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Declassified Government Publications

This research guide will provide links and information to help you find formerly confidential/secret government publications. Sometimes such items are buried within other published items, such as books or congressional hearings or government reports, so you may have to do some digging with keyword searches in the various library catalogs and Internet search engines. Many times articles in newspapers or journals may give clues or even bibliographic citations to documents, but it will also require some more digging. By clicking on the "Article Databases" link above, you can gain access to many newspaper and journal databases where you can then do a search for items on your topic. And using the various Internet search engines may also turn up clues or even copies of actual documents. It just requires time and patience on your part to do this research.

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Online Collections and Finding Aids

Assassination Archives and Research Center (AACR). This is the main place to go for records on political assassinations in the Twentieth Century.

Ciudad Juarez (Mexico) Femicide Declassification Project.

The Cold War International History Project (CWIHP). Part of the Smithsonian Institution, this project conducts research especially into the archives and documents of the former Communist countries of Europe. Some of their printed collections of declassified and translated foreign documents are available in the C.O.D. Library.

Digital National Security Archive (DNSA). C.O.D. does not subscribe to this service, but there are free versions of many documents available to the public. And by clicking on the "Documents" button on the top tool bar of the main page, one can get access to free Electronic Briefing Books, which are composed of documents on various topics.

Documents on Canadian External Relations. From the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Similar to the Foreign Relations of the United States series below.

DTIC: U.S. Defense Technical Information Center. A catalog of citations to defense-related technical reports, but many free PDF versions are also available as well.

FBI Files: Subject Guide for publicly accessible files, from Michael J. Ravnitzky.

The Federation of American Scientists. This organization promotes informed debates on important issues by providing online copies of a wide variety of government publications.

Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), U.S. State Department. An official publication series that contains copies official reports, telegrams, letters, and memoranda on various international affairs topics. Some printed volumes in this series are available in the COD Library, and many others may be located at nearby libraries, such as the government documents collection at the Wheaton College Library, Northern Illinois University, or the University of Illinois at Chicago. This particular site focuses on the modern presidencies from Richard Nixon to the present. Printed volumes in the COD Library are listed in the Library's catalog; click here for a list of titles at COD. For older volumes and presidential administrations, please visit the web site at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Guide to Declassified Documents. Georgetown University Library.

GULFLINK. U.S. official web site devoted to the various illnesses and problems experienced by personnel who served during the first Gulf War (1990-1991).

The Harvard Project on Cold War Studies - Declassified Documents.

Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL). Access to citations and the full-text of thousandss of articles and official government reports. ON CAMPUS ACCESS ONLY. Click here for a description of the contents.

The Mexican Federal Institute for Access to Public Information (Instituto Federal de Acceso a la Informacion Publica).

National Security Archive (DNSA) See the "Digital National Security Archive" above for a description of this valuable resource.

NTIS: U.S. National Technical Information Service. A catalog of U.S. Government technical, scientific, and medical reports. This is composed primarily of citations, not full-text items, but once you have the citation, you can ask the Reference Desk for help in locating the item.

The Roswell Files. About the supposed 1947 crash of an alien spacecraft in New Mexico.

Secret No More, an index to declassified FBI files.

The Smoking Gun. This site contains online texts of various elusive government documents.

Somalia Declassified Documents Project.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Electronic Reading Room

U.S. Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports. These items are not sent out to federal depository libraries, and are sometimes hard to locate.

U.S. Government Electronic Documents CyberCemetery This site contains copies of many government publications that have been removed from government web sites.

U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Electronic Reading Room

U.S. National Archives (NARA) Research Room. The National Archives is the main storage department for unneeded government records. Many of the very old historical records series have been put on microfilm and are available at many research libraries. Information about the Great Lakes Region branch in Chicago can be found by clicking here.

U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) Declassification Initiatives

U.S. National Security Council (NSC) Historical List of Policy Documents.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Electronic Reading Room.

U.S. Presidential Libraries. Many times these libraries have links to online collections of records relating to the activities of the presidents and their administrations.

U.S. State Department Electronic Reading Room Declassified Documents Collection

U.S. State Department/University of Illinois at Chicago Electronic Research Collection (DOSFAN).

USA.GOV. The main gateway to U.S. government web sites and online information.

The Virtual Vietnam Archive. This useful site contains lots of other important information about the Vietnam War than just reprints of government publications.

WikiLeaks.org. This site has texts of documents from governments all over the world.

Library Catalogs

Libraries sometimes contain printed collections of declassified government publications. You can use these catalogs to find items at C.O.D. and other libraries.
  • C.O.D. Library Catalog : for items located in the C.O.D. Library. Copies of the State Department's Foreign Relations series can be found at C.O.D. by doing a keyword search using "foreign relations of the united states" as your search phrase. Or you can do a keyword search using
  • I- Share (formerly ILLINET ONLINE): a catalog of items located in 65 Illinois academic libraries.
  • WorldCat: for items located in libraries in this country and those around the world. It contains citations to many national and foreign government publications, along with links to online versions..
  • U.S. Federal Document Depository Libraries: A list of libraries in Illinois that have depository collections of U.S. Federal government publications.

Outline of the Library of Congress Classification System (what C.O.D. uses to shelve its books).

Related C.O.D. Library Online Research Guides:

Controversial Topics, Geography, Government, History, Military - Industrial Complex, Peace Studies,.Political Science

Help with Evaluating Web Sites

Interlibrary Loan

The Library can obtain copies of articles or books from other libraries for you, and sometimes copies of government publications that are on microfiche. Inquire at the Reference Desk for assistance.

Other Nearby Public and Academic Libraries

Citing Sources

Reference Desk:  630-942-3364
Dan Blewett, Reference Librarian
(630) 942-2279, FAX (630) 858-8757
Office: SRC 3035


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