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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 or contact a librarian to learn more.

Additionally, the library actively tries to collect print resources published by 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). is the official website for U.S. federal legislative information.  It is particularly useful for recent materials. is usually updated the morning after a session adjourns.
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.

National Technical Reports Library 
Produced by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Technical Information Service (NTIS), this resource facilitates accessing U.S. government-sponsored research and worldwide scientific, technical, engineering, and business-related information. NTIS provides access to research reports, journal articles, data files, computer programs, and audio-visual products from Federal sources.

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.