The Fred Parks Law Library - Government Documents

The Fred Parks Law Library joined the Federal Depository Library Program in 1981. Since then, the collection has grown considerably, adapting to changes in technology and the research needs of library users.

As a selective depository, The Fred Parks Law Library acquires approximately 14% of all items offered through the depository program. Developed to serve primarily law students, faculty, and staff, the collection emphasizes law and related disciplines, including political science, criminal justice, and international relations.

Government Documents Access Policy

The Government Documents Department is open to all members of the Houston College of Law community and to all approved library visitors as stipulated in the Library Access Policy.

Members of the general public may also use the government documents collection, by appointment, in conformance with Title 44, U.S. Code, Chapter 19. Attempts will be made to accommodate walk-in requests; however, to ensure access, please make prior arrangements as per the Library Access Policy.. Specific citations to government sources must be provided, and access will be limited to those sources only.

A reference librarian is available by phone at 713.646.1712 or by email to answer questions pertaining to government documents research. Government information is also available on the Web via FDsys and MetaLib, as well as The Fred Parks Law Library Legal Research Guides.

Documents in Paper Format

Part of the government documents collection exists in paper format and is shelved on the first floor of the Library.  These items are in compact, or movable, shelving and are arranged by the U.S. Government Printing Office’s Superintendent of Documents(SuDoc) call number.  For an explanation of the SuDoc classification system, please visit: SuDoc.

Some heavily used paper government documents are cataloged with a Library of Congress call number (not a SuDoc number) and are housed in the library's main collection. 

Major sets in paper in the main collection include:

  • U. S. Statutes at Large, vol. 1 (1789)-
  • United States Code, 1946 edition-
  • U. S. Reports, vol. 1 (Dallas vol. 1, 1790)-

Documents in Microformats

Many more of our government documents exist in microfiche or microfilm, and can be viewed in the microforms area on the Library's first floor.

Documents in Electronic Format

Many government publications now appear in electronic format through the Internet using computer terminals available in the Library.

Purchased Documents in Microformats

The Library’s federal depository collection has been augmented by the purchase of major microfiche and microfilm collections from various publishers. Indexes to many of these collections are available in print on the first floor of the Library or electronically by using the subscription database Proquest Congressional .

Major purchased sets in microfiche and microfilm found on the first floor of the Library include:

  • Congressional Serial Set, 1789-1969
  • Congressional Microfiche Library, 1970-Present
  • Congressional Committee Hearings, 1953-1969
  • Oral Arguments of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1969-Present
  • U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs, 1974-Present 
  • U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Records and Briefs, 1891-1959, with minor exceptions

Finding Government Documents

To locate a government document in The Fred Parks Law Library, search STELLA, the Library's online catalog, by subject, title, author, keyword, or call number.

A map of the Library may assist in locating government documents.  Maps are available on the second floor of the Library or on our website: Maps.

The reference librarian on the second floor of the Library also may assist patrons in locating government documents.  The reference librarian may be contacted using one of the courtesy telephones on each floor by dialing x1712.

Internet Resources for Government Documents

A host of federal government information is now available electronically.  Some of the major information sources are:

GPO Federal Digital System (Free website of the U.S. Government Printing Office, the publisher of most federal government documents.) (Free official U.S. Government web portal.)

Thomas (Free legislative information site provided by the Library of Congress.) (United States Legislative Information from the 107th Congress [2001] to the present.)

MetaLib (Search across multiple U.S. Federal government databases, articles, and citations at the same time)

American Memory-A Century of Lawmaking for A New Nation (Free collection of historic Congressional documents by the Library of Congress).

Proquest Congressional (Subscription service database of U.S. legislative information from Proquest.  This database is paid for by The Fred Parks Law Library.)

Please see LibGuide – Legal Research Links: Federal for more federal government resources on the web.



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