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HathiTrust: HathiTrust & U.S. Federal Government Documents

We have Judi Briden of the University of Rochester to thank for some of the valuable information found in this guide

Basic Searches for U.S. Federal Government Documents in HathiTrust by Title

Searching by TITLE

  • In the search box on the home page type in a portion or the entire title
  • Recommend that you use quotations to help narrow the search

  • Be sure to select Collection next to the search box in order to find items in the digital collections

Example of searching by title in the home page search box

  • There are additional search options available on the basic search menu on the homepage to help narrow searches including things like title or author

Example of additional search options on the basic search  on the HathiTrust homepage

  • Be sure to select Full View in order to find the entire document

Example of a title search result in HathiTrust


Searching for a Congressional Hearing by SuDoc Number

Searching for a Congressional Hearing by SuDoc Number

Many early Congressional hearings that have not yet been digitized on FDsys or the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications can be found on HathiTrust.

  •  When typing in the SuDoc number of the hearing eliminate the Y from the number—see example below

Example of a search by SuDoc number

  • Some SuDoc numbers may be referred to in numerous documents, so you may have to scroll through the list to find the exact title.  In this example the appropriate document was listed first.

Example of result from SuDoc search


  • To narrow the search results you can choose the Advanced Search option circled  in the example above  

  • In Advanced Search you can type in words from the title and/or the  year during or after it was published to narrow the search results

  • By limiting the search it was narrowed down to one single document

Result of Advanced SuDoc search example in HathiTrust

Advanced Searches

The advantage to advanced full-text searches is that you can search information within of about an item.  You can search by:

  • All of these words
  • Any of these words
  • This exact phrase
  • Only full-text
  • Full-text + all fields
  • Title
  • Author
  • Subject
  • Publisher
  • Series title

The following is an example of a title search for a government document:



Searching within the U.S. Federal Documents Collection

By searching for documents in the U.S. Federal Documents collection you are limiting your search to only government documents.  You can access the U.S. Federal Documents collection from this guide or by going to the HathiTrust Digital Library, clicking on Collections and choosing Featured Collections.  Scroll down to find the U.S. Federal Documents Collection.

Image of Federal Document Collection search example in HathiTrust


  • In the Featured Collections search box type in Federal and hit Search to pull up the U.S. Federal Documents collection

To search within the collection, type in the topics you are searching for using AND/OR if you are searching for multiple subjects and be sure to click on full view only to be sure your results only include full documents.

Image of Federal Document Collection search example in HathiTrust

The results provided will only be government documents and you can further narrow your search by subject, author or date of publication for example by using the column to the left of the results. 

Image of Federal Document Collection search example in HathiTrust

Government Documents in the TCU Library Catalog With HathiTrust Links

Government Documents in our catalog that have links to HathiTrust

 Image of HathiTrust Link in our catalog

  • Click on the link under Location: (see example above) and you will be taken to the document in HathiTrust
  • There you have the ability to Download whole book (PDF) and/or add it to your personal collection to have permanent access.  Details on how to create a collection can be found in the Advanced Features tab of this LibGuide

Image of document in HathiTrust featuring how to download the document

Goals & Collections

HathiTrust logo

Through coordinated and collective action, HathiTrust expands and enhances digital access to U.S. federal publications including those issued by GPO and other federal agencies.


  • Comprehensive digital collection: Build a comprehensive HathiTrust digital collection of federal documents distributed in print format by the Government Publishing Office as part of the Federal Depository Library Program.
  • Enduring access: Ensure that the benefits of HathiTrust work in areas such as improved quality, shared print collection management, collection development, enhanced resource discovery, and broader access to scholarly materials are realized in the HathiTrust federal documents collection and services.
  • Community: In collaboration with stakeholders within HathiTrust and in the greater community, solve shared problems related to identifying, cataloging, digitizing, organizing, preserving, hosting, and providing access to U.S. federal documents.


HathiTrust has made an effort to put together collections as a way to group items for public or private use. The full-text of items within a collection can be searched independently of the full library helping you to focus your searches to include only certain types of items like government documents.  The following are collections created by HathiTrust of federal documents:

User's Guide to HathiTrust

HathiTrust has created a detailed User's Guide that is very helpful when learning to use this valuable database. 

Below you will find several examples of basic ways to search for U.S. Federal Government Documents.

History & Presentations




Others resources of interest

Chronicle of Higher Education

Texas Digital Library

University of Toronto