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Government Publications and Library Materials

Information About Holdings

The holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) are comprised of documentary materials of all forms, including textual (paper) records, photographs, motion pictures, cartographic and architectural records and electronic records. In general, published materials are considered to be 'non-record' material and NOT included among the records holdings of NARA. NARA is a source of last resort for U.S. Government Publications

A record set of U.S. Government publications, and publications of individual Federal agencies are considered to be a permanent record of the Federal government and therefore among NARA's holdings. The record set of U.S. government publications is serviced by NARA's Center for Legislative Archives, accessioned into Publications of the U.S. Government (Record Group 287).

In addition, U.S. Government publications may be found among NARA's textual (paper) records holdings. Information available in the Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. 3 vols. (1995), may be used to identify publications series, by record group, among NARA's textual (paper) records holdings. The Guide also includes a more detailed description of the Record Group 287 collection.

The NARA Library also maintains a collection of U.S. Government Documents.

The National Archives Catalog:
The National Archives Catalog can be used to search by media type and by subject. Included in the catalog are a number of digital copies of Government Publications from Record Group 287.

Search Hint:

  • Enter in the keywords box the term {Government Printing Office} in curly braces.

Search the National Archives Catalog

How to Obtain U.S. Government Publications

For information about ordering copies of U.S. Government Publications in print, contact the Government Printing Office.

Researchers interested in obtaining copies of or reviewing government publications should first contact a local library that is part of the Federal Depository Library Program. NARA is a source of last resort for U.S. Government Publications

Researchers specifically interested in patent and trademark materials should first contact a local library that is part of the Patent and Trademark Depository Library Program.

A number of U.S. Government Publications are also made available on-line by individual federal agencies of creation as well as through the following government-wide services:

The NARA Library and book collections in the Presidential Libraries

The NARA Library provides access to information on American history and government, archival administration, information management, and government publications to NARA staff, archives and records management professionals, and the general public. Some of the services available from the NARA Library include:

NARA's Presidential Libraries also maintain collections of books as library materials for the convenience of staff and researchers. These collections focus on particular time periods or particular individuals, reflective of the holdings of the individual libraries.

Other Resources

  • Most of NARA's finding aids are not yet online
  • Send us your request.