Finding Historical Government Publications

Using the Joyner Library Catalog

To look for government documents located in Joyner Library, use the Joyner Library Online Catalog . Items that are located in the Documents Collection will have "Joyner Docs. Stacks" as their location. To search just for government documents, select the Advanced search option, and limit your search to "Federal Document".

To find a document in the Joyner Docs Stacks collection, you will need to know the SuDocs number. The SuDocs number can be found in the catalog record for every Joyner Docs Stacks item. For more on SuDocs numbers, see An Explanation of the Superintendent of Documents Classification System .

The Documents Stacks collection, located in the basement of Joyner Library, includes over 535,000 items, with another 575,000 publications available on microfiche. The print documents collection ( Joyner Docs Stacks ), with some exceptions, mostly includes material published since 1950.

Please be aware that a large portion of our Government Documents collection is not yet listed in our library catalog. While all items from mid 1994 to present are cataloged, most items from before mid 1994 are not.

Other Sources for Finding Print Publications

Comprehensive Index to the Publications of the United States Government, 1774-1871: (Compact Ref Z1223 A1885d).

Comprehensive Index to the Publications of the United States Government, 1881-1893: (Compact Ref Z1223 A1962).

Cumulative Subject Index to the Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications, 1895-1899: (Compact Ref Z1223 A1829x).

Cumulative Subject Index to the Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications, 1900-1971: (Compact Ref Z1223 A183 1973).

Cumulative Title Index to United States Public Documents, 1789-1976: (Compact Ref Z1223 Z7 C86 1979).

GPO Catalog of U.S. Government Publications: (
Covers all depository library publications from 1976-present. Continues Monthly Catalog .

Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications: (Compact Ref Z1223 A17x).
-Volumes from 1885-1976 available. Continued by GPO Catalog .

To see if we have a copy of a particular government publication, start by writing down the title and SuDoc number. Then, try searching for it in Joyner Library's online catalog . If you can't find the item in the catalog, or need help finding it in the Documents Stacks, ask for assistance at the Reference Desk, located on the 1st Floor of Joyner Library. If we do not have the item in either paper or microfiche, and you are an ECU student, faculty, or staff member, you can then request it through a service called Interlibrary Loan .

Finding Electronic Documents

Core Documents of U.S. Democracy: (
-Government Printing Office (GPO) site containing links to both historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Gettysburg Address, as well as current congressional and presidential documents and Supreme Court decisions for most of the 20th century.

Government Information Web Directory: (
-Links to several hundred resources, organized into 25 topics.

GPO Access: (
-Government Web site provides access to over 300,000 online documents, from all three main branches of government. Strongest areas of coverage are laws and regulations, recent congressional publications, and recent presidential documents.

Library of Congress American Memory Collections: (
-"The American Memory Historical Collections, a major component of the Library's National Digital Library Program, are multimedia collections of digitized documents, photographs, recorded sound, moving pictures, and text from the Library's Americana collections." The site contains over 7,000,000 digitized items, organized into more than 100 collections. This is the largest assemblage of primary source material in American history available on the Web.

Congressional and Legislative Sources

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation - U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates 1774-1875: (
-Library of Congress site offering the full text of historical Congressional publications. Browse by publication or search.

Congressional Record: (
-Available in full text from 1994-present. Volumes from 1875-1995 are in the general collection (Joyner Stacks J11 R5). Coverage from 1989-present can be found in Thomas, 1983-present in Documents Dept. microfiche cabinets, X/a. The predecessor to the Congressional Record, Annals of Congress, can be found on the Library of Congress' American Memory Web site , from 1789-1824.

Lexis Nexis Congressional: (
-Full text of congressional committee hearings and prints from 1824 to present; Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports from 1916 to present; and bills and laws from 1988. Also includes indexing of other congressional publications from 1789 to present. Many indexed publications are available in microfiche in Documents/Microforms. Record the CIS number for an item in order to find it in fiche. (ECU Users Only)

Statutes at Large: (
-Full text of all public and private laws passed by Congress from 1789-present. Also available in print from 1921-2007 in the general stacks, 2nd Floor (Joyner Stacks KF50 U54x). Coverage from 1789-1873 is available via the Library of Congress' American Memory Web site, while 1995-present can be found in GPO Access. 1789-1963 are also in Documents Microfiche, U.S. C7508. (ECU Users Only)

Thomas: (
-Library of Congress Web site offers the full text of bills and laws back to 1989, and bill histories back to 1973. Committee reports from 1995-present. Browse or search.

US Congressional Serial Set: (
-The Serial Set provides more than 2.5 million pages of government documents on a wide variety of topics. Reports, documents, journals, memorials, and more from the US Senate and House of Representatives provide a wealth of primary source material. Current full text coverage is from 1817-1922. Eventually, the entire series up until 1980 will be available. Search the Serial Set in conjunction with the American State Papers (1789-1839) using the Archive of Americana. (ECU Users Only)

Presidential and Executive Branch Publications

Abraham Lincoln Papers Online: (
-Over 20,000 digitized items from the Library of Congress.

The American Presidency Project: (
-University of California, Santa Barbara Web resource offering a wealth of data and documentation. Includes the full text of inaugural speeches, State of the Union addresses, presidential debates, radio addresses, party platforms, election data, and other information.

CIS Index to U.S. Executive Branch Documents, 1789-1909: (Joyner Docs Index 3 JK411 C57 1990).
-Full text documents are available in microfiche in Documents/Microforms department. Record the CIS number for an item in order to find it in fiche.

CIS Index to U.S. Executive Branch Documents, 1910-1932: (Joyner Docs Index 3 JK411 C57 1996).
-Full text documents are available in microfiche in Documents/Microforms department. Record the CIS number for an item in order to find it in fiche.

The Compilation of Presidential Documents
- collection available from FDsys consists of the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents and the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents which are the official publications of materials released by the White House Press Secretary.  The Compilation of Presidential Documents is published by the Office of the Federal Register (OFR), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).  In conjunction with the change of administration in 2009, OFR and GPO are pleased to provide more timely access to Presidential Documents by making materials available in electronic format on a daily basis.  The Digest of White House Announcements, Nominations Submitted to the Senate, Checklist of White House Press Releases, and Acts Approved by the President will continue to be made available electronically on a weekly basis.

George Washington Papers Online: (
-65,000 documents, such as letters, diaries, and journals, provided by the Library of Congress.

Messages and Papers of the Presidents: (Joyner Stacks J81 B96).
-Covers 1789-1897.

Presidential Executive Orders: (
-Full text coverage from 1993-present with summaries going back to 1939. The codified full text of EOs from Truman through Reagan (1945-89) are also available from the NARA web site.

Presidential Libraries Web Sites: (
-Links to the sites of the ten presidential libraries, from Hoover to George H.W. Bush. Most of these sites offer digitized documents and other primary sources.

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: (
Full text coverage from 1992-present. Full text from 1929-77, and 1989-91 can be found at the American Presidency Web site. Volumes from 1929-99, except for Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-45), are available in the general collection, 2nd Floor (Joyner Stacks J80 A283).

Thomas Jefferson Papers Online: (
-27,000 primary source documents, digitized by the Library of Congress.

Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents: (
-Coverage from 1993-present. Back issues from 1965-2000 located in general collection, 2nd Floor (Joyner Stacks J80 A284).

Specialized Electronic Collections

Avalon Project: (
-Impressive database of treaties, legal codes, and other historical documents created by Yale University Law School. Can be browsed by author, chronological period, or subject area. Searchable as well.

Born in Slavery - Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938: (
-Library of Congress online exhibit contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

Digital National Security Archive: (
-Contains over 55,000 declassified documents going back to 1945. Organized into 24 collections, with topics including the Cold War, nuclear weapons, and terrorism. (ECU Users Only)

Foreign Relations of the United States: (
-Official State Department documentary historical record of US foreign policy. Over 30 volumes covering the 1950's, 60's, and 70's are now online. In addition, the University of Wisconsin has digitized selected volumes from 1861-1960. A complete set covering 1861-1930 is available in microfiche in Documents/Microforms, while most volumes covering 1925-76 are in paper in the general collection (Joyner Stacks JX 233 A3).

Freedmen's Bureau Online: (
-This genealogical site offers numerous records, such as indentures, labor contracts, marriage records, and reports of outrages and arrests, (organized by state) from the Freedmen's Bureau papers.  The site also links to additional Freedmen's Bureau-related sites, including the esteemed Freedmen and Southern Society Project , which has just begun to incorporate some of its many records on the internet.

Historic Government Publications From World War II: (
-Over 200 documents, digitized by Southern Methodist University.

Historical Publications of the United States Commission on Civil Rights: (
-Several dozen full-text publications from 1957-1997, provided by the Thurgood Marshall Law Library, University of Maryland.

National Security Archive: (
-Declassified Cold War era documents from George Washington University. Topics include Latin America, nuclear weapons, and US-Chinese relations. Click on "Documents" to access online collections.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies: (
-Complete digitized set of all 128 volumes containing transcripts of the orders, reports and dispatches produced by both armies during the Civil War. An indispensable primary source.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at: .

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Created by: David Durant

Last Updated: December 7, 2009

Finding Historical Government Publications - Joyner Library

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