Government Information: Readily Accessible yet Also Grey Literature

Tom Rohrig, Laura Sare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Government information is a unique subset of grey literature. Often governments are the only source of information because they are the only entities that collect or create specific information, such as census data. Government information is usually categorized by level of government (local, state, federal, international), as well as by agency, and is often in the form of serials, such as annual reports. For the larger jurisdictions, there are often repositories or depository programs that index publications, but local government information often must be actively acquired. Currently, government information is published online. Some agencies are conscientious of their historical information and digitize and post older materials, but other agencies focus on access to current, born-digital information, and may not be archiving older material. There are several library community initiatives to combat grey government information. A couple of examples are the Federal Depository Library Program’s Lost Docs Reporting mechanism, and the End of Term Archive that collects federal websites at the change of each presidential term. These are at the federal level, and more needs to be done to index and preserve state, and especially local, government information. This is because issues such as copyright affect the accessibility and preservation of non-federal government information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-244
Number of pages11
JournalSerials Librarian
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2020


  • Grey literature
  • copyright
  • government information


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