Government/Legal Information & Maps

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About the Unit

Located on the 4th floor of the University Library on the campus of Western Illinois University, the Government/Legal Information & Maps Unit serves a student population of around 7,000, and a resident population from miles around that includes the 17th & 18th Congressional Districts. The unit comprises four libraries in one. Each distinct collection is described below. For help, please go to the Reference Desk on Level 2. Please see our unit policies for additional information.

Federal Depository Library

A Federal Depository since 1962, the unit has been able to augment the collection with older documents when they've become available. Most items can be found through WestCat, the library catalog.

Illinois State Depository Library

An Illinois State Depository since 1962, the unit has been able to augment the collection with older documents when they've become available. Items can be found through WestCat, the library catalog.

Legal Reference Library

The Legal Reference Library is fast becoming electronic in nature due to the shift from law books to databases. Please use Legal Links as a guide to the resources available.

Map Collection

The Map Collection houses reference materials, books, and hundreds of thousands of maps.

Patent and Trademark Resource Center

The Unit is a Patent and Trademark Resource Center. Our mission is to provide one-on-one training and information to inventors and entrepreneurs in searching patents and trademarks as an initial step toward securing a patent or trademark.

Government/Legal Information Hours

Fall & Spring Semesters
  • Monday - Friday, 8 am - 4:30 pm, by appointment
  • Saturday - Sunday, Closed
Break & Summer School Hours
  • Monday - Friday, 8 am - 4:30 pm, by appointment
  • Saturday - Sunday, Closed

Faculty & Staff

Michael Lorenzen
Interim Unit Coordinator
PTRC Representative
Andrea Francis
Library Operations Associate
Interim Federal Depository Library Coordinator

Address & Phone - Map
Western Illinois University Library
Government/Legal Information & Maps Unit
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455
For Government/Legal Information: 309-298-2722
For general Library information: 309-298-2705

Starting Points for Researching Government and Legal Information:

Top Six
Catalog of U.S. Government Publications
Search the official catalog of government publications.
Core U.S. Government Resources
These resources are vital sources of information about the workings and essential activities of the U.S. Government.
Congressional Budget Office
Search the CBO website to find reports on how government programs and legislation affect the federal budget.
CQ Researcher Online
CQ Researcher, a privately published periodical, prepares reports on all kinds of controversial topics, often including a history of congressional activity.
Government Accountability Office
The GAO is an important agency that monitors and analyzes government programs for effectiveness, fraud and abuse.
CRS Reports
Congressional Research Service Reports can be found several places on the web. Search or browse over 5000 CRS Reports at Search CRS Reports from the Federation of American Scientists. Topics include (but are not limited to) terrorism, intellectual property, cyberlaw, national security, health policy, and environmental policy. Search security and law enforcement related CRS reports at the Homeland Security Digital Library. A new database of current CRS Reports, Every CRS Report
is another one to try.
The official search portal for online government information. Also try the Advanced Search.

Search Engines
Google and StartPage
To use these search engines to search for government information, type in the search box "site:gov" and your search terms.
Some examples:
  • site:gov secondhand smoke
  • site:mil naval history

Other Important Sites for Government Information
American State Papers
Search early Congressional documents, 1789-1838.
Electronic Documents of Illinois
Use this gateway to digitized Illinois publications.
The official portal to online government documents from the Government Printing Office.
Federal Agency Websites
Go directly to the source! Most agencies provide data and reports on their websites. This is a good strategy if you know who does what in government.
Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)
This index to U.S. place names can be used to identify the name of the topographic map that shows the feature or location.
Illinois State Agency Websites
Use state agency websites to interact with state government or find statistics or information for business.
Nexis Uni
Use this database to find congressional and legal information.
Use this database for law enforcement information and statistics.
U.S. Congressional Serial Set
Use this database for primary source material, such as congressional documents and reports, 1817-1980.
U.S. Congressional Serial Set Maps
This database has reproductions of maps that accompanied congressional reports, 1817-1980.
Search the library catalog for government publications held at WIU or across the state of Illinois. Government Publications come in a variety of formats, including web-accessible electronic titles.
Search government publications in the international library catalog for items we may not have here at WIU, then request them through Interlibrary Loan.

Links to subject guides created by the Gov/Pub staff arranged in alphabetical order:

Subject Guides

Legal Research Using Nexis Uni

The Nexis Uni database provides access to a host of sources which link to each other within the database. For more information, ask at the Reference Desk on Level 2.

Legal Resources in Nexis Uni:
American Jurisprudence 2d
This legal encyclopedia is a good place to start your research as it links to laws, regulations and cases.
Illinois Jurisprudence
Similar material as above for the state of Illinois.
Federal Court Cases
Includes reported and unreported cases.
Bankruptcy Court Cases
Bankruptcy cases are reported in the Bankruptcy Reporter and are not included in the federal court case search. Access these through by browsing /Cases/United States/Bankruptcy & Insolvency Law.
Military Law Cases
Military cases are not included in the federal court case search. Access these through the Advanced Options button below the Federal and State Cases query field.
U.S. Code Service
The USCS is an annotated version of the U.S. Code - federal statutes organized in a subject arrangement - which means that each section contains links to pertinent law reviews, cases, laws, an legal analysis.
Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations written by federal agencies. Searchable only.
Federal Register
Search for proposed federal agency regulations and final rules.
Law Journals (many hundreds)
Law journal articles are also a great way to start your research on just about any legal topic.
State Court Cases
Law cases from all 50 states.
State Laws (all states)
Search or browse the current state codes.
State Laws Annotated (all states)
Search or browse the current state codes and link to cases interpreting the state laws.
State Administrative Codes (all states)
Search or browse state agency regulations.
State Registers
Proposed and finals rules (regulations). Searchable only.
US Supreme Court Digest, Lawyers' Edition
This is a digest of Supreme Court Opinions by topic.
Treatises and Analytical Material
There are a few things here through the Browse feature.

Get Help

Please contact or visit the Government/Legal Information office for further assistance. We can answer questions, provide instruction in how to access and use resources (both electronic and print), and refer you to other helpful contacts.

Contact Information:
Online Form

Ask a Question


(309) 298-2722

Gov/Legal Info office hours:
    • Monday - Friday, 8 am - 5 pm
    • Saturday - Sunday, Closed

Malpass Library (4th level)

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