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Government Information: Introduction

The Government Information guide is a gateway to information produced by the government, including an overview of the government documents collection at Connecticut College.

Government Publications at Connecticut College

Connecticut College has been a part of the
Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) since 1926. Through this program the library has acquired a wide range of United States government documents that support teaching and research across the disciplines. 

Our catalog includes records for 130,000 print documents, and some 40,000 in electronic format, not including those that can be accessed through our database subscriptions (See Finding Docs). As a small selective depository, we currently select 7% of all documents available to depository libraries. We also collect Connecticut state documents. 

Several hundred new documents are typically added to our collection each month depending on the activity of the Government Publishing Office (GPO), including their ability to find and catalog recent publications from government agencies that do not necessarily report their latest activity. The vast majority of these new documents, now some 97%, are published in electronic format, or born digital.

The print collection is located on the lower-level of Charles E. Shain Library. While not all documents are represented in the Library System, OneSearch, it is still the best place to start your search. Try limiting your search results to the Charles E. Shain Library, then you can further limit the Location/Collection to Connecticut State Documents or US Federal Documents. The Connecticut State Library is the regional depository for our area. And we are all encouraged to make use of their collections and services. 

Help yourself to this short brochure [PDF] on our collection.

Access to Documents at Connecticut College

For visitors:

All are welcome to use the Government Documents collection during regular library hours. There are stand-up computer terminals available for guest access on the main floor of the library, as well as on the lower level near the print collection of documents. For more information on guest use of library facilities, please see the Shain Library Policies.

Chapter 19 of Title 44 of the United States Code (44 USC 19) deals specifically with the national depository library program. Section 1911 pertains to free public use: 

"Depository libraries shall make Government publications available for the free use of the general public."

To that effect, I am your main point of contact if you need help finding government information. Please contact me directly if you need special accommodations. My contact information is available in the box on the right side of this screen.

Publishing Opportunity for Student Research

DttP logo at Shain Library

Update about an opportunity to publish student work in Documents to the People (DttP) student papers issue.

DttP was a quarterly print publication (now online only as of summer 2016) of the American Library Association featuring articles on local, state, national, and international government information. Shain library was a subscriber and keeps print issues of the magazine from 1974-2016. Stanford University maintains the digital archive through 2002.

Submissions for the student papers issue are usually due in September of each year, and will be accepted as email attachments sent to dttp.editor[at]gmail[dot]com. Around 2016 an editor told me they would also consider submissions of work on an ongoing basis by anyone regardless of their affiliation as long as it fits their mission. See their author guidelines here.

Please do not hesitate to be in touch with me if I can be of assistance helping to shepherd student work in this direction. We have an interesting collection of government documents that could prove useful for such a publication.

Disappearing Government Information

Two leading government information advocates - James A. Jacobs and James R. Jacobs - made a public presentation on 24 October 2017 about the state of government information online. Click here to access a recording of their presentation; additional materials are available at Free Gov Info and at Researchscapes, which is a blog from the Research Support Librarians at Connecticut College.

Celebrating 90 years in 2016!

Subject Guide

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Andrew Lopez
Charles E. Shain Library
Connecticut College
270 Mohegan Ave.
New London, CT 06320
(860) 439-2656

Library Assistance

The Government Documents librarian is available for:

  • class workshops or presentations
  • helping to create assignments that make use of gov docs
  • group assistance on research projects
  • individual research consultations
  • public service

Please use the contact information in the box above to get in touch.