Explore the Government Document collections

Written by Diana Keith, Government Documents Librarian

Calvin T. Ryan Library is a federal depository library and a depository library for Nebraska state documents.

It was designated a federal depository in 1962 and much of the collection dates from this year forward.  Selected sets of older materials are also in the collection.  The library is one of two federal depositories in Nebraska’s Third Congressional District.  (Scottsbluff Public Library is the second depository.)  There are 12 other depository libraries in Nebraska, all of which are located in Lincoln or east of Lincoln.

The library receives federal documents in paper, microfiche, and CD/DVD formats.  The collection currently contains 204,800 paper/CD/DVD documents and 204,900 microfiche.

The U. S. Government Printing Office, which is in charge of the federal depository program, began moving to electronic formats several years ago.  It is now estimated that almost 90% of federal agency publications are available in electronic format.  As tangible formats are received and cataloged by the library, links are added to their catalog records.  Other electronic-only titles are also selected for addition to the library’s catalog.  Almost 20,000 links have been added to the catalog for federal documents.

The library became a depository for Nebraska state publications in 1978.  Documents were received in microfiche format until about three years ago when the program went electronic-only.  There is also a collection of Nebraska documents in paper format.  The collection contains over 11,000 paper and microfiche documents.  Records and links for electronic-only titles are being added to the catalog as they become available.  The catalog currently contains links for over 700 Nebraska documents.

Several specialized indexes for federal documents are available from the library’s “Databases & E-Resources” page.  They include the Government Documents Index (Marcive), Lexis/Nexis Government Periodical Index, Lexis/Nexis Congressional, and Lexis/Nexis Statistical.

Almost all government documents may be checked out of the library and many, as indicated above, are also available online to anyone, including the general public, through the library catalog.   To get started finding government documents, try searching the Enhanced Catalog by keywords related to your topic.  In the results screen, look for the “Location” limiters on the left-side to narrow your results by Government Documents (federal publications) or Nebraska Documents as shown below.


Locations list in Enhanced Catalog results
Location list in Enhanced Catalog results


Click on Government Documents and Nebraska Documents to limit your search results
Click on Government Documents and Nebraska Documents to limit your search results