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Government Research Resources

Government agencies links to research reports.

Federal Depository Library Program

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Mary Ries
211 Thompson Library
1858 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1285
Phone: 614-688-8770

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Not only do government agencies produce statistical data and legislation, they also engage in and fund original research.  Published as reports, studies, conference proceedings, etc., these technical documents are sometimes referred to as “grey literature.”  Library repositories and others are working to preserve and make these publications available digitally, but even with these efforts locating documents pertaining to government research can be difficult. 


To help locate these publications, the University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Library and Information Center offers the following search tips:

  • Start broad, then narrow your focus as appropriate.
  • Try limiting your search to domains ending in .org
  • Try limiting your search to [PDF] format, conference proceedings, or dissertations
  • Ask “Who Cares?"

Published government research is not necessarily subjected to a rigorous academic review process.  This in of itself does not inherently make these publications untrustworthy but their quality can vary widely depending on the source.  Library and Knowledge Services at Harvard’s Kennedy School recommends that search results be subjected to the C.R.A.A.P. test to evaluate its Currency, Relevancy, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose.

Royal Roads University of offers a slightly different assessment tool, which is designed to lead you through the assessment process via a series of questions.


Bridging gaps in academic and private research government publications have a critical role to play. Government research can provide unique and critically needed resources in emerging technologies and niche research arenas. The following resources were gleaned from lists compiled by Oregon State University LibrariesNorth Carolina State University, University of Washington Libraries and others to help with their location:  Open access to over a million e-prints in physics, mathematics, computer science, electrical engineering, and more.

Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.  Finding tool for federal publications that includes descriptive records for historical and current publications and provides direct links to those that are available online. Users can search by authoring agency, title, subject, and general key word, or click on "Advanced Search" for more options.  Very slow to load. 

Checklist of United States Public Documents, 1789-1909.  A digitization of a standard historical reference work. Lists Agency and Congressional documents, including Serial Set.

CONGRESS.GOV.  The official source for federal legislative information. It replaces the nearly 20-year-old site with a system that includes platform mobility, comprehensive information retrieval and user-friendly presentation.

Cross Agency Portals.  Special government websites with information on a particular topic.

CyberCemetary.  Provides permanent public access to the Web sites and publications of defunct U.S. government agencies and commissions. Very useful when presidential administrations change.  A partnership between the University of North Texas Libraries and GPO.

Digitized Projects Registry.  Contains records of publicly accessible collections that include significant numbers of digitized copies of U.S. Government publications.

Documents and Publications – Reports, Studies and Booklets.  Online library and bookshop of publications from the institutions and other bodies of the European Union.  Searchable by topic, institution, etc. 

DTIC Online.  Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) serves the DoD community as the largest central resource for DoD and government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business related information available (full text available)

Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL).   Access to selected U.S. policy documents, presidential directives, national strategy documents as well as specialized resources such as theses and reports from various universities, organizations and local and state agencies. 

NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS).  Allows searching three NASA collections:  1)  NACA, 2)  NASA, and 3)  NIX using a common interface.  Provides access to aerospace-related citations, full-text online documents, images and videos, conference papers, journal articles, meeting papers, patents, research reports, images, movies, and technical videos – scientific and technical information (STI) created or funded by NASA. 

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NTIS).   Access over 47,000 NTIS publications.

National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP).  Access to over 31,000 digital EPA publications, etc.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).   Access over 47,000 NIST publications.

National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP).  Access to over 31,000 digital EPA publications, etc.

National Technical Information Service (NTIS).   Access to the Technical Reports Library (NTRL), etc.

OSTI.GOV.   Department of Energy’s portal to Doe funded over 2 million research, reports, etc.  Gateway to U.S. government science information with access to more than 200 million pages of authoritative federal science information including research and development results from 13 federal agencies.

Technical Report Archive & Image Library (TRAIL).  Provides digital access to unrestricted U.S. government agency technical reports.  Global science gateway comprised of national and international scientific databases and portals.

Further Reading:

Grey Literature. (University of Michigan Library) Although geared towards the health sciences, provides information on other general resources and information on how to search for “grey literature” especially using Google. 

Grey Literature 101:  Introduction. (University of New Mexico) Gives background information on the topic, search strategies, and lists of resources.

Grey Literature:  What is it?. (Royal Roads University) Offers a summary of the pros and cons of grey literature, etc.