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U.S. Government: What is a Government Document

Government Documents

Generally, a government document is any publication produced by a government agency. The U.S. Code defines a government document or publication as "informational matter which is published as an individual document at government expense, or as required by law." (44 U.S.C. § 1901).

Government documents are issued by all branches of government, and may be available in a variety of formats, including print, microfiche, CD-ROM and electronic. The U.S. government currently makes over 95 percent of its publications available online.

Use the Catalog to find print and online government documents at the Monmouth University Library.

Since over 95% of government documents are published online, you can also use Google to search for information by adding SITE:.GOV to your search terms.  For example: Affordable Care Act

Congressional Hearings


Congressional Hearings are a rich source of information on a wide range of topics, such as terrorism, vaccine safety, assisted suicide, juvenile justice, banking, etc.  After a bill is introduced in Congress it is assigned to a committee. Committees will invite witnesses to give testimony. These witnesses can be elected officials, scientists, industry leaders, academics, or private citizens. Their testimony can include reports, statistics, and other supporting documentation. Most Hearings are available online from 1995 forward.

Federal Register


Published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents.

United States Code

The United States Code is the codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States. It is divided by broad subjects into 50 titles and published by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives. Since 1926, the United States Code has been published every six years. In between editions, annual cumulative supplements are published in order to present the most current information.

Congressional Record

Statistical Abstract