Skip to Main Content

Gov Info Quick Links: Finding Gov Info

This guide provides an overview of Government Information and common resources at USU Libraries.

What is Government Information?

What is government information?

Government information, sometimes referred to as government documents, describes materials produced by government agencies or departments that describe their programs, actions, and/or findings. These materials are released in a variety of formats, including print, microforms, CD, DVD, and online formats. 


What does that mean at USU? 

The Government Information Collection includes materials released by the U.S. Government as part of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). Since 1907, the department has collected materials from every government agency, from the Department of Agriculture to the War Department. 

Currently, the vast majority of materials are released digitally. The Library Catalog provides access to these materials. The Department continues to receive printed materials to supplement our historic collections. Government Information staff are happy to answer any questions you may have about these materials. 

Resources by Subject or Category

Search Tips

As you search for something, you can better find it by asking the following questions. Each of these answers may help you determine what publication or collection will hold an answer and will indicate whether the material may be digitized.

Who created it?

  • The House of Representatives? The Senate? A Committee? The President? An Agency?

What format was it created in?

  • Is it a law? A rule? Remarks? Testimony? A Report?  An Agency Publication? 

When was it created?

  • Before 1865? After 1976? After 1995? Is it currently being debated?

Consult the Legislative Process graphic to identify which collections and formats you should search. 

Finding Materials Based on Year

Pre-1865 - Many founding documents for the U.S. have been digitized. See Digital Access to Government Information for resources.

Post-1907 - Utah State University became a federal depository in 1907. We have been actively collecting physical copies of federal government materials since this date. To search our physical collections, see Finding Gov Info. 

Post-1976 - Materials will be cataloged in the USU Library Catalog and the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications. 

Post-1995 - Congressional and Executive Branch materials are available digitally on Physical materials can be located via the USU Library Catalog. 

2015-2018 - Recent materials are often best located on Congressional, Executive Branch, or Agency websites. 

More items are being digitized all the time. These ranges are not all inclusive and more may be available. 

How to Read a Bill or Law

This screenshot of a public law provides an orientation to a law's components. You can learn about a law's drafting and implementation from various information on the published law. These different parts of the page that act as citations for where to find more information. See the How to Read Government Citations for additional information. 

"A" is found underneath the title of the document, "B" is found on the top right of the page, "C" is found on the right of the page, and "D" is found at the bottom of the page.














A: Laws format citation. Public Law designation. Introduced to the 115th Congress as the 15th bill. 

B: Laws format citation. Statutes at Large Citation. To be published in Volume # 131 as # 79. 

C: U.S. Code Citation. 

D: Legislative History. Cites the Senate Bill number and the debate days where discussion is recorded in the Congressional Record. 

Dictionary of Abbreviations

Government information includes specific abbreviations. Learn more about what the most common below.

U.S. Publication Abbreviations and Sample Citations





Bill originating in the Senate

S. 1


Bill originating in the House

H.R. 2002


Simple resolution originating in the Senate

S.Res. 2


Simple resolution originating in the House

H.Res. 3


Joint resolution originating in the Senate

S.J. Res.4


Joint resolution originating in the House

H.J. Res.5


Concurrent resolution originating in the Senate



Concurrent resolution originating in the House



A bill or joint resolution, originating in either the Senate or House, may become a Public law




United States Statutes at Large is a chronological listing of the laws enacted each Congress.  Volumes are numbered according to the number of Congress.

80 Stat.371


United States Code is the codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States. It is grouped by subject in one of 53 titles.

5 U.S.C. §  552


United States Code Annotated



United States Code Service – The U.S. Code reprinted with additional information. Accessible online through LexisNexis or in print via request from the BARN. See the library catalog to request the print copy. In Lexis Nexis, click on the drop down for “Search by Subject or Topic” and Select “Federal Statues and Regulations”

7 USCS §§ 136c


Report issued by a Senate committee, usually to accompany legislation that has passed in committee



Code of Federal Regulations



Report issued by a House or conference committee, usually to accompany legislation that has passed in committee


et seq.   "and what follows", usually accompanies a section # to denote reference to the whole section.   16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq
§  section number  16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq

*Adapted from the U.S. Senate's Key to Legislative Citations

Need Help?

Profile Photo
Jen Kirk
Merril-Cazier Library, Lower Level, Room 012
(435) 797-8033

FDLP Designation

“This library is a congressionally designated depository for U.S. Government documents. Public access to the government documents collection is guaranteed by public law. (Title 44 United States Code)”

FDLP Regional Depository Logo