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Government Documents : Access Policies

The Lewis J Ort library is a selective Federal Depository Library and also collects 100% of Maryland state documents.

Electronic Access and Internet Use Policies

The library encourages electronic access of government documents. Catalog USMAI listings link to documents via the Internet, and many documents are available via the Federal Digital System (FDsys).

Visitors from outside of the FSU community may obtain access to our public computers by signing up for a community borrower's card, and then requesting a temporary login.  Please note that a valid ID card and proof of permanent address are required to obtain a community borrower's card.

The acceptable use of all public computers in the Lewis J. Ort Library, including those used for accessing depository information, is governed by the Library's Computer Use Policy statement.


Faculty members are encouraged to schedule instruction sessions on locating and using the Government Documents collection for their classes by contacting the Library Instruction Coordinator. Occasional documents workshops are also conducted and are available to FSU students, faculty, staff, and public. Assistance with individual research is available at the Reference Desk, floor two.

Locating Documents

Federal documents received by the library since August 1995 may be found using catalogUSMAI.

Government publications received prior to August 1995 are located with print index.  See links to catalog records below.

The Monthly Catalog from 1976 to the present can be through GPO's Catalog of Government Publications (link below) and from 1954-96 in print on floor five of the library.

The other indexes listed below are in print and are located on floor two & five of the library.

Most print and all microform documents are located on floor two, arranged by Superintendent of Documents classification number.

Other print documents are shelved in the reference collection (floor two), periodicals (floor two), or stacks (floors four & five).

Stand-alone CD-ROMs and DVDs are accessed using a Government Documents computer on floor two.

Computers for public access are available on floors two and three.

Obtaining Documents from other Depositories

FSU students, faculty, and staff may request documents that are not available in the library in one of two ways.

  1. If a document is available at another University System of Maryland (USM) campus library and appears on catalogUSMAI, it may be ordered using the "request" button. A valid FSU identification card is required.
  2. Patrons may also check out documents by visiting another depository.

If a document is not available from another USM depository, the document may be ordered using the online Interlibrary Loan request form. This service is only available to FSU students, faculty, and staff. Exceptions are made at the discretion of the Library Director.

Circulation of Documents

Many print documents, maps, and some CD-ROMs circulate to FSU students, faculty, and staff as well as registered community borrowers. These documents circulate for 28 days and may be renewed. Microform does not circulate. Information and registration for community borrowing is available at the Library Circulation Desk (301-687-4395).

Referral/Neighboring Depositories

Library patrons may wish to visit another depository to obtain Federal documents. The library cooperates with the Depository at Allegany College of Maryland in nearby Cumberland, MD. Three Regional Depositories are also located within a three hour drive of the FSU campus: University of Maryland at College Park, MD; West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV; and the State Library of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA.