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Government Documents & Information


For Help Finding Government Information

If you aren't finding what you had hoped to find or would like some guidance as you explore, please ask for assistance:  

  • Contact Bill Kopplin, Documents Librarian, for his knowledge of documents and experience working with the collections.
  • Contact the subject librarians for their knowledge of materials special to their areas. 
  • Go to Library Chat for a quick response.

See the right column of this page to make contact.

What are Government Documents?

What is a government document?

Government documents are official publications produced by any government agency, such as a department of the federal government or a state agency or the United Nations. They come in a variety of physical formats, including books, periodicals, maps, microfiche, CD-ROMs, videotapes, and in electronic format on internet sites.

Documents provide: 

  • Respected, usually non-partisan information.‚Äč
  • Information collected from citizens and residents and returned to them, often with context and analysis.
  • A source for unique
    • Data and reports compiled by government agencies,
    • Large-scale surveys like the Census,
    • Detailed and exact information on government events, such as on votes in Congress and on speeches from the President. 


What is in the Federal documents collection?

Perry-Castañeda Library receives many of the publications available through the Federal Depository Program.  Publications represent every sphere of federal government activity.  Subjects covered include aeronautics, business, demographics, education, energy, environment, foreign affairs, government policy and programs, health, natural resources, technology and more.  We have publications issued by the first Congress and by all subsequent congresses, and publications from every cabinet level department and most other administrative agencies. 

Unpublished, or archival, government information is held in the National Archives, and some of it is available through National Archives web sites.  For these federal records, UT-Austin has guides to help with locating the materials but generally does not have the records themselves.

Federal Depository Library Program

"The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) was established by Congress to ensure that the American public has access to its Government's information. Since 1813, depository libraries have safeguarded the public's right to know by collecting, organizing, maintaining, preserving, and assisting users with information from the Federal Government. The FDLP provides Government information at no cost to designated depository libraries throughout the country and territories. These depository libraries, in turn, provide local, no-fee access to Government information in an impartial environment with professional assistance." (from FDLP Desktop)      

The Perry-Castañeda Library is the main UT Austin depository containing both current and historic documents. The PCL distributes government publications to branch libraries in their subject areas.

Other depository libraries in Austin include Tarlton Law LibraryTexas State Library, and Texas State Law Library.  And information here from the Texas State Library discusses depository libraries in Texas.

Information about the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) may be found here.

Other Government Depositories

Below are links to depositories in the San Antonio and Texas area:

State of Texas Documents Depositories

Until 2011, an active program of depositing documents from agencies of the State of Texas was maintained.  See here for information about where historical documents and expertise about them may be found.

Regional Depositories

Texas State Library and Archives Commission, located in Austin, is the regional federal and state depository library. The Texas State Library is required to collect all federal documents distributed by the depository program. To date, they own over 1.5 million items. It also collects Texas State documents.  A second Regional Depository is located in Lubbock at Texas Tech University

Federal Depository Library Program

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