What is Government Information?

What is Government Information?

Government information and government information products are published, compiled, or created by the government, at government expense or as required by law. This applies to all government publications, regardless of format (American Library Association ALA).

What Subjects are Covered in Government Information?

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 publications include primary and secondary research and information sources.

What types of Materials, Formats, and Media are Published by the Government and Found in Depository Libraries?

  • Print or Tangible Collections
    Books, periodicals, scientific and technical reports, legal resources, maps, posters, kits, and pamphlets
  • Media
    CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, DVDs, audio and video cassettes
  • Digital resources
    More and more print and media format items are now being available in electronic format. Born digital resources include eBooks, online videos, social media posts, datasets, and other online collections

How can you use Government Information?

  • Everyday Activities
    Information provided by the government can assist us in our everyday activities such as health and weather information
  • Research
    Government information comes in many formats and covers almost every topic and discipline including census data to technical reports to Supreme Court decisions.
  • Civic Interest
    Government information also includes information of Government activities and can encourage knowledge and discussion of public issues and interest.

What is a Government Information Depository?

The principle of the public’s “Right to Know” is the cornerstone of government accountability and informed public participation. Libraries designated as depositories agree to provide free and equal public access to government publications following this principle. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library is currently a Federal, State of Illinois, United Nations, Canadian and United Kingdom Government Depository. For more information about accessing our collection, please go to the Collections & Resources page.