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About the Government Documents Collection

Bowdoin College Library has been a congressionally designated U.S. Government Document Depository Library since 1884. The Library is also an official depository for Maine State documents. The public, as well as the Bowdoin community, is guaranteed access to federal and state documents in all formats.

The Government Documents Collection is located on the lower level of Hawthorne-Longfellow Library and is available during all hours that the Library is open. Strengths of the U.S. Collection include publications of Congress, the Presidency, military history, the U.S. Geological Survey (including topographic maps housed in Hatch Science Library), the EPA , and the Census Bureau, along with substantial statistical data. The Maine collection includes Public Documents of the State of Maine, official documents from the governor, state agencies, the legislature, and the courts; many documents back date to the 1830s.

Although not a depository for United Nations publications, Bowdoin Library collected official records of the General Assembly, Security Council, and Social and Economic Council from the UN's establishment in 1947 through the late 1980s. Later official records and reports are accessed through the UN web site.

Since January 2011 the Library has added government publications primarily in digital format, while retaining older print documents for historical research. Digital (and print) documents can be identified and located through Compass, research guides (especially U.S. Government, International Relations, and Maine History), and MaineCat. HathiTrust, Internet Archive, and Google Books provide full-text of many historical and current government publications. (None of these databases is comprehensive, and dates vary.) The Library maintains guest computers (not requiring a Bowdoin login) on the first floor of the Hawthorne-Longfellow Library for public access to all Bowdoin material, including government documents.

Members of the public and of the Bowdoin community are encouraged to consult the Associate Librarian for Collections with any questions about the Government Documents Collection. Government Document questions are also answered by our research librarians.