What are Government Documents?

Occupational Outlook Handbook

Have you ever used the Occupational Outlook Handbook for a career class? Or perhaps the Uniform Crime Reports for a law/criminal justice class? Have you ever gone to the IRS website to get tax forms or the Census home page to get statistics?

Then you have used a Government Document (or "Gov Doc").

A "Gov Doc" is the term used to describe any government publication (ether printed or online) issued officially by a government agency. This also includes state and international documents, as well as federal.

Why should you use Government Documents in your reports/papers?

  1. Government Documents are authoritative, official information on hundreds of subjects. Unlike some random websites you might pull up using a web search, the source of the information is clearly defined. This makes such resources more reliable for use in papers and reports.
  2. The online government documents are available 24/7, as long as you have Internet access. This present authoritative information you can access even when the library is closed.
  3. Exercise your right to free government information.