Government Information


Welcome to a brief search strategy on how to find government information, whether its materials in the Libraries or online. 

Be sure to check out the specific pages on finding federal, state and international government information for more help as well.  What is below is just a quick starting point.

It is useful to know that U.S. federal documents, both in paper and fiche, are organized in the Bartle Library according to the SuDoc numbering system, which looks and works differently then the Library of Congress system used in the rest of the Libraries.  For a brief introduction to the SuDoc system, read Understanding SuDoc numbers (from Trinity College).

NYS documents uses its own organizational system, also based on authorship, that is arranged starting with three letter code designating authoring agency.  

Finding government info in the Libraries

A. Search the Catalog.     

To make your search easier, you can change "Search in" to "Gov Docs." Then use a keyword or title search to locate documents about your topic.

All local, regional, state, and most federal documents owned by the Libraries will be in InfoLINK. Select web sites and electronic documents are cataloged in InfoLINK as well.


B. Search the  GPO Catalog for all federal documents published since 1976.

This catalog records all items published by the federal government; some which may not have been released through the depository system. 

To determine if we have a particular document, write down the title and SuDoc number (Gov Pub number), then search the documents collection for the SuDoc number.


C. Search the print Monthly Catalog/Poole's (Gov Doc Ref Z1223 .A18) or WorldCat  for pre-1976 federal documents.

The print Monthly catalog is the most complete index of government publications, and can be searched by topic, title or author.  It will provide the SuDoc number of the document.

WorldCat does not include SuDoc numbers for most documents. To find a SuDoc number, take the title found in WorldCat and look it up in the print version of the Monthly Catalog. Then search for the SuDoc number in the documents collection.


D.  For NYS documents, try searching the NYS Library catalog, Excelsior.

NYS Library has the most comprehensive holdings of NYS depository documents, many of which are available online are digitized, which can be access through the Digital Collections.


E.  Search the The Checklist of Official Publications of the State of New York (Gov Docs Reference Z1223.5.N57 N55, 1947-2002, online 1989-present).  This is complete listing of NYS official publications. Reading the webpage for a brief explanation of the notations in the guide is helpful.

Write down the NYSDOC number.  Any print or microfiche item is arranged on the shelves using this number.


F. If the Binghamton University Libraries does not own item that you need, you might be able to obtain the item through Inter-Library Loan.

Finding government info online

A.  Try some of the steps up above.

Any of the resources up above that can be searched online will list online publications and websites, alongside print resources.

B. Search a portal. These are databases of subject-specific websites and search engines, such as:

  • Browse Topics - lists of federal websites and publications, ranging from Architecture to Zoology

  • -  searches for health information across government-sponsored sites. From the Department of Health and Human Services.

  • - one stop shopping for federal forms

  • National Criminal Justice Abstracts - search documents and studies relating to all aspects of criminal justice and crime prevention. Some will be online, others may be in the Libraries and can be found in infoLINK. Others may be obtain through Inter-Library Loan.

  • - allows searching over 36 science-related government databases, including the DOE Information Bridge and NTIS. Serves as a gateway to science-related information.

  • - general starting point for US government service and offerings for citizens and residents

  • - a site designed to assist small business owners with their questions.  Links out to state and local information, when available.

  • How do I? - NYS government information, sorted by topic

  • Subject listing of NYS information

  • NYS Government Information Locator Service (NYSL) - index to useful sites, including local government sites

C. Try a search engine.

D. Go the starting point.

If you think you know where the information you want originates, then find the authoring agency and start searching there.


Finding statistics

A. Try an index.
Try the listing on the Stastics & Census guide, which provide a listing of searchable databases of government statistics, many which offer full-text charts and sources.

B. Go to the source. 
You can try the Statistics by topic page, which provides links to some of the most used providers of U.S. and N.Y data.  

Tip: When you locate a single statistical source (chart, table, graph, etc.), look for the note or citation which will provide what data set or report it was originally published in.  You can then search for the source in the library catalog  or Google government search.

Newsbreaking sources

Sources that track the latest news and information, from government sources, or about governmental happenings.



Subject Guide

Dave Vose's picture
Dave Vose
Bartle Library: 777-4907

Downtown Center: 777-9275