How Do I Find Government Documents?

Getting Started

Search our government documents databases
Many government documents are now available online. These databases will help you locate them.
Search our catalog: OSCAR
OSCAR is Santa Clara University's online library catalog. You can use it to search for books by title, author, subject, or keyword. Most government publications received since 1993 will be found in OSCAR, and almost all of these are currently stored in the Automated Retrieval System(ARS). Take your request to the Information Desk or the Circulation Desk in the Interim Library, and a staff person will request the publications for you. The materials will be delivered to the Interim Library Circulation Desk. Many publications issued prior to 1993 are included in OSCAR too, but there are thousands of titles the Library received that are not listed in OSCAR. Library staff will need to check the manual files for these - please ask!
Search other library catalogs: LINK+
LINK+ is an online catalog that combines the collections of over 40 academic and public libraries in California and Nevada. You can search the LINK+ catalog directly, or you can search OSCAR first and then carry your search forward into LINK+ by clicking the "Search LINK+" button on the right of the search results screen. Documents you find in LINK+ that are marked as "available" can be requested online and are delivered to the Circulation Desk free of charge, usually within 2 to 4 days*.

Broadening Your Search:

If you are conducting a comprehensive search or just haven't quite identified the right resources yet, try broadening your search by using one of these resources.

Search the University of California's catalog: Melvyl
Melvyl focuses upon California state publications. Melvyl is the combined catalog of the University of California system, Stanford University, and the California State Library. This is the most comprehensive catalog available for California state publications. If you find something here you need, please ask University Library staff to check the Library's manual files - it may be in the Library's collection!
Search the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications
The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications is the finding tool for federal publications that includes descriptive records for historical and current publications and provides direct links to documents that are available online. Most titles date from 1976 forward. Users can search by authoring agency, title, subject, and general keyword, or click on "Advanced Search" for more options. The catalog offers the option to find a nearby Federal Depository Library that has a particular publication or that can provide expert assistance in finding and using related U.S. government information. Click on the title of interest from your search results list. Then click on the "Locate in a Library" link within the displayed record. Searches can be limited by telephone area code to find a conveniently located depository library.
Search ProQuest Congressional
ProQuest Congressional is an excellent database for finding federal laws and pending legislation. Many of the documents are available online in full-text. Off-campus access to this database is available to current SCU students, faculty, and staff only.
Want to really broaden your search? Check WorldCat
Find it in WorldCatWorldCat is an online catalog of over 1.3 billion items in more than 10,000 libraries worldwide. WorldCat is a great place to go if you want to do a really comprehensive search. If you find a document here that you want, and it isn't in OSCAR or LINK+, then you can request it through Interlibrary Loan.

Additional Help:

Can't find it in OSCAR or LINK+? Request it through Interlibrary Loan
If the Library does not own the document you seek and it is not available through LINK+, the Interlibrary Loan team will borrow it from another library for you. You will be notified via e-mail when the book arrives, and you can pick it up at the Library Circulation Desk. This service is easy to use, and best of all, it's free*. Just fill out the online request form with as much information as you have about the government publication you need. Publications requested through interlibrary loan usually arrive within 10-14 days. Interlibrary Loan staff will keep you informed regarding the status of your request.
Staff (408-554-5385).
The Government Documents staff maintains more online documentation that can help you get started in your research. Staff are normally available 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday-Friday when the Library is open
Need more help? Ask a librarian
"Ask a Librarian" is our 24/7 research support service*. We have librarians available around the clock to help you find books and other library materials. Visit the Ask a Librarian page to view the six different ways you can get library-related help from a pro!

* LINK+, Interlibrary Loan, and Ask A Librarian are services offered to current Santa Clara University students, faculty, and staff only.

Page created November 2, 2006.
Page last updated September 2, 2014.