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Government Information: Help & Citing

Library resources related to Government Information -- with an emphasis on Canadian government documents.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Searching for Government Information

  • Which government department would deal with a question or problem like this? [Identify the likely department first and then use the "Search" function on the department's home page to locate specific topics of interest OR the Government of Canada Publications Catalogue.]
  • Is this an "official" government website? [There is no fool-proof way to know how "official" a website is but Canadian federal government departments do often have a standardized domain name such as "" or "" in their Internet address - you can try limiting your topic/subject based web searches to these domains in order to retrieve only government websites.]
  • Would government sources be a good place to find statistics? [Whenever you locate useful statistics, check the citation at the bottom of the table to identify the source in order to extend your research further.]
  • What can I do to locate specific documents when I have found "incomplete" citations? [Be prepared for many ambiguous citations when dealing with governmental information. Sometimes the best approach is to search a related index/database by keyword for the bits of information that you do have (e.g., "Chapter A-2" or "Bulletin 1425-19") which can often lead you either directly to the specific document in question or something that will at least make a reference to the full title of the document. Often "Statistics Canada" will be the only citation given and then the challenge is to search for something like: "Statistics Canada" and "_ _" (with " _ _ " being the topic of interest) in order to locate the specific source of your information.]

General Search Strategies

  • If you have the title, name of the author, or government publication call number (not publication number), then search the Library Catalogue by: Keyword, Title , Author or Call Number.
  • If you have a subject or topic in mind, then search the Library Catalogue by using Advanced Keyword with the Location information limited to “UofL Government Docs".
  • Consult the specific websites listed in this guide to link directly to documents and/or search the recommended Indexes/Databases for information related to your topic.
  • Consult the WWW and use a search engine to search for the document title – many recent government publications (summaries or full-text) are freely available.

Citing Government Information