Table of Contents
The Thurgood Marshall Law Library is a selective depository. We do not receive every item available from the Government Printing Office. The Library does make every effort to choose material reflecting the research needs of our students and faculty. Many, but not all, of the documents that the Library receives are cataloged and can be located by searching in the library catalog. If you are unable to locate the material you need, please ask for help at the Library's User Services Desk.
Material is arranged on the shelves by the Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) number. This number usually consists of an alphabetic identifier for the agency (Ag for Department of Agriculture, J for Department of Justice) followed by a series of numbers that represent both the type of publication and the year or congressional session the material was produced. Congressional publications are always represented by either an X or Y. When you are using an electronic index such as the Monthly Catalog or a printed index, such as CIS, you need to locate the SuDoc number in order to find material on the shelves.
Material in the Government Documents collection is published in paper, micro format, in electronic form (CD-ROM and electronic data files) and online. CD-ROMs are shelved on the first floor in the microfilm area and are available for use in the Library at any CD-ROM workstations. Online resources and documents can be located in the library catalog.
Additional, subject specific Internet links may be found by searching the library's specialty pages and list of free electronic resources.
As in all projects, unless you are already knowledgeable about the topic area, it is best to start with introductory resources and then to consult more focused or specialized works; moving from secondary to primary resources.
Articles, books and government resources can provide you with an overview of your topic and help you think of search terms that you might not have thought of otherwise. They will also cite primary authorities such as statutes and case law. You can then use the primary sources cited in the secondary sources as a jumping off point to find other primary sources.
Please note that unlike many of the electronic resources that are subscribed
to from private publishers the material below, for the most part, is available
to all users. A great place to begin researching government information is in
a general database like FDsys [GPO's
Federal Digital System (FDsys) portal provides public access to Government information
submitted by Congress and Federal agencies and preserved by GPO as technology
changes] or Thomas [Library of Congress'
guide to legislation and Congressional activity].