The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications is the official index to print, microformat, CD/DVD, and online documents published by the Federal government and available to depository libraries. The database is useful for finding citations to sources, locating the Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) number needed, and locating a URL for electronic resources. This database covers more than 500,000 records published since 1976; some earlier materials may also be located in this index. The titles indexed cover a broad range of topics and multiple formats, and include congressional committee reports and hearings as well as publications from most departments and agencies. The UWM Libraries is a selective depository and does not own all the documents cited. For earlier publications, use the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications in paper (1895-1995), (compact) Z 1223 .A15; other specialized indexes also exist; see the RIS guide "How to find U.S. Government Publications" for general information. For assistance in locating government publications at UWM Libraries, inquire at the RIS AskaLibrarian Desk.


  1. Select the type of search preferred from the drop-down menu in the "Search for word/phrase" box, e.g., keyword, author, title, SuDocs number, etc.
  2. Type in a word or phrase in the "Enter word/phrase" search box. For multiple concepts, use the extra search boxes. Using additional terms will help refine or narrow the search.
  3. Limit by year, format, language, or specific catalog. Fill in as little or as much of the form as necessary. The more information or fields used, the narrower the search will be.
  4. Click on "Go."
  5. The Results List will appear with the items that match the search terms.


  • Phrase searching
    1. Use quotation marks for exact phrase searching, e.g., "international relations."

  • Boolean Searching (and, or, not)
    1. For searches with multiple terms, enter words/phrases and use a Boolean Operator (AND, OR or NOT) within the same line to refine the search.
    2. For more terms, enter the search terms in multiple search boxes, and use the preferred Boolean Operator (AND, OR or NOT) from the drop-down menu to combine those terms. Example: line 1: "public law" NOT resolution (Operator drop-down: NOT), line 2: "act to amend" NOT resolution.

  • Truncation
    1. Use a ? (question mark) or * (asterick) to truncate a main word to allow for various endings. Example: forest? will retrieve forst, forestry, forests, etc..
    2. Use the same ? or * to search for terms that END in the same word. Example: *ologies will retrieve methodologies, pathologies, technologies, etc.
    3. Do not truncate close to the beginning or end of a common word - many terms that are unrelated will be retrieved. Examples:
      super? will retrieve super, superconductor, superintendent, superpower, supervisory, etc.
      *ment will retrieve ailment, department, supplement, etc.
    4. The question mark or asterick can also be used to retrieve terms including a variation in a single letter within a word. Example: wom?n will retrieve women and woman.


  1. To view a single record, click on the title of interest from the full results list.
  2. A bibliographic citation will appear displaying the title, publishing information, SuDoc number, any URL, etc.
  3. Mark an individual record or multiple records from the results list to put records of interest into a Bookshelf, or saved file. After viewing all the records, retrieve those of interest/marked for further review, printing, etc.
  4. Click on "Bookshelf" from the My Options section or "View Selected" from above the Results List to review all marked items.
  5. Click on the ADVANCED tab at the top to return to the search screen.

RESULTS LISTthe list of citations matching the latest search strategy
BOOKSHELFa place to store/select items to look at after browsing through the results list
PREVIOUS SEARCHESa history of all of the searches performed

ADD TO BOOKSHELFclick to add individual citations while browsing through the results list
VIEW SELECTEDclick to view the marked titles; similar to using the Bookshelf option
E-MAILclick to email the list of citations marked, up to 20 records at a time

PRINTINGPrinting can be done of the full entry from each individual record, or brief information from the full list of results.
  1. Use the PRINT button from the FILE drop-down menu.
  2. Select preferences of pages and layout.
  3. Click on OK to start the print job.
EMAILINGEmail a citation from an individual record or multiple records (up to 20 at a time) from the marked list (Bookshelf). Items cannot be emailed from the full record; records must be marked or added to the bookshelf to email.
DOWNLOADINGThere is no downloading option available.


Click on the HELP button at the very top of the page to access HELP.


Click on the home button on the main browser menu to exit the database.

llb 3/08/2011
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UWM Libraries Staff
page contact: Linda Brothen