About U.S. Government Documents in the Columbia University Libraries

Location of Federal Documents


"This library is a congressionally designated depository for U.S. Government documents. Public access to the government documents collection is guaranteed by public law. (Title 44 United States Code)"

Columbia University has been a depository for Federal documents since 1882. There is no separate U.S. Government Documents collection in the Columbia University Libraries. CLIO has records for most U.S. government depository titles, indicating the location in one of the campus libraries, according to subject. Some materials (primarily pre-1976 Congressional documents) still can only be identified and located through the card catalogs in the Butler Library Reference Department.

Most print documents published since 1976 are now located in the Offsite storage facility. The CLIO records will indicate this location and provide a means for recalling the items from off-site on request.

Online Federal Documents

Federal depository publications are increasingly being issued in electronic formats on the internet. CLIO has records for many of these documents, with links to the online publication. Many other online Federal publications can be located by conducting a search on USA.gov

New York State Documents

Lehman Library is also a microfiche depository for New York State documents, 1983-1994. This depository microfiche collection is not represented in CLIO, but must be searched with specialized tools in Lehman Library. Print versions of some New York State documents are also located in several libraries, and can be located via a search of CLIO and the card catalogs. After 1996, New York State documents have been scanned and are available on the web, from the New York State Library Catalog, Excelsior.

Use of Depository Materials by Non-Columbia Affiliates

Columbia University Libraries welcomes the use of its collections of U.S. Federal government and New York State documents by members of the general public. We do ask that you first register with the University through the Library Information Office. Staff in the Library Information Office can then direct you to the appropriate library location for print documents.

Please note that online government documents can be accessed from any location, not just in a depository library. Non-Columbia affiliates can use CLIO, the online catalog, to find records for online documents and access them from home or another location.

Members of the general public who obtain access specifically to use depository documents may use only depository materials. Other materials in the Columbia University Libraries which are purchased for the collections are for the use of Columbia University affiliates only, unless non-affiliates choose to purchase extended Reading Privileges ($55 per month) or Borrowing Privileges ($100 per month). For details of the conditions attached to these privileges, and other information of interest to visiting readers, please visit the Library Information Office website on access policies.