Government Documents Collection

Yale Government Documents Center | Law Library Government Documents Policies 

The purpose Lillian Goldman Law Library’s government documents collections is to serve the needs of the Yale Law School’s students, faculty, administrators, and staff.  The Library is also committed to providing free and unimpeded public access to government documents, both for its primary users and for the general public. The Library is accessible to persons with disabilities, as are the government documents collections which are shelved in open stacks.  Elevators provide access into the library.    The depository library logo is posted at the Library’s outside entrance and in several locations throughout the library.  All federal government documents with the exception of selected reference titles circulate out of the library, for the same period of time as materials from the general collection.  The documents collection is governed by these policies.

In general, the Law Library elects highly selective methods for comprising its government documents collection, as it enjoys the strong support of the Yale University Library’s Government Documents Center.   The library has a small collection of United States government documents related to law and policy. We also have major reference works produced by the government. For example, we have the United States Code (law related), the Budget of the United States Government (policy) and the Statistical Abstract of the United States (major reference work). We do not have items like Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (medical/research related) or U.S. Geological Survey Sectional Maps (geography/geology related). The majority of our government documents are shelved by subject with the rest of the library’s collection according to the Library of Congress Classification scheme. Some documents are still shelved by publishing agency in the SuDoc classification scheme, although we are working to move all documents into the Library of Congress classification. You can locate documents using the library’s online catalog,MORRIS.

Yale University Library has been a selective depository for U.S. federal government publications since 1859, and has a selection rate over 80%.  Selected government documents are available in the Social Science Library reference collection. Reference documents do not circulate, but self-service photocopiers and scanners are available.  Government documents not located in the Social Science Library can be requested through Orbis (the Yale Library catalog) Place Requests function and delivered to any library on campus. Help with the Orbis place requests form is available here.  Government documents not found in Orbis can be requested using this Place Requests form.  Non-Yale affiliates can access Government Documents & Information Center collections in a variety of ways; see here for details.  Microform materials can be requested via the Place Requests form. Microform reading, printing, and scanning equipment is available in the Social Science Library and Sterling Memorial Library.

Other depository libraries in the area include the University of New Haven and the  Connecticut State Library in Hartford.  The Connecticut State Library has been a regional depository library since 1967. It receives all materials distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program and retains them permanently. It also serves as a resource for all selective depositories in its region, including interlibrary loan. 

In addition, the federal government’s transition to electronic publishing and FDsys further broadens the information base available to the community.  

Reference librarians can assist you with your research and help you locate hard to find documents, even if they are at other libraries in the area.  The Law Library’s catalog and website has a link for users to request assistance.   If you have suggestions for addition to the document collection, please contact the documents librarian.  Research classes at the Law School cover government documents, visit the course page for more information.

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