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Government Information in the Study of History

describes historically-significant documents in the Library's collection and important web sources for history

What's included?

From the standpoint of historical research, any and all government publications could be considered as potential primary research materials. Materials include many primary sources as well as major secondary materials.

Online resources
  • web sites with substantial reference value such as "portals" and meta-sites dealing with history


Tangible resources
  • primary print materials in significant compilations or in long runs covering many years.
  • significant sets of primary materials dealing with major events in history, such as the Nixon impeachment hearings, the Kennedy assassination, etc.
  • major secondary works

Tangible Docs Arrangement

The Blume Library became a U.S. documents depository in 1964. Most of our printed material, therefore, is of that vintage or more recent. The documents collection shelved on the 2nd Floor with Superintendent of Documents classification numbers.

A few government publications are shelved on the 3rd Floor with Library of Congress (LC) call numbers. Some of these items are described in this guide, with their call numbers given.

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.


Library of Congress Bibliographies. LC 1.12/2: . These publications cover many different subjects, often of historical interest. Usually the listings describe holdings of the Library. The Blume Library has only kept selected, substantial, bibliographies in print, but links to online versions of other bibliographies can be found in the Library Catalog.

Classic, comprehensive, bibliographies are shelved in the Reference Collection on the 1st Floor:

  • Comprehensive Index to the Publications of the U.S. Government, 1881-1893. REF Z 1223 A13. By John G. Ames, and often referred to as "Ames." 
  • A Descriptive Catalogue of the Government Publications of the U.S., 1774-1881. REF Z 1223 A1885. By Benjamin P. Poore, and often referred to as "Poore's." 
  • Guide to U.S. Government Publications. 1990. REF Z 1223 .Z7 A572 (Law Library). Edited by Donna Andriot, and often referred to as "Andriot." Complete listing of Superintendent of Documents classification numbers, including those no longer in use; also annotations of important series.

Collection Limits

The Blume Library ceased receiving new tangible government documents in Spring 2016 and withdrew large numbers of tangible documents during the previous year.