U.S. Government Information

Overview of U.S. Government Publications Collection at Johns Hopkins

What's in the Johns Hopkins Collection?

The Johns Hopkins Library was designated as a Federal depository library in 1882.  The U.S. Congress officially authorized the distribution of government publications to universities, historical societies, and state libraries in 1813. The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has overseen the FDLP since 1895. Currently, over 1,100 libraries across the nation are members of the FDLP. For more information about the FDLP, visit FDLP.gov

  • Our collections are strongest in content from the U.S. Congress, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of State, Department of Education, the U.S. Geological Survey and Census Bureau. 
  • Records for our entire backfile of print government published titles are in Catalyst (the library's catalog).
  • Over 97% of all newly published government publications are now available online, so the library catalog also includes links to all full-text digital titles that are accessible through the the U.S. Government Publishing Office.
  • To supplement our depository collection the library provides access to additional full-text government publications through subscription databases of organizations and commercial companies.  A selection of those database are included in this guide as well. 


What's Covered in this Guide?
This guide breaks down sources for government information by the three branches of our federal government. When folks talk about the content produced by government agencies they often use the phrase "government publications" or "government documents".  For this guide we use those terms interchangeably.   

  • Legislative Branch  - for publications documenting the work of the U.S.Congress
  • Executive  Branch - for publications of the U.S. President and executive departments and other agencies (i.e. Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Labor, Treasury, State, Treasury, Transportation, Veterans Affairs etc.)
  • Judicial Branch - for publications of the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal courts system, Administrative Office of the Courts.

This guide is a good starting point for finding government information but makes no attempt to be comprehensive.  You'll find additional government information sources listed under our Research Guides for many topics.