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Government Publication Citing Tutorial

Citing source material refers to giving credit to the author or authors of any non-original words, images, ideas, or intellectual property. Citing source material lends credibility, shows the validity of the cited information, and allows readers to access the original research or data. A proper citation includes enough information that a reader can find the original source, including but not limited to: the title, author, publication date, and page number. Different styles of citations are used in different disciplines. MLA (Modern Language Association) style is used in the humanities and language arts, APA (American Psychological Association) style is used in the social and behavioral sciences, AMA (American Medical Association) style is used in medicine and the biological sciences, Turabian style is designed for use by college students in all disciplines, and Chicago Manual of Style citations are used in history and in non-academic settings.

Basic Citation Form

  • Author (Agency). Title, edition, statement. Place of publication: Publisher, Date. (Series elements). (Notes-- include Superintendent of Documents number in Notes, if using).
  • Basic Citation: Basic citation information for government documents and other materials.

Basic Citation Form for Online Sources

  • Includes information retrieved from online databases or the Internet.
  • Citation must include: author, title and edition, type of medium, date, and availability of directories and files. Use same information as for printed government works and conclude with information about the online source, such as URL and date accessed.
  • Author. Title (edition), TYPE OF MEDIUM. Date of publication. Supplier. Available: Uniform Resource Locator. [Access date].
  • Citation of electronic sources: Includes examples of how to cite government publications found online.

Basic Citation Form for Tangible Sources

  • Includes full-text documents or data from a CD-ROM or diskette.
  • Citation must include: issuing agency, title, statements of responsibility for production, medium designation; edition statement; place of publication, producer, and date.
  • Author or Agency. Title . Type of Medium. Publisher, Date. 
  • If citing part of a larger work, underline the title if the cited section is book-length or longer. If the cited part is shorter, use quotation marks.
  • Basic Citations: Links to examples of how to cite information obtained from tangible and electronic sources.

Congress as Author

  • United States. Chamber. Committee Name. Title of Hearing. # Congress, 1st /2nd session. Washington: GPO, Year of Publication.
  • How to Cite Congressional Hearings: Links to examples of how to cite Congressional Hearings, U.S. Code, and Congressional Bills.

Committee prints

  • United States. Cong. Senate/House. Committee Name. Title . By Author. #th Cong., 1st /2nd sess. Committee Print Number. Washington: GPO, Year.
  • How to Cite Committee Prints: Examples of how to cite committee prints and other congressional documents.


  • United States. Chamber. Committee Name. Title of Report . #th Cong., 1st /2nd sess. Document Number (SuDocs). Washington: GPO, Year of Publication.
  • How to Cite Congressional Reports: Examples of how to cite congressional committee reports and other congressional documents.

Electronic Information

Frequently Cited and Legal Publications

Statutes at Large

  • Name of the act, public law number (volume number-page number), date enacted, and the Statutes at Large cataloging number. Public Law Abbreviation--Pub. L. Statutes at Large Abbreviation --Stat.
  • How to Cite Statutes at Large: Examples of how to cite Public Law Statutes.

U.S. Reports

  • Case Name, U.S. Reports Volume pp. #-#.

Federal Register

  • “Title.” Federal Register Volume: Number (Day Month Year) p. #.

Code of Federal Regulations

  • United States. Dept. of The Interior. United States Fish and Wildlife Service. "Golden eagle depredations control order on request of Governor of a State." 50 CFR 22.31. 2008.

Census of Population and Housing

  • U.S. Census of Population and Housing, Date: Summary Population and Housing Characteristics: State. Washington, GPO, Date.

Statistical Abstract of the U.S.

  • Statistical Abstract of the United States Date. Edition. Washington: Government Printing Office, Date.
  • How to Cite Statistical Abstracts: Examples of how to cite information from the Statistical Abstract of the United States and other government documents.

Individual Titles Within Searchable Databases

Federal Register

  • "Title." Volume Federal Register (Date). ONLINE. Available: URL [Date Accessed].
  • How to Cite Information from the Federal Register: Links to examples of how to cite the Federal Register, Congressional Hearings, U.S. Supreme Court Decisions, the Code of Federal Regulations, and Public Law.

Congressional Record

  • Abbreviated as “Cong. Rec.”
  • Author. [State Abbreviation]. "Title." Congressional Record ONLINE Date. Thomas. Available: URL [Date Accessed]

Congressional Bills

  • U.S. Chamber. #th Congress, 1st / 2nd Session. Bill Number, Bill Title. ONLINE. GPO Access. Available: URL [Date Accessed].

GAO Reports

  • U.S. General Accounting Office. Title. ONLINE. GPO Access. Date. Available: URL [Date Accessed].

US Code

  • Title (Date). Title Number U.S. Code, Ch. Number ONLINE. GPO Access. Available: URL [Date Accessed].


  • Patented Item Name by Patent Holder Name. (Year, Month Day). Patent Number [Online]. Available: NEXIS Library: PATENT File: Name

Issuing Agency As Author

Single issuing agency

  • Agency Name. Title. Washington: Government Printing Office, Date of Publication.

Different bureaucratic levels

  • Use the “parent” or “umbrella” agency and the lowest level given as the author.
  • Parent Agency Name. Lower Level Agency Name. Title. Washington: Government Printing Office, Year.

Well-known agency

  • If a lower level of a parent agency is well-known on its own you may eliminate the “parent” agency name as part of the author and use only the lower level agency.
  • Agency Name. Title. Washington: Government Printing Office, Year.


  • Author. "Title" [format]. Edition. Scale. Place of publication: Publisher, Date.

Microform Collections

American Statistics Index

  • Agency Name. Title. Washington: The Department, Date. (Date ASI microfiche Reel Number-Frame Number).

Statistical Reference Index

  • State name. Department/Agency Name. Title Number. Place of Publication: Publisher, Date. (Date SRI Microfiche Reel Number-Frame Number).

Major Studies and Issue Briefs of the Congressional Research Service Index

  • U.S. Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service. Title by Author. Washington: The Service, Date. (Date CRSI Reel Number, Frame Number).

State Data Center Publications

  • State name. State Data Center. Title (Date Census of Population and Housing: Summary Tape File Number). Place of Publication, Date.
  • How to Cite State Data Center Publications: Links to examples of how to cite State Data Center Publications and microform collections.

("Legal information found on this page does not constitute legal advice.")

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