Finding Government Information in the library

Getting started

See the subjects below for information on accessing government information in the library and online.

 For a list of State websites and databases go to North Dakota State Information by Subject, for Federal websites and databases go to Federal Government Websites

Using Google

If you need the most current information the agency website may be your best option. You can search a government site by using these terms for better results:     Searches all .gov sites

If you know the agency website, you can include part of the url. Example" Searches North Dakota sites

Using the library catalog

Use the Advanced Search option and select Government Documents. When you select Government Documents you will have the option to narrow down your search by select all, federal or state documents.

screen shot showing the advanced search. location of the Government Documents button and options

Finding materials in the library- how they are organized

The federal collection is organized beginning with a capital letter or letters representing a government department or agency. (A - Agriculture Dept., C - Commerce Dept., ED - Education Dept., etc.)

    The numbers that follow these letters represent the office of a particular department. For instance, all Bureau of Indian Affairs publications will be given a number beginning with I 20. The numbers after the decimal point represent second and subsequent level offices.

    Numbers immediately following the colon indicate numbered series, volumes or dates (the government documents are the only items in the library that will have : in the call number). Letters and numbers immediately following the colon are based on a system which organizes materials alphabetically by subject.

    In general, documents are shelved in alphabetical and numerical order.
        C 3.24/8: IN 23
        C 3.25: AF 48
        NAS 1.2: FR 76
        NS 5: 100
    This is not a decimal system. Numbers between punctuation are treated as individual whole numbers.
        D 1.2: EX 83
        D 1.16: TO 75
        D 1.23: NA 42
        D 1.23/2: CR 76
    Numbers precede letters.
        C 61.12: 89-7
        C 61.12: AM 32

The main federal agencies

These are some of larger portions of our collection

A: Agriculture/ USDA. This will include the Forest Service, soil surveys, extension service and the Census of Agriculture.

D: The Department of Defense. This section includes the Army, Air Force and Navy. There are also large series of military histories, technical manuals, and reports. Materials from before the establishment of the Department of Defense in 1945 will be under W (War Department) and N (Navy).

E: The Department of Energy.

ED: Education Department

EP: Environmental protection Agency

HE: Health and Human Services Department

HH: Housing and Urban Development Department

HS: Homeland Security, includes ICE, FEMA.

I: Interior Department, includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, and the US Geological Survey

VA: Veterans Affairs Department