Government Publications

Federal Depository Library Program logo

We are a Congressionally-designated depository for U.S. Government Publications. Traditionally referred to as Government Documents, these publications may be found in a variety of formats including bound and unbound print collections (books, reports, brochures & pamphlets); kits with print booklets and three-dimensional items; website content (webpages & attached digital files); CDs & DVDs; maps; microfilm & microfiche; posters and collections of printed illustrations. Public access to  government documents collections is guaranteed by public law (Title 44 United States Code).

The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) was established by Congress to ensure that the American public has access to its Government’s information. The Program originated in the early 1800’s when a joint resolution of Congress directed that additional copies of the House and Senate Journals and other documents be printed and distributed to institutions outside the Federal establishment. Over the years the Depository Library System has expanded and today there are nearly 1,250 participating libraries.

GPO (Government Publishing Office) administers the FDLP on behalf of the participating libraries and the public. Information products from the Federal Government are disseminated to these nationwide libraries that, in turn, ensure the American public has free access to the materials, both in print and online.

Selective depository libraries choose publications and services that best meet the Federal government information needs of their local communities. Fifty regional depository libraries receive every unclassified government publication of interest to the public.

Federal Publications

Our Government Information Services section contains over 1 million publications, dating from the 1700s to the present. Most materials from 1976 forward appear in the online catalog. Older holdings can be located in paper indexes and in the Non–Depository Index and Microfiche Sets in the library.

The collection includes federal legislation, laws, and regulations (United States Code; Code Of Federal Regulations; Federal Register; Congressional bills, hearings, and reports); current and historic census data, topographic maps; and social, economic, and environmental statistics. Many sources are available online. GovInfo, an online system to Federal legislation, is available and updated on a daily basis.


State Publications

Since its inception in 1817, the State Library has collected state government publications of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, and any board, or commission of state government intended for general public use and distribution. The Library is the official Ohio government documents depository and houses the largest collection of Ohio’s state publications in the United States. We receive and make available state government publications as mandated by ORC 149.11.

Some of the types of Ohio documents that can be found include:

  • House and Senate Journals
  • Laws of Ohio
  • Ohio state agency annual reports
  • Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C) (laws)
  • Ohio Administrative Code (O.A.C.) (rules)
  • Ohio Supreme Court and Appellate Court decisions
  • General publications on a variety of subjects including statistical compilations, brochures and periodicals

Catalog records for state publications can be found by searching the State Library’s catalog. In addition, many current documents are received electronically and the full-text is added to the digital collection. Links to the digital publications are accessible from the State Library’s catalog.

If our collection includes more than one print copy of a document, it may circulate. Items that are fragile or published prior to 1950 do not circulate, but are available to use in the library. We will scan and email a reasonable number of pages from items that do not circulate as staff time permits.

For more information on how these documents are classified, consult our classification scheme index.

View Lists of Ohio Documents

For assistance with questions about government documents, please contact the Research & Catalog Services Department at, 1–800–686–1532 (Ohio only) or (614) 644–7051.



Elissa Lawrence is the Government Documents Librarian at the State Library of Ohio. She coordinates and maintains all aspects of the Government Information program.


fedgovdoc is a required listserv for all Ohio federal depositories. Each federal depository in the state is required to subscribe to the ohiogovdoc mailing list.

stategovdocs is a mailing list for state depository libraries of Ohio. Typical examples of content and discussion for the stategovdocs list include announcements and sharing promotional ideas.

FDLP Information Resources

Instructions, Guidelines, & Training

As Regional Depository for the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), we oversee the discard process for federal documents’ depositories throughout Ohio.


Government Documents Round Table of Ohio (Ohio GODORT)
GODORT of Ohio is affiliated with ALA Government Documents RoundTable.

Visit the Ohio GODORT website


Since the Depository Library Act of 1962 (P.L. 87–579), the State Library of Ohio has been the regional depository library for the state of Ohio. As the regional, the State Library of Ohio serves the entire state of Ohio in addition to its primary users state government and the library community.

Federal depository resources are available and usable for all State Library customers regardless of library affiliation, disability, age, residency, or other customer status.  Any member of the general public may use depository resources in all formats at a Federal depository library free of charge and without impediments.

Collection Development

  1. As a regional, Government Information Services will receive and permanently retain at least one copy of all government publications distributed by the Federal Depository Library Program.
  2. Commercially published retrospective collections that broaden the scope of the documents collection will be purchased, as funds are available. These include CIS hearings and executive documents on microfiche.
  3. Needs and offers lists from Ohio depositories and other states will be checked to secure replacements for missing documents.
  4. Additional U.S. government publications may be purchased.
  5. Reference works considered essential to the effective use of the collection will be acquired.
  6. Only duplicate or appropriate superseded materials will be withdrawn. Guidelines of the “List of Superseded Documents” will be followed. As long as space is not a consideration, superseded materials will be stamped “SUPERSEDED” and retained on the shelf.
  7. All claimable publications missing from depository shipments will be claimed from GPO in a timely manner. Microfiche and electronic shipment numbers will be tracked to alert staff of missing documents.

Collection Management

  1. The Superintendent of Documents (Sudocs) classification system will be used for the collection.
  2. The Library of Congress classification system will be used for commercial publications.
  3. The online catalog will serve as the shelflist for the collection.
  4. Microforms, audiovisual material, CD–Roms, DVD’s, diskettes, maps and other alternative formats will be treated in a similar manner to print publications.
  5. Periodicals and major census reports for the United States and Ohio will be bound as funds are available.
  6. Government Information Services is included in the State Library of Ohio’s disaster plan.


  1. Federal documents are included in the online catalog from 1976 forward. Pre–1976 publications are added to the online catalog as staff time permits.
  2. Indexing tools are available for pre–1976 publications.
  3. Bibliographic records for all formats including electronic publications are downloaded to the online catalog formerly from Autographics and since January 2003 from Marcive.
  4. All bibliographic records added to the State Library of Ohio catalog are also included in the OhioLINK central catalog.
  5. Federal publications circulate with the exception of reference materials and older, fragile materials.
  6. Microfiche will be duplicated rather than circulated. Microfiche/microfilm reader printers are available for patron use.
  7. Items in compact shelving must be paged. The remainder of the collection is in open stacks.
  8. Reference service is available by phone, fax, and email or in person during hours of operation.