Federal Depository Policies

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The Seattle University Law Library is a selective United States Federal Depository. Access to materials obtained under this program is governed by federal law and applicable regulations are issued through the Superintendent of Documents. Materials are selected by the professional librarians to meet the scope and purpose of the Library, and come in a variety of formats including books, periodicals, maps, and electronic products.

In addition to titles that cover general government, the items selected concern law, criminal justice, foreign affairs, and regulatory issues. See the Seattle University Law Library Selective United States Federal Depository Library Collection Development Policy for more information.


The majority of the collection is cataloged and records can be found by using the Law Library Catalog. You may link to the catalog from this Web page or use the terminals located on the second floor of the Library. House and Senate Reports, Hearings, Executive Documents, and other miscellaneous items form the nucleus of our congressional working papers collection. These materials are by-products of the federal law-making process and play a prominent role in understanding congressional intent. Most of these items are maintained in microformat. Use the CIS Index (Congressional Information Service) to locate them by Superintendent of Documents classification number. Selected government periodical publications are indexed in the Index to Legal Periodicals online. 

Electronic products are rapidly becoming a favored format for government publications. govinfo and the FDLP, both Web-based services, make a number of government publications available via computer. Four public stations located in the Reserve area allow patrons to connect to govinfo and FDLP.


Almost all of the materials received in paper form are integrated into the regular collections of the Library. Their exact locations are given in the bibliographic record found in our online catalog. Government documents in microformat are kept in Room 204. Request assistance at the Reference Desk with identifying relevant items. The staff at the Circulation/Reserve Desk will be glad to assist you with any directional questions you may have or with using the microformat reader-printers located in Room 204.


Government documents which are integrated into the Library's collections, are organized by Library of Congress classification number. Use the online catalog to locate these items. Microformat publications are primarily organized using the Superintendent of Documents classification system.

Circulation and Use Policies

All law library materials circulate in accordance with the policies outlined in the Law Library Policies, available at the Circulation Desk. Members of the general public are invited to use the library’s federal government documents collection free of charge. They are also welcome to borrow materials that circulate by contacting their local public or institutional library and requesting an interlibrary loan. A reference librarian can also suggest alternative methods for obtaining current government publications.


If you need assistance in locating United States government documents, consult one of the librarians at the Reference Desk during regularly scheduled hours or call 206.398.4225. For questions regarding the federal documents collection or to access policies, contact the Documents Coordinator at 206.398.4094.