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Historical Government Documents

STEP 1: Determine a Subject Heading

Either open the link below or go to the ready reference section to retrieve this series:

If using the print edition, browse the series for your subject term(s).  Note the following:

1. If a term is followed by USE, you should choose the word(s) after the USE label as your search term(s).
2. If BT precedes a term, you could use this broader search terms if your intitial search does not return enough results
3. If NT precedes a term, you could use this narrower search term to conduct more precise searching
4. If RT precedes a term, you could use this related search term in conjunction with the other search terms provided (if appropriate)
5. If UF precedes a term, you should not use this term for searching, but rather the term under which the UF term appears.
6. If SA precedes a term, you should look up this term to see if it would be useful in your searching
7. (May Subd Geog): means that the term can be following by a place name to search term in relation to that geography.

For our example, we can look up Brown v. Board of Education and find USE Brown, Oliver 1918- and Topeka (Kan.). Board of Education with subdivision Trials, litigation, etc.

If you use the electronic version, conduct a search for your term and select the appropriate search term(s).  In our example, we can search for Brown v. Board of Education and then click the appropriate link:

Then you can determine the appropriate search terms to use in the next step (similar to the print edition).  In our example, a red editorial note states "Reference record only; not a valid heading." and then provides the same set of terms we found using the print edition.  This acts just like the USE FOR term we saw in the print edition.

STEP 2: Search the Catalog of Government Publications

While we have the option to conduct a keyword search of the Catalog of Government Publications, a more precise way of searching is to use the Library of Congress Subject Headings that we found in the previous example. 

First, change the first column of dropdown menus to LC Subjects Keyword(s) and type in the subject term that you found.  It is recommended that you put phrases in quotation marks. NOTE: If you have a hyphenated subject heading (ex. Historical Sites--Kansas) you should put the term(s) before the hyphen in one box and the term(s) after the hyphen in the next box.

Your result will be displayed including a SuDoc Number and possibly a link to an electronic version of the publication.  

STEP 3: Location or Request the Publication

If the publication you find is not available electronically in the Catalog of Government Publications, you should check the 

Or you should consider requesting the resource using