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Albert S. Cook Library

Federal Government Information

Cook Library is a designated Federal Depository Library. This guide will help you access the vast array of Federal government resources available in our library and online.

The Federal Depository Library Program

FDLP Eagle Logo The Federal Depository Library Program publishes everything from coloring books to advanced scientific research. Every month, Cook Library receives hundreds of documents, reports, information series, maps, databases, and streaming video from the United States Government Printing Office.

The best way to search for Towson University’s federal documents is through the Cook Library Home Page at


You can also go directlyto the TU Library Catalog at

Find Documents through the Catalog Advanced Search:

At the Quick Tools Menu on the left side, choose the TU Library Catalog:

Choose Advanced Search.

Enter some Keywords for your topic: Try Chesapeake and Watershed:

Find Location Menu

Below the search boxes, find the Location menu and open it. Select Government Documents.

In the results, most of the records will come with an Internet link on them. They will likely include the element  “PURL”. It stands for Permanent URL, a place marker that opens the item, without having to find it on the  web.

PURL example:

The link will likely open the PDF document directly.   TU Library Catalog:

Retrieving PURL links

This document is a map, showing the entire watershed, reaching across the boundaries of six states.

  • Most documents come in PDF files;
  • You will need Adobe reader or plug-in ;
  • For large items like this, printouts will require:
  • Either a large plotter printer;
  • (Student Computing Service Center has one)
  • Or use the Poster-Function in Adobe Reader
  • Print them out on standard paper
  • Assemble the pages into one large map.

Other documents can be downloaded to your hard drive, converted to Word, or else sent to your email, all using the function tabs on the Adobe Reader.

TU Library Catalog:

Government Databases

OSHA Database

Not all documents are PDF. Some are databases or web documents. Not all our documents are electronic. Many print documents reside in our regular catalog going back decades. Our Government Information Topic Page has many more resources:

TU Library Catalog:

If you need further assistance or have any questions about our federal documents program, contact the Cook librarian with specialized knowledge in this area:

Carl P. Olson,, 410-704-3267

Research Help Desk: 410-704-2462

Cook Home Page: