” on the right.)
  • The “Other Tools” listed in the middle column in the “Getting Started” page of this guide.

 

Help with finding and using government information

  • UW-Madison libraries are providing reference assistance via chat, text, and email.  Staff are working remotely, so will not be able to consult physical books, journals, maps, etc, in our collections.
  • For in-depth government information questions, please email Beth Harper, government information librarian.

 

Online federal government resources about COVID-19

A few places to start...

 

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 Geophysics 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. 

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).  Steenbock is also a Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC).  Patent librarians provide patent and trademark information and searching assistance for the general public and the UW-Madison community.  Information about patent and trademark services at Steenbock is here.

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 Publishing 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. (MPL's federal government documents site).