The Ohio State Universities | University Libraries | Resource Guides

Government Documents and Information

Guide to Government Documents and Information

Thompson Library COVIT-19 Update

Due to the rapidly evolving situation with CIVID-19 in Franklin County and the state of Ohio, ALL Ohio State University Libraries (OSUL) are temporarily closed to the public.  Please check to get the latest information on OSUL’s status.  If you have questions concerning Government information please contact Mary Ann Ries ( via email.

Citing Government Publications

The standard style manuals do not provide examples for citing all the variants of government publications in a consistent fashion. The document itself may not have all the information needed, or it may be presented in a confusing fashion thus making citing difficult. Some government publications include a suggested citation, but overall citing government documents can be tricky.

The following is a good starting point: 

  • Arizona State University Libraries. Government Documents Service – DocsCite. [Interactive guide to MLA and APA formatting for government documents using templates and dropdown menus.]

The following sites and publications can also be helpful.

  • The Bluebook:  A Uniform System of Citation.  Cambridge, MA:  Harvard Law Review Association, c1991-.  Guide for citing legal materials.  Also available electronically.
  • Brief Guide to Citing Government Publications.  The University of Memphis.  University Libraries.  Government Publications.   Online citation guide for government documents.
  • Citing Government Documents  Columbia University Library.  U.S. Government Documents.  Bibliography of citation guides.
  • Citing Maps.  Ohio Wesleyan University Libraries.   Online citation guide for citing maps.
  • Citing Records in the National Archives of the United States.  General Information Leaflet 17.  Revised 2010.   Washington, D.C.:  National Archives and Records Administration, 2010.   National Archives guide for citing their materials.
  • The Complete Guide to Citing Government Information Resources:  A Manual for Social Science & Business Research.  3rd. Edition.  Debora Cheney.   Bethesda, Maryland:  LexisNexis:  Congressional Information Service, c2002.  A comprehensive guide to citing not only U.S. government documents but also foreign in all formats.
  • Electronic Styles:  A Handbook for Citing Electronic Information.  Li, Xia.  Medford, NJ:  Information Today, 1996. Guide to citing electronic information resources.
  • Online!:  a Reference Guide to Using Internet Sources.  Andrew Harnack.  Boston, Massachusetts:  Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.  Provides examples of citations for government document based on standard style manuals.
  • Style Guide: Citation Basics – Citing Government Publications.  University of North Texas.  University Libraries.  Basic overview of the elements required for a good citation and suggestions on how to find these elements for a government publication.