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Government Document Top Resources

This is an overview of resources in the OU Government Documents Collection.


Established in 1893, the University of Oklahoma’s Government Documents Collection is the oldest - and for over 100 years - the largest federal depository in the state.

The collection spans from the early nineteenth century to the most current federally produced documents.

Up until May 2016, the Documents Collection contained 2.9 million items and was a 90% depository. The Collection had a service point with two reference rooms on the 4th floor of Bizzell Library, and extensive closed stacks. The stacks includied 5 miles of book shelving, which was enough to reach from the Library out to the Canadian River.

In June 2016, Government Documents deselected all current incoming tangible titles (i.e. paper and microfiche and electronic) and began a process of deselecting historical paper/microfiche items. In December 2016, the Government Documents service point closed, after 58 years in existence. 

As of 2018, the OU Government Documents Collection is a 64% depository that selects only online items, and currently holds 1.8 million historical paper/microfiche items.  

The Collection is also a depository for several international organizations and Oklahoma documents.

OU Libraries Catalog

The OU Libraries Catalog is used to access the holdings of our library system, including special collections and areas like Government Documents.

Government Documents has the records for holdings from 1976-present available in the catalog.

The Government Documents will appear in the Catalog along with the other types of materials when a search is executed.

About Access to Government Documents:

At it's founding in 1893, the Government Documents were merged into the Main Library, shelved with the other Dewey books. In 1958, Government Documents got it sown seperate collection. From 1958-2016, the Government Documents Collection was located on the east side of the 4th floor of Bizzell Library, with reference rooms and closed stacks where all of the documents were shelved. In December 2016, the Government Documents service point closed and in 2017-2018, the government document materials were moved out to the OU Libraries Library Service Center (LSC) Storage on Highway 9.

To view any of the physical document resources, you now must have the items paged via Sooner Xpress request, found here: .

About U.S. Federal Government Internet Information on the internet:

Much of the current USA Federal, State of Oklahoma, and international documents are available online. Presently nearly 98% of current Federally produced government information is being published directly to the Internet, with no paper counterparts. Consult the Government Documents web site for links to all levels of government information:

Statistical Resources

The Federal Government, as well as being the historically largest publisher in the world, has also been the largest compiler of statistics in the world. Numerous indexes are provided in Government Documents to allow access to this valuable material. The following indexes are helpful in supplementing a paper with useful statistical data.

Statistical Abstract: Published by the Commerce Department, this yearly volume presents a broad range of some of the most pertinent federally and non-federally produced statistics. Documents has this source from 1878-2017, available in the LSC Storage. These are also available online:

Statistical  Insight: this internet database indexes statistical data on the state (1980-present), USA national (1974-present), and international (1983-present) level. The database operates as an index, so most items will have to be retrieved from the Government Documents Collection. Some full text items are included in the database, but they are mainly USA federal items. Statistical Insight replicates American Statistics Index (ASI), Statistical Reference Index (SRI), and Index to International Statistics (IIS). Government Documents also has paper copies of the ASI, SRI, and IIS indexes. You must be an OU Faculty, staff, or student to access this database.

Census Materials

The United States Census (including Population, Housing, Social and Economic) is produced every ten years, and has been produced in the U.S. since 1790. The most currently available data from Census 2010, as well as parts of Census 1980, Census 1990, and Census 2000, are available on the internet. This information is accessible from the Census Department’s web page at:

Government Documents has paper copies of the 1790-2000 Censuses, including CD-ROMs for the 1980 and 1990 Census information. This information includes the Census of Housing, Census of Population and Housing, and the Census of Population, Economic and Housing. The Economic Censuses (including volumes on Agriculture, Retail Trade, Wholesale Trade, Manufacturing, Transportation, Service Industries and Mineral Industries) are produced every five years. The current versions of these items are also available on the internet from the Census web page, and the historical items are in paper, all out at the LSC Storage.

Some of the most useful Census information is the current reports on poverty, income, population profiles, the elderly, and educational attainment. All of this material is statistical in nature and can be very helpful in fact finding and identifying trends.

Government Documents does not own the Manuscript Census, or “name census,” used in Genealogical Research. This resource is available at the Oklahoma Historical Society, located in the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City (phone number: 405-521-6249).                                     

State of Oklahoma Documents

The Government Documents Collection has been a depository for Oklahoma documents since 1976 (when the Oklahoma state depository system officially began) till April 2018. These items have been catalogued and can be searched on the OU Online Catalog, and can be paged from the LSC via Sooner Xpress.