Frequently Asked Questions

Government Documents

  1. Are government documents copyrighted?

    Works of the U.S. federal government are generally not protected by copyright in the United States and are automatically in the public domain (17USC§ 105); however, there are numerous exceptions and refinements to this rule.

    For a detailed explanation of how copyright law is applied to government publications, see Frequently Asked Questions About Copyright: 3.0 U.S.Government Works and 4.0 Works Created Under a Federal Contractor Grant on the CENDI Web site.

    Also, be sure you know the difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism.

    State and local governments may, and often do, claim copyright in their publications. It is their prerogative to set policies that may allow, require, restrict, or prohibit claim of copyright on some or all works produced by their government units. (See CENDI FAQ 3.1.3)

  2. Do the UNT Libraries sell reproductions of Government-related posters?

    The UNT Libraries cannot print copies of posters or prints in our collection.

    The National Archives and Records Administration sells posters and facsimiles painstakingly reproduced from holdings in the National Archives.

  3. How can I get help researching government documents and legal materials?

    Government Documents Department staff members provide assistance when you have questions, need directions, or want advice about finding government, business, geographic, statistical, or legal information.

    See Government Documents Reference Services to find out what services we provide and how to obtain services.

  4. How can I obtain a copy of a U.S. military field manual or technical manual?

    Historical Manuals

    The UNT Libraries Government Documents Department owns hundreds of technical and field manuals published by the War Department and the Navy Department between 1939 and 1947. There are also numerous technical manuals (TMs) and field manuals (FMs) published from 1947 to present.

    There are several ways to obtain copies of technical manuals.

    The best way to determine if UNT owns the technical manual you are looking for is to search the Library Catalog.

    You may be able to obtain a copy through Interlibrary Loan. If you know which manuals you are looking for, submit the request at your local library’s Interlibrary Loan office, and they will try to borrow the manual from a library that owns it.

    If you wish to purchase a manual, Military/Info Publishing sells photocopies of technical manuals. Their site is organized by subject and by manual number.

    Recent Manuals

    More recent military manuals can be purchased through the U.S. Army Publishing Directorate.

    GlobalSecurity.org has posted PDF copies of a number of military manuals and guides. Select the department, then select from a list of titles and categories.

    Please contact us if you need further assistance.

  5. How can I obtain a grant, loan, or other assistance from the government?

    Many people look to the government to find out how to apply for a grant or to get "free money," which they have seen advertised on television or in various publications. Grants usually go to state and local governments or nonprofit organizations, which then use the money to operate assistance programs locally. It may be difficult for an individual to qualify for a federal grant.

    USA.gov, the official Web portal of the United States federal government, has a page explaining government Grants and Loans for individuals, as well as information about legitimate Grant and Loan Opportunities and Contact Information for grant- or benefit-sponsoring agencies.

    Our Financial Assistance page provides information on how to learn about and apply for financial assistance from federal, state, and local governmental and private sources.

  6. How can I research the background of a poster or print?

    Our short bibliography of Guides to World War I & II Posters lists books that provide background on World War I and World War II posters. Some of these books are available at UNT, and some may be available at other libraries or through Interlibrary Loan.

    More books about posters can be identified by doing a subject search in the Library Catalog with the "Collection" field set as "Government Documents".

  7. How do I cite a government document in my term paper bibliography?

    Our Citation and Style Guide Web page provides general guidelines for citing various types of publication, including government documents.

    The University of Nebraska Government Documents Department Web site has guidelines and samples of citations of government publications formatted in MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian styles. UTSA provides guidelines on citing government documents in APSA style.

    DocsCite, a service provided by the Arizona State University Libraries, automatically constructs a citation for you in MLA or APA format, based on information you enter.

    The Government Documents Department also has some style manuals you may find helpful on reserve at the Government Documents Service Desk, which is located on the 3rd Floor of Willis Library.

    If you are writing for a class or for publication, your instructor or publisher is always the final authority to consult for determining which style to use as well as for determining the proper format for a specific citation.

    In order to avoid last-minute deadline crises, we recommend that you always make a photocopy of the title page, and/or write down the call number of any government publication you use for research projects. Without this information, it is extremely difficult to relocate a document you may need for writing your bibliography.

  8. How do I find a government publication in the UNT Libraries?

    When using the Library Catalog:

    • Open the Library Catalog search page.
    • Enter in keywords, title, author, or subject*.
    • Under the "Collection" field select Government Documents. 

    *If title is unknown, you can also browse or search electronically scanned documents and archived government websites through the Digital Collections

  9. How do I find information about the law (court cases, bills, statutes and codes, regulations, or law reviews)?

    Detailed information about finding and using legal resources is available in our Law Subject Guide.

    LexisNexis Academic and West Campus Research provide online access to legal materials for members of the UNT community.

    ProQuest Congressional provides online access to congressional, legislative, and regulatory materials for members of the UNT community.

    LexisNexis State Capital provides online access to information about state law, legislation, and legislators for members of the UNT community.

    For further assistance with legal research, please visit the Government Documents Service Desk on the 3rd Floor of Willis Library, or contact the Government Documents Department by E-mail, postal mail, or telephone.

    The Government Documents staff are not attorneys or paralegals and are neither authorized nor qualified to practice law. We can help you identify and locate print and online sources and can assist you in using these sources, but we cannot conduct research for you, give you legal advice, or interpret laws or cases for you.

  10. How do I find U.S. Census information or other statistics?

    Information about the U.S. Census, including where to find data published by the Census, is available on our Census Subject Guide.

    Information about where to find statistical data published by federal, state, local, international, and foreign government agencies, as well as data available from commercial sources, is available on our Statistical Resources web page.

  11. How do I obtain copies of out-of-print government publications?

    Detailed information on locating out-of-print government documents is available on the "How to Obtain United States Government Publications" page. 

  12. How much is my vintage poster or print worth?

    The staff of the UNT Libraries are neither qualified nor permitted to provide appraisals of works of art.

    Our Posters and Prints page provides information on Researching and Evaluating Prints and Posters. It includes a list of Price Guides and a list of Professional Appraisers, some of whom may be able to give you a general idea of what your print or poster may be worth.

  13. I have an old stock certificate. How can I find if it has any value, and what happened to the company that issued it?

    Here are some Web sites that explain the research necessary to answer your question:

    The Goldsheet Obsolete Securities Page
    http://www.goldsheetlinks.com/obsolete.htm

    Stocks: Researching the Value of Old Certificates
    http://www.invest-faq.com/articles/stock-res-val-old.html

    Collectible Stocks and Bonds
    http://www.oldstocks.com/worth.htm

    For a list of paper and microfiche sources available at UNT, see Researching Old Stock Certificates in the UNT Libraries 

    If the company is no longer traded on any exchange, you will need to do some research to determine the value of the shares and/or redeeming the shares. We can't do the research for you, but here are some suggestions:

    First, be sure you have the following information, all of which should be on the certificate:

    • The name of the company

    • The date the shares were issued

    • The state in which the company was incorporated

    The most basic question to resolve is whether the company still exists. It might have changed names, been purchased by another company, etc. The first thing you might do is call or write the transfer agent that is listed on the front of the certificate. A transfer agent handles transfers of stock certificates and should be able to advise you on their value.

    If the transfer agent no longer exists or cannot help you, you might try to contact the company directly. The stock certificate should show the state where the company was incorporated. Contact the Secretary of State in that state, and ask for the Business Corporations Section. (There are links to several state agency Web sites in the Goldsheet Obsolete Securities Web site listed above.) They should be able to give you a history of the company (when it began, merged, dissolved, went bankrupt, etc.). From there you can contact the existing company (if there is one) to find out the value.

    Even if the certificate turns out to be worthless as stock, old certificates can still have considerable value for collectors. The Web sites listed above give sources where you can look up the collector value of an old stock certificate.

  14. I'm not affiliated with UNT. Do I have access to the government publications and related services in your library?

    Yes, in most cases. As a U.S. Federal Depository Library and a Texas State Publications Depository Library, we provide reference assistance to the UNT community, to the citizens of the 26th Congressional District of Texas, and to the general public in Denton, in Texas, and throughout the world.

    All government publications are available for use in the library building. A picture I.D. (e.g., a driver license or passport) may be required to photocopy certain reserve materials.

    Some electronic materials are restricted to UNT students and faculty. Others may need to be installed on our computers before use. We recommend that you call our Service Desk at 940-565-2870 at least 24 hours in advance to find out if the electronic materials you need are available for use.

    For information about checking out government publications, please see Borrowing Government Documents

  15. May I check out government documents?

    Many government documents at UNT may be checked out at the
    Eagle Commons Library Service Desk by presenting a current I.D. card that is honored by the UNT Libraries. See the Circulation Policies & Procedures of the UNT Libraries for information about loan periods, checkout limits, renewals, fines, and replacement charges for lost or damaged materials.

    If you are not a UNT student, you may be eligible to apply for a UNT Libraries Courtesy Card, which may also be used to check out government documents.

    Some government documents are "non-circulating", which means they must be used in the library building, and may not be checked out. Exceptions to this rule are made in special cases, such as student class presentations or faculty research. Please call our Service Desk at 940-565-2870 for more information about "non-circulating" check-outs.

  16. May I reproduce the images in the UNT Libraries digital collections?

    Regarding all government documents digital collections:

    1.1 The UNT Libraries cannot grant or deny permission to reproduce these images, as we are not the copyright holders for the original documents.

    1.2 Many, but not all, government documents are in the public domain. You may check the original and/or digital versions to check for a copyright symbol and author name(s).

    1.3 If you use a digital image from one of our collections, we request that you credit us as a source by including our institution name and the object’s URL. Please do this regardless of whether you publish the image in print or online. For example:

    • [image]

    • University of North Texas Libraries

    • http://digital.library.unt.edu/data/govdocs/atoz/02/meta-dc-1806.tkl

    See our Copyright Information page or our Digital Libraries page for further information.

  17. May I use LexisNexis? How do I access it?

    LexisNexis products are available to anyone, including the general public, using any computer on the UNT campus. Currently enrolled UNT students and UNT faculty and staff can access LexisNexis products off campus with a UNT EUID and password. [See On & Off Campus Access to Databases & More]

    To access LexisNexis products from the Libraries home page or the +Find Tab, above.

    1. Select the "Databases and More" tab from the Search Tools Box

    2. Select L for Lexis, then scroll down and select the LexisNexis product of your choice.

    Direct access is available through the LexisNexis homepage. 

    Some products that were formerly owned by LexisNexis have been acquired by ProQuest. The following products are available at UNT:

  18. What is a government document?

    According to the Federal Library Depository Act of 1962, a government document is defined as "informational matter which is published as an individual document at government expense, or as required by law" (44 U.S.C. § 1901).

    In general, most publications issued by international, federal, state, or local government agencies are considered government documents. These publications may be produced in a variety of formats, including printed paper, microfiche, and audiovisual materials. In recent years, government information resources have been expanded to include computerized formats such as CD-ROMs, DVDs, and Internet sites.

  19. Where are the original paper copies of the posters in the UNT Digital Library?

    The original World War I and II posters that were digitized by the UNT Libraries are on reserve in the Government Documents Department on the 3rd floor of Willis Library. These items are located in a locked room and are non-circulating, so if you would like to view them, please visit our Service Desk in person or Contact Us to schedule an appointment.

  20. Where can I get tax forms or IRS publications?

    Tax forms and publications can be obtained online at www.irs.gov or ordered over the telephone by calling 1-800-829-3676.

    For direct access to U.S. federal tax forms and publications, visit the IRS Forms and Publications page. At this site, you can scroll through a list of current IRS publications, select the document you need, and print it.

    Many of the most popular tax forms, instructions, and publications are available to the public free of charge at the Denton Public Library and at the downtown post office at 101 E. McKinney St.

    Our Taxes Subject Guide is a detailed guide to U.S. federal and state tax resources, including printable IRS forms and publications.

    Need help filing your tax form?

    Several programs provide free assistance with filling out and filing U.S. income tax forms:

    • United Way's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) members are available at the Denton Public Library at selected times during the weeks before April 15 to help you fill out your forms and answer tax related questions.

    • The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program offers free tax help to people who earn less than $42,000.

    • The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program offers free tax help to taxpayers who are 60 and older.

    • The military also has a strong Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. The Armed Forces Tax Council (AFTC) consists of the tax program coordinators for the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

    Call 1-800-829-1040 to find the VITA/TCE location and hours nearest your home and to see if you qualify for any of these programs.

    Please do not ask librarians tax law questions. They are not tax law specialists. Instead, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 for tax information.

  21. Where can I obtain military records?

    The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the official repository for records of military personnel who have been discharged from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard. NARA has compiled an extensive page on Military and Veterans Records at the National Archives, which gives detailed information on how to acquire military records from the U.S. Government.

    For more information on researching military records visit the Military Records section of the National Archives website. 

  22. Where can I obtain posters online?

    Many posters from the UNT Government Documents collection have been digitized and made available through the UNT Digital Library World War Poster Collection.

    See our World War I and II Posters page for a list of other Web sites that provide images of World War posters. See our Posters and Prints page for a list of Web sites that have posters on a variety of topics.

  23. Where can I purchase an original or a high-quality reproduction of a vintage poster?

    The UNT Libraries cannot print copies of posters or prints in our collection. Our Posters and Prints page includes suggestions for where to purchase posters and prints.