Skip to main content

U.S. Government Information at UC Berkeley: Finding Government Information at UC Berkeley

Finding Current Government Information

Use the search box below to discover current government information.  This box is a customized Google search and will search all .gov and .mil websites.

You can also hack a Google search by adding site:.gov or site:.mil to any search.  This will limit your search to those domains.  More information on advanced Google searching can be found in the Library's Google Research Made Easy guide.

Free Public Access to Government Information

Free public access to United States government documents in a federal depository library is guaranteed by law (44 USC §1911).  While UC Berkeley houses one of the most comprehensive collections of U.S. government documents in the country, the Library is one of over a thousand Federal Depository Libraries across the United States, and one of several Federal Depository Libraries in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Using Oskicat to Find U.S. Government Information

Oskicat is UC Berkeley's public catalog and is very helpful in finding United States government information at UCB.  The best search strategy is to use Oskicat's Advanced Keyword Search tab.  Once at the Advanced Keyword Search screen, change the first drop-down to Author and enter United States in the box next to it:

Leave the remaining drop-downs as Any Field and enter your search terms in those boxes (think of broad search terms for this step).  You may also change the second drop-down to Author and add the name of a particular agency or department to find publications from that agency.  You also have the option to limit by date at the bottom of the search page, or UCB library location if needed.

Many, but not all, of the online government titles in OskiCat can be accessed by anyone. If you need a tangible title, note its physical location, call number, and status--UC Berkeley has over twenty libraries on campus and you wouldn't want to be in one library when the title you want is in another building.  OskiCat can also text you this information.

UC Berkeley's Government Information Guides

The Library has created several guides on finding U.S. government information.  All of these guides contain links to Library subscription databases (off-campus access is restricted to current UCB students, faculty and staff) as well as free sources that can be accessed by anyone.  Subscription databases can be accessed by anyone from Library computers.

Which Agency?

One strategy to use when locating government information is to determine which agency would be interested in the same topics you want to research. This can be done by using the United State Government Manual. The Government Manual is the official handbook of the U.S. government and can give you an overview of what each branch of government, agency and office are responsible for, as well as a bit of history. This tool can help you narrow your search to the specific office(s) that would be interested in the issues you want to research.

UC Berkeley has several versions of the manual, both in print and online, going back to 1935.

Contact Jesse

Jesse Silva

Need help with research?  Have a question about the collection or the UC Berkeley Library?  Here are three ways to get in touch with me: 

Copyright © 2014-2016 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. Except where otherwise noted, this work is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License.