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Government & Legal Resources: Government Documents


DOC staff have access to a wealth of government documents, both in print and electronically.  The Commerce Research Library has legal and legislative print collections that include many older documents and resources that are not always available in digital format.  You can search the catalog, check out our collections, or contact a librarian to learn more.

Additionally, the library actively tries to collect print resources published by and about the Department of Commerce in our DOC Archives collection.  While far from comprehensive, this area of our collection is unique and full of hidden gems.

Subscription databases containing government documents are a great place to start your search. Other resources exist freely on the internet. Some of the more popular ones are listed below and could be of use during your research.

Subscription Research Databases

Depending on the information you are looking for subscription databases can be easier to search.  For legislative research we always suggest you start with Legislative Insight or ProQuest Congressional.  HeinOnline, Lexis, and Westlaw are great places to check for other documents including agency decisions and federal register notices.  Each database has slightly different collections and years covered so you may need to check multiple.

Free Websites

These websites are openly available on the internet:

A-Z List of Executive Agencies 
List of government executive agencies and departments.

GPO's Catalog of Government Documents 
Bibliographic finding tool for federal publications.

Congressional Research Service Reports
This database contains a variety of recently written products to Congress, including the CRS's well-known reports that provide in-depth research and analysis (internally defined as R-series reports). (formerly THOMAS) is the official website for U.S. federal legislative information.  It is particularly useful for recent materials.
The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) is responsible for the production and distribution of information products and services for all three branches of the Federal Government and provides permanent public access to Federal Government information at no charge.

HathiTrust Digital Library
HathiTrust Digital Library is a digital preservation repository; documents can be viewed, but not printed.  This resource is especially useful for locating committee hearings and historic government reports and publications.

Database that contains bibliographic records for the latest research sponsored by the United States and select foreign governments. Information is typically oriented toward the scientific, technical, engineering, and business related fields. 

Cornell University Law School/Legal Information Institute
Provides updates to any section of the USC that has changed since the official was published.  NOT AUTHORITATIVE. 
Find general government information and services.

Commerce Documents

Department Administrative Orders (DAOs)
Used to document and mandate continuing policies, standards requirements, and procedures prescribed by the Office of the Secretary for Departmentwide application or for application to two or more major program areas of the Department. The DAOs cover substantive program matters as well as administrative management, legal, or special staff functions.

Department Organization Orders (DOOs)
Used to prescribe the basic management structure and organizational arrangements of the Department of Commerce. DOOs are issued for each Secretarial Officer, Departmental Office, and Operating Unit of the Department of Commerce.

DOO/DAO Recent Updates
A list of recently issued, modified, or revoked Directives.

Depository Information

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The Commerce Research Library is a selective depository library. Our public hours are by appointment only for visitors with a valid research need that requires access to the Library's print collections.

PLEASE NOTE:  While the general public are allowed to use depository materials free of charge, some of our collections, including many of the resources listed on this website, are not depository materials and may only be used by DOC staff.  This includes most of the electronic resources such as LexisNexis, Westlaw, Proquest, and HeinOnline.