03 November 2005

A Student's Evaluation of Government Information at the University of Arizona Library

by Diana Daleo

Government information is plentiful. You can find a lot of it on your own just by using Google if you know what you’re looking for. When you don’t is when there’s a problem. So a government document seeker needs to be able to locate government information when a reference librarian is not around.

The University of Arizona Library’s revised interface allows for easy access to a multitude of resources, both online and within the library, supplies user guides, tutorials, research aids and tools assisting the user in researching independently and more efficiently and provides a portal to information not contained within the library, as often as it leads to a resource within the library’s physical walls.

The first thing I notice in attempting to locate government information available on the University of Arizona library website is that there are a couple of different ways to access the main “government information” webpage. The first way to access is by clicking on “Libraries and Collections” and within the Main Library heading is “Government Documents.” The second way to access is by subject. Click on “Reference Resources,” then “Subject Guide” and go to “G.” By offering different entry ways into a given area such as “Government Documents,” the user can easily and quickly arrive at a subject of interest.

Second, I notice the wealth of information designed to help users understand government documents and find what is needed. From the “Government Documents” homepage, there is a link to “Tutorials/Guides.” Here one can understand how a bill becomes a law, see the structure of the U.S. government , compare GPOAccess with the CIS Congressional Universe and find a “help page” for what to find where (see http://dizzy.library.arizona.edu/library/teams/sst/pol/guide/tips-elec.html). There are also links to other universities’ government information web pages which offers different slants to similar subjects or additional tutorials and guides.

The library catalog frequently has links to full text or outside sources. The links to outside sources are especially prevalent within the government information section. The federal, state & local and international governing bodies post significant amounts of their materials on their own websites. It is natural that a library should be the place to provide effective access to these and all materials from within their catalogs. How lucky we are to have immediate access to so many materials that the governments supply right at our fingertips! With anything on the web, there are links that no longer work, however, even the dead links provide clues as to what site might have the information one needs – eg. http://www.lib.umich.edu/libhome/Documents.center/amfact/slide1.htm.

The amount of information available on the web is frequently overwhelming. When looking for government documents, having as many tutorials, guides, links to live information or links to full text points the researcher in the right direction and gives the researcher more ability to locate the information sought independently. Luckily, there are still subject specialists at the University of Arizona to aid researchers in need of additional assistance or clarification.

How to cite this document:
Daleo, D. (2005). A student's evaluation of government information at the University of Arizona Library . BiblioTech, 3(2). Retrieved [insert date here], from: http://www.sir.arizona.edu/lso/bibliotech/2005nov_vol3_no2

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