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Government Information

gateway to government information in the Blume Library and on the web

Why look for government information?

image and text: You've come to the right place for free access to U.S. Government documents. Ask a library staff member for help.

  • Comprehensiveness. With a few exceptions, research in almost any subject area is incomplete without consulting government sources
  • Reliability. Government information can be the product of research at the highest level
  • Authenticity. Many electronic government publications come with authentication seals
  • Primary sources. Much government information—such as hearings, court cases, diplomatic papers—is considered primary source material
  • Economy. Almost all government information is freely available to all users, not just members of the St. Mary's community
  • Responsibility. It's our duty as citizens of a democracy to be informed about governmental actions

Different levels of government = different collections of information

When looking for government information, it is often useful to remember some basic civics. Different levels of government  are responsible for different governmental tasks. And since the information produced by government is related to the jobs it must do, different types of information are produced by these different entities.

San Antonio

• Local • 
• State • 
• National/Federal •

Example from the legal field:

  • local government oversees traffic violations
  • state government has jurisdiction over crimes such as robbery and murder
  • national government is involved with misdeeds such as income tax fraud or tampering with the mail

So to find legal documents pertaining to these laws, you would need to look in the publications of the proper jurisdictions. Of course, however, local, state and national governments might all Texasat one time or another, produce surveys, studies, or "white papers" on topics of general interest, such as immigration, pollution, or education policy.


Not surprisingly, there are different organizational systems (or, sometimes not much of a system at all) that have evolved to describe and classify government information at different levels.

National/Federal: The majority of the Blume Library's government publicaUStions collection consists of U.S. documents

State: We have a smaller collection of Texas documents, and no current receipts of printed Texas documents. We also have no collection of documents from other states

Local: We have very few local documents

With very few exceptions, all of these publications are represented in Library Catalog, and may be found there in the course of a normal search, by using subject, keyword, or author terms. The LOCATION given for a print government publications in the catalog is either Blume U.S. Docs. 2d Flr. or Blume Texas Docs. 2d Flr. More information on the government publication classification systems is under the In the Library tab.


globeInternational information. The Library does not have a collection of international documents. However, the International/Foreign tab lists several online sources.


This Guide covers U.S. national government information in the most detail, since it is the most voluminous and also the best organized. But references are also made to Texas and local government information. And for more detail on the information generated by these governments check Texas Government and San Antonio & Bexar County tabs.

Government Information in the San Antonio area and beyond

Other libraries in the San Antonio area maintain collections of printed government information and have expertise in finding government information online. Below are links to these libraries.

Texas & U.S. Depositories (San Antonio)

Note: The Texas print depository system no longer exists. Some of the following libraries may have retained their legacy print collections and/or might have expertise in finding Texas government information online.

U.S. Depositories only (San Antonio)

Regional Libraries (Texas)

Find U.S. depositories elsewhere:

Old docs or websites?

Looking for a document, video, or other information that you know you saw on a government website, but now it's nowhere to be found?

These various archiving projects might be able to help you out. Note that the archived websites might have broken links or other non-functional content.

Ask a Librarian" service by GIO

We hope that folks in the San Antonio area will ask us if they need help finding government information. But if you are somewhere else, or we aren't available, there's another service you can use.

Citing government sources

Spanish-language government sites

For non-St. Mary's patrons

We at the Blume Library are dedicated to providing free access to government information to members of the 20th Congressional District and the general public, as well as to the St. Mary's community.

Patrons not affiliated with St. Mary's may not check out materials from the Library, but are welcome to use any tangible materials, including government documents in any format, in the Library. Government materials may be requested through the patron's home institution, or the public library, on interlibrary loan.

Non-St. Mary's patrons may use computers in the Library for research involving government websites, provided there are available computers not being used by St. Mary's students, faculty, or staff.

Librarians are happy to respond to queries and requests for assistance from the general public. Since our first responsibility is to the St. Mary's community, however, there might occasionally be some delay in responding to complex queries.