Government Documents and Information


The collection’s primary function is to support research and teaching across all disciplines at Yale University.

United States Federal Government

Yale Library was designated a U.S. federal depository library in September 1859 and became a selective depository when the program was reorganized by public law in 1962. The collection includes materials from 1789 to the present.

Collection strengths: congressional and executive branch documents, economics, international relations and diplomacy, labor, history, public policy and social issues, and statistical publications.

Canadian Federal Government

Yale Library was designated a Canadian federal selective depository in 1961; however, the library collected Canadian government publications prior to that date. Until the Government of Canada transitioned to electronic-only publishing in 2012-2013, the library selected a subset of the materials disseminated through the depository program.

Collection strengths: parliamentary debates and reports, royal commission reports, serials, statistical publications, and executive agency annual reports.

United Nations

Yale Library was designated a full depository in June 1947. The library is a “regular deposit” library, meaning that it selects a subset of the materials disseminated through the UN depository program. The UN depository collection is supplemented by purchasing selected sales publications not disseminated to depository libraries.

Documents and publications from the United Nations specialized agencies are not included in the UN depository program.

Collection strengths: Official Records of the main organs of the UN, most sales publications, the United Nations Treaty Series, subscription periodicals, and statistical publications.

European Union

Yale was designated a European Union (Communities) documentation center in the mid-1970s and receives all publications disseminated to depository libraries.

Collection strengths: statistical publications, the Official Journal, and serials and monographs on social, economic, and environmental topics.

Food and Agriculture Organization

Yale Library was designated a Food and Agriculture Organization depository in 1965, and holds depository materials as well as a microfiche set of FAO working papers and documents from 1978 to 1998.

Departments/disciplines/programs/subject areas supported

  • Economics
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies
  • Jackson School for Global Affairs
  • Law School
  • School of Management
  • School of the Environment
  • School of Nursing
  • School of Medicine

By law governing the U.S. Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), the U.S. federal depository materials selected by Yale Library must also support the information needs of the residents of Connecticut’s Third Congressional District. By law or by depository agreement, all materials received through the depository programs must be made available at no cost to the public as well as to Yale affiliates.


The library has an established selection profile with the U.S. Federal Depository Library Program that is reviewed and adjusted as necessary. The library receives United Nations, European Union, and Food and Agriculture Organization materials when those organizations elect to make these materials available to depositories in a tangible format. Selection procedures vary among the depository collections. 

Formats collected

Yale Library has extensive depository and non-depository government documents microform holdings; however microform is no longer a preferred format, with the exception of sets of documents from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration and other relevant primary source collections.     

Depository materials are selected in all available formats, including paper, microfiche, maps, CD-ROMs/DVD-ROMs, and online. The amount of tangible material disseminated through all the depository programs decreases each year as more government and IGO publishing moves to online formats.

The library also collects non-depository materials that complement the depository collections, including commercially-produced sets of government publications or records (such as digitized U.S. congressional publications or declassified documents), numeric data in a variety of formats, and reference materials focused on finding or using government documents.

Material not collected under this policy statement

  • Publications from other national governments are acquired by the selectors for those countries.
  • Marx Science and Social Science Library collects publications from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and International Labour Office. 
  • Yale libraries also collect publications from the World Health Organization, the International Court of Justice, the World Trade Organization, UNESCO, and United Nations Children’s Fund.

Languages collected

Materials collected are primarily in English and Western European languages. When depository documents are available in multiple languages,English is the preference.

Chronological and geographical focus

Materials received from depository programs are typically current, although some documents and series are historical in nature (e.g., Foreign Relations of the United States). Non-depository materials that support the depository collections can be either contemporary or historical (18th century-present).

No geographic areas are excluded.

Collaborations within Yale

The Law Library is also a selective depository for U.S. federal government information and a frequent collaborator on collections issues. Additionally, Law has strong collections that support EU and UN research.

The Economic Growth Center collection includes statistical data, including national censuses, from developing and developed countries around the world.