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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

History 200C: Gender, Sexuality, and Law (U.S.)

Introduces history majors to basic research library concepts (you should master before History 498). Provides both a broad overview of the source types collected by research libraries, and also lists specific sources relevant to research for this course.

What is Government Information?

Government information and government information products are published, compiled, or created by the government.


  • When talking about government information, government includes federal, state, municipal governments, and foreign governments as well as intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations, World Health Organization, International Monetary Fund, etc. 


  • Government publications provide current and historical information on a wide range of subjects: art and architecture, business and economics, consumer protection, criminal justice, culture and folklife, education, energy and the environment, foreign and international relations, health and medicine, labor, laws and regulations, nutrition, and science and technology


  • Government information comes in various formats including more traditional formats such as books, periodicals, scientific and technical reports, legal resources, maps, posters, kits, and pamphlets, CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, DVDs, audio and video cassettes, and newer formats such as eBooks, online videos, social media posts, datasets, and other online collections

Searching for Federal Government Information

How to find Federal Laws


U.S. Statutes at Large

The United States Statutes at Large, typically referred to as the Statutes at Large, is the permanent collection of all laws and resolutions enacted during each session of Congress organized chronologically.

Print: Law Library, Reading Room first 3 rows to right OR Main Library, Main stacks, 5 West deck

United States Code

Print: Law Library, Reading Room first 3 rows to the right OR Main Library, Main stacks, 5 West deck

Print: Reading Room first 3 rows to the right

  • United States Code Annotated (U.S.C.A.) Thomson Reuters (TR) / West
  • United States Code Service (U.S.C.S.) (LexisNexis)

Congressional Hearings

A hearing is a meeting or session of a Senate, House, joint, or special committee of Congress used to obtain information and opinions on proposed legislation, an investigation, and more. Hearing publications contain data and testimonies from external experts, researchers, and organizations and can be a valuable resource for researching various issues and topics. 

Congressional Record

The Congressional Record contains transcripts of floor debates and proceedings in both chambers of Congress, including the text of some bills and voting information. There are two editions: daily and permanent (bound). The daily edition is issued in paperback pamphlets, which are eventually cumulated into bound volume and re-paginated. 

Debates for sessions prior than 1873 can be found under the following titles

  • Annals of the Congress of the United States: 1st-18th Congresses (1789-1824)
  • Register of Debates in Congress: 18th congress 1st session - 25th Congress 1st session (1824-1837)
  • Congressional Globe: 23rd through 42nd Congresses (1833-1873) 


Serial Sets

The Serial Set contains the House and Senate Documents and the House and Senate Reports. The reports are usually from congressional committees dealing with proposed legislation and issues under investigation. The documents include all other papers ordered printed by the House or Senate. Documents cover a wide variety of topics and may include reports of executive departments and independent organizations, reports of special investigations made for Congress, and annual reports of non-governmental organizations. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, executive-branch materials were also published in the Serial Set.

Congressional Research Services (CRS)

Nonpartisan public policy research institute of the United States Congress staffed by experienced researchers, economists, policy analysts and statisticians. Works primarily and directly for members of Congress and their committees to provide information.

Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

Nonpartisan agency that provides economic data to Congress. Information published by CBO often contains economic impacts of proposed or enacted legislation