America's Historical Imprints consists of two searchable databases of monographs, pamphlets, broadsides, government documents and ephemera.   

Early American Imprints. Series 1, Evans (1639-1800) covering the colonial period

Early American Imprints. Series II, Shaw-Shoemaker (1801-1819) covering the early decades of the United States

These databases are only available inside the National Library of Australia building - visit our eResources portal onsite and search for each resource under the Browse eResources tab.


The U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Australia provides online information about the US government and resources for school students and teachers.

The Library of Congress has produced a comprehensive online guide to the U.S. Congress.

The govinfo website produced by the U.S. Government Publishing Office provides links to Congressional publications.

The Center for Legislative Archives Center for Legislative Archives has a number of useful finding aids for conducting research in the records of Congress.

See also: Govtrack.US


  • as primary sources for students of United States history
  • for United States foreign and economic policy
  • other public affairs issues of interest to other countries (US foreign policy)

Background to the National Library collection

The National Library received on deposit United States Government Printing Office (USGPO) microfiche from 1983 to 2010. It is arranged by Superintendent of Documents classification, given at the top of each fiche, and is known as SUDOC. This SUDOC numbering is based on the structure of government agencies, which can make it quite complex. 

You can find information about how to interpret SUDOC numbers online from the West Texas A&M University website.

The National Library ceased receiving SUDOC fiche in June 2010, but the existing collection is retained. This guide provides information on how to access this large collection, as well as other United States Congressional publications held in the Library and online.

News and print resources on Congress

Selected print resources

Case Study

Enquiry: I would like to know about the National Library's status as a depository library for the U.S. Government publications. Does the Library get all publications coming from the Government Printing Office and does this go back to 1969-1970?

If these periodicals are available, can they be interlibrary loaned to Sydney?

Answer: The National Library received (as part of its long standing Gift and Exchange arrangement with the United States) copies of U.S Government Publications (known as SUDOC). Originally supplied in print, since the early 1980s most of these publications have been received in microfiche. The arrangement ceased in 2010.

You can browse the Library Catalogue, for example using '91st Congress' as keywords, to find the items you need. Each document from the 91st Congress has an individual title. Many documents are available online; if this is the case, there will be a link in the online record. For example, see Select Committee on Equal Educational Opportunity, United States Senate, 91st Congress, 2nd Session, September 1970.

The SUDOC microfiche collection is available for interlibrary loan. Please contact your local library for further help with interlibrary loans. 


Extract from Burmester, National Library of Australia : guide to the collections

The close association of the United States and Australia during the War was such that when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died on 12 April 1945, Prime Minister Curtin announced that Australia would honour his memory and that association by establishing a special collection of American material in the Commonwealth National Library. The objective of the collection, stated the Prime Minister, was to document the rise and development of the American civilization in all its aspects, to an extent that would encourage understanding of the United States, its problems and its achievements.

Such an objective could not be achieved overnight but, as a result of slow, sometimes laboriously systematic, effort and at considerable cost, the collection which has been gathered over a period of thirty-five years is already recognised as one of the strongest assemblies of Americana outside the United States itself. Its strength was demonstrated by the Library's publication in 1976 of its 106 page America on Record: a guide to works and other materials relating to the United States of America in the National Library of Australia to mark the Bicentenary of American Independence.

See: History of the National Library collections until 1980 (extract from Burmester)


Charles E. Malone, (2014) Entry points for government information: a comparative look at four sources, Reference Reviews, Vol. 28 Iss: 2, pp.2 - 6

A comparison of four free government resources, this open-access article is aimed at librarians and library users.

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