Skip to main content
UVM Libraries Research Guides banner

U.S. Government

What is FDsys?

How to use FDsys

Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs


1. What is a Federal Depository Library?

A Federal Depository Library is a library that collects, processes, organizes and maintains publications by the Federal Government for public access.


2. What are Government Documents?

"Government documents" are publications issued by a government agency at any level of government (international, national, state, local, etc.). These documents can cover a wide range of subjects; for example, census, agriculture, business, economics, statistics, legal, health sciences, environmental studies, education and foreign affairs. Bailey/Howe Government Documents houses many of the federal government publications.


3. Where are Government Documents located in Bailey/Howe Library?

Government Documents is located on the ground floor of Bailey/Howe Library. The legal information is located in the corridor outside the documents room and accessed when the library is open. Other government information is located within closed stacks of the Government Documents room and can be accessed during document hours. Current government information may be found online using the links provided on our website. Government Documents staff welcome questions by phone and e-mail which can be found on the Bailey/Howe Government Documents and Maps contact page.


4. Can anyone use Government Documents?

Everyone is welcome to use Government Document materials in the library. Federal documents are stored in closed stacks and are retrieved by staff during hours of operation. Arrangements can be made for access to specific documents during library hours when the Gov Docs room is closed. Please contact Government Documents staff for assistance.


5. Can I check out Government Documents?

Non-UVM affiliates may view/copy materials in-house only. Most Federal materials may circulate to active UVM students, faculty, staff and guest borrowers.


6. How do I search for Government Publications prior to 1976?

Though many older documents are in our collection, Government publications published prior to 1976 are not generally in the library catalog. The Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government, 1895-1976 can be accessed on campus by anyone and off-campus by UVM faculty, staff and students. Government Documents staff can help you locate documents back to the 1770's.


7. Where do I go for help finding Government Documents?

Government Documents and Maps are located on the ground level of Bailey/Howe Library. When those rooms are open, a department staff person is available for assistance. During hours we are closed, please contact us by phone or e-mail and we will get back to you as soon as possible.


8. Do you receive copies of all Government Documents?

Although many documents are available online, we receive approximately 90% of the publications distributed by the Government Printing Office.


9. Do you have Vermont state and local documents?

Bailey/Howe's Special Collections department actively collects local, county, and state documents that are issued in print format. (Increasingly of course, many are available online.) That would include county-level organizations that are quasi-governmental, like the regional planning organizations.

Although there is a backlog of old and new publications, many of the state and local documents can be found in the library catalog. Special Collections reference folks are happy to help users find reports and data.


10. How are Government Publications arranged on the shelf?

Government publications are arranged by Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) classification system developed by the Library of the Government Printing Office. It is a system that groups together publications by the same government author.


11. How do I cite Government Documents in my research paper?

Refer to the handout, How to Cite U.S. Government Information Sources (electronic version located below and paper copies are located in the Government Documents department).



Bailey/Howe Library Government Information & Maps's picture
Bailey/Howe Library Government Information & Maps
Bailey/Howe Library, Ground Floor
Website / Blog Page