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Gov Docs: Finding Government Documents: Home



The University of South Alabama (USA) Libraries have been a Federal Depository since 1968.


In addition to SOUTHcat to find government information, you can use a database to access resources provided by the federal government.  To see what databases are available, go to the Library Website.   Under the box for "Library Resources" click on  Databases & e-Reference.  On the right-hand side of the page are listed subject topics, called Tags.  Choose the tag for Government Documents and it will list those databases that access resources for government information.

About the Government Documents Collection

The USA Marx Library has been a member of the Federal Depository Library program since 1968 and is one of 22 federal depository libraries in the state of Alabama. Our primary mission is to serve the needs of the students, faculty, and staff at the University of South Alabama. We also serve the needs of the larger community in the 1st Congressional District of Alabama, with emphasis on Mobile and Baldwin counties.

The Government Documents collection can be found in four formats: print, microfiche, CD-ROM/DVD and digital web format. Most of these items can be accessed directly through our on-line catalog known as SOUTHcat. The tangible collections (print, microfiche, CD-ROM/DVD formats) are physically located on 2nd Floor South of the Marx Library.  Most of the items in either print or CD-ROM/DVD formats are available for check out. 

Discovering Government Documents in the SOUTHcat Catalog

1. Go to the Library Website.  Under Library Resources, click on SOUTHcat Catalog.

2. At the Basic Search screen, enter in the subject of the Government Document you are trying to find using a Keyword search.  For example, "electoral college" [in quotes to search as a phrase].

3. Under the Search box, use Limit To: and choose Marx Library Government Documents.  Click on Search

4. You will then see a list of results.  Our example produced 16 results. 

5.  Select the document you are interested in. 

6.  Take note of the "Location" since there are several locations within the Documents Collection: 

   Marx Lib Government Documents Bookshelves (2nd Floor South) indicates that the title circulates and may be checked out.

   Marx Library Government Documents, Microfiche (2nd FL South) indicates that the title is not in paper format but is microfiche and would be found in the Microfiche Cabinets.

7.  Also take note of the "Call Number".  The system used to determine the call number for government information, which is known as SuDoc, is different than the one used for regular books.  It is based on the government agency that issued the title, while the call number system for in the regular collections, known as Library of Congress [LC], is based on its subject content.  You will need the ENTIRE call number in order to find it in the appropriate location.


Not all government documents are available in the government documents collection in Marx Library.  Some are available only on the web.  Even though they may not be in the building, they may be accessible through SOUTHcat.  For these documents, do not limit your search to just "Marx Library Government Documents" since they are not in the physical government documents collections.  Leave the Limit To: function to All Materials.  Re-doing your search with this change will get you "64 results found" and will include Marx Library Bookstacks and Marx Library Electronic Books.  These locations indicate they are not government documents.  However, the location given as *Electronic Resources - Marx Library will probably be for a government documents.  Selecting those titles will get you to a record with a link to the actual document.

Government Documents Librarian & Depository Coordinator

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Vicki Tate
Marx Library RM 222
University of South Alabama
5901 USA Dr. N.
Mobile, AL 36688