Main Library · Information and Reference Department · Public Documents

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The Main Library, a designated Government Documents and Patent and Trademark Depository Library, has been collecting Public Documents since 1884. Public Documents are official publications of the U.S. government and cover a wide range of subjects in a variety of formats. Sample document types include: census information, congressional documents, as well as statistics and other reports by various government agencies.

The Information & Reference Department manages this collection and receives approximately 41% of the material made available for deposit. The materials historically have come in many formats, including paper, microforms, maps, and digital versions of documents. Currently, materials are restricted to paper and digital files.

All current publications and much of our historical collection can be found by searching our catalog. The remainder of our collection is housed at the Main Library and can be located by library staff upon request. Please contact Information & Reference staff for assistance.

Some of the department’s more interesting and popular subjects include:

  • Topographic maps from the USGS covering the entire 50 states, with a larger historic collection of maps from Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky.
  • Population and economic census data from each decennial census since 1790.
  • Federal laws and regulations covered in such serials as the Statutes at Large, the U. S. Code, the Federal Register, and the Code of Federal Regulations.
  • Historic climatological data from Cincinnati and the local area.
  • Collections of materials covering the workings of Congress from the American State Papers (1789-1823), continued by the Congressional Serial Set, and also including hearings from both houses of Congress.
  • ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) microfiche collection. Particularly strong in early childhood education and also its coverage of articles from some 900 journals in the field. Microfiche publication ceased in 2004.

Additionally, the following sites are recommended starting points for online searching:

  • Government Printing Office’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) provides free online access to official publications from all three branches of the Federal Government.
  • American Fact Finder. American Fact Finder provides access to data about the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Island Areas. The data in American Fact Finder come from several censuses and surveys.
  • Science.gov. Science.gov searches over 60 databases and over 2200 selected websites from 15 federal agencies, offering 200 million pages of authoritative U.S. government science information including research and development results.