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EPS 210: The Geology of North America through its National Parks: US Government Publications

Helpful resources to support your projects.

Government Documents

ProQuest Congressional is a collection of historical and current congressional information at the federal level. It includes a ton of information, like:

  • Hearings
  • Congressional Research Service reports
  • House and Senate Documents and Reports
  • Legislative Histories
  • Bills and Laws (with a bill tracker so you know where the bill died)
  • Miscellany
  • Vote reports
  • Maps
  • Congressional record
  • Executive branch
  • Presidential materials

Most notably, you can look up info related to your park. Here, we're looking for Wind Cave National Park. However, I don't know how older documents will refer to Wind Cave, so I've separated the components.

Search for "wind cave" AND national AND park in ProQuest Congressional

This takes me to a results set that includes quite a few documents! I can see that the boundaries were revised and that there are some annual reports available. I can also take a look at the lefthand side to see how many items (and what type) are in the system.

Public law establishing the park in 1903

Let's say I'm interested in the park's founding. I scrolled down to where I could see bills and laws, and I found this law establishing the park. It's an older document (January 9, 1903), and I can click Download PDF to read it.

Text from the law

Citing government documents can be tricky. I recommend having Zotero (and make sure you use both a personal and a email address in your account settings to get Yale's unlimited storage!) so you can put in the elements you need for the citation. Zotero has formats for statutes, reports, bills, and other types of documents.

Purdue's OWL has information about how to cite legal information here.

GovInfo is the current website of the US Government Publishing Office, a Federal legislative branch agency that secures, distributes, and preserves official US Government publications at the federal level. As a quick note, while we might think of websites as being "publications," they aren't necessarily publications under the GPO's guidelines. This often becomes an issue during presidential administration changes, as non-publication information on government websites can be harder to find. (Note: It's usually in the Internet Archive unless there is multimedia content that the Internet Archive's WayBack machine can't parse.)

Here's a search for Wind Cave National Park:

Publications about Wind Cave National Park

Thee best way to search Google for government documents is to use the site: operator.

Many things about national parks will be on the Department of the Interior's website. We can use this information to limit Google results to things that come from, the DOI's website.

We can do a search like: "wind cave" national park

and view the results

Search results for the above search

If we wanted to search more than one Government website, we could either do site:gov "wind cave" national park or add additional site parameters for the specific ones we're interested in, like USGS: OR "wind cave" national park

Search results for the modified search that added usgs results

A helpful resource for finding executive, legislative, and judicial publications ...