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INTL 4440H: Intelligence and National Security (Johnson): Government Documents

Finding Government Documents in Print

Older government documents (including reports and hearings) were published in print.  The citation for the documents is normally located in ProQuest Congressional.  To find the full text, you'll have to search the Libraries' catalog with the item's SuDoc number.  You can search by the title or search by the SuDoc number using the drop down menu next to the search box.

Most of the documents at the UGA Libraries is located in the Map and Government Documents library.  This part of the Main Library is not accessible all hours, so please plan to visit during operating hours.

Homeland Security Digital Library

Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL) provides access to important U.S. policy documents, presidential directives, and national strategy documents as well as specialized sources such as theses and reports from universities, organizations, and local and state agencies. Also includes journal articles. 

This is a curated collection of Homeland Security documents, so it doesn't have everything, but it does a decent job of putting together information from disparate sources into one place.

One benefit of this database is that it allows email alerts, which would be useful for long term research interests.

Digital National Security Archive

  • The Digital National Security Archive contains over 58,000 declassified documents central to U.S. foreign and military policy since 1945. DNSA is comprised of a series of collections, each focused on a single topic. Each collection contains a diverse range of policy documents including presidential directives, memos, diplomatic dispatches, meeting notes, independent reports, briefing papers, White House communications, email, confidential letters and other secret material.

I highly recommend looking at their collections, including:

Municipal Codes

Federal Regulations

ProQuest Regulatory Insight - Search Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, and Regulatory Histories.

Federal Legislation

Legislative Insight (ProQuest):  ProQuest Legislative Insight is a Federal legislative history service that makes available thoroughly researched compilations of digital full text publications created by Congress during the process leading up to the enactment of U.S. Public Laws.

Information is organized based on specific public laws and bills, so it is most useful when used to find all the documents related to one bill or public law.

ProQuest Congressional:  Coverage of U.S. Congress; hearings, prints, reports, bills, Congressional Record, CRS Reports, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulation. 

Information is organized by source and subject, so it is most useful when used to find hearings, reports, and executive orders on a particular subject.

Click on the "Advanced Search" to search for specific types of documents.  To help put together a good search, use the "Find Terms" link to find the subject headings for all the documents.

Background Information

CRS Reports are documents written by the Congressional Research Service on a variety of policy topics.  The Congressional Research Service (CRS) does not provide direct public access to its reports, requiring citizens to request them from their Members of Congress. Some Members, as well as several non-profit groups, have posted the reports on their web sites.  Different archival sources of CRS reports have popped up on the internet.

ProQuest Congressional indexes CRS reports, and several databases archive available documents.  Once you locate the title of a report, often a simple Google search will locate the full text.  

CRS Report Archives (free on the web):

Library of Congress:  archive of all new CRS reports.  

UNT CRS Report Archive:  digital CRS archive from the University of North Texas.

GAO Reports

The GAO is an independent organization within the US government.  GAO provides Congress, the heads of executive agencies, and the public with fact-based information about government spending in the form of reports and testimonies.  To access GAO information, you can search their database.

You can also browse key issues, and reports/testimonies by date and by agency.

Expert Witnesses

When looking for expert witnesses to put into your briefing book, there are two good places to look.  

1) Congressional Hearings.  If someone is invited to testify before Congress about your topic, then that person is considered an expert.  You can search Congressional Hearings here in ProQuest Congressional.  Hearings are also a good source of background information about US Policy.

2) Scholarly Articles.  The academics who do research and write it up for publishing in scholarly journals are experts in their fields.  A quick Google search for their CV/Resume will help you fill out any biographical information for your briefing book.  Some good places to look for scholarly articles:

Make sure you check the Scholarly / Peer Reviewed Box to only get back research articles.

Something to remember:  Often hearings regarding intelligence matters are closed sessions due to the nature of the material presented.  In ProQuest Congressional if you see a title in brackets "[ ]" then that denotes no transcript is available to the public.  Sometimes there is no transcript because one has not been made available, or sometimes recent hearings do not have transcripts immediately available.  If you use the right hand menu, you can limit to only published hearings.

Executive Orders

The American Presidency Project has full text of Executive Orders given by Presidents.  There is a search box at the bottom of the home screen, or you can browse their list by year.

If you want to search the Federal Registrar, which records, among other things, executive orders, press releases, and other executive branch statements, we have a new database called ProQuest Regulatory Insight, which has regulatory histories as well.

Then choose Federal Register from drop down list.  The default for searching is the previous year, so remember to change the date range if you need to.  You can also limit to press releases, agency, and other information.

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Elizabeth White
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