What can I do if I cannot find a publication in the USGS Publications Warehouse?

If you can't find a known publication in our USGS Publications Warehouse, first try contacting the Publications Warehouse Team. If a print copy is readily available to them, they’re sometimes able to scan it and post it online for free download within a few days.

If that doesn’t work, chances are good that the publication can be requested through Interlibrary Loan. Ask about Interlibrary Loan options at your local public, academic (nearby college or university), or corporate library. Also, use WorldCat to see which libraries near you own the item and to get a proper citation for the item. WorldCat is the world's largest network of library-based content and services in 170 countries.

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When should I use a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to request information?

All USGS products and publications are in the public domain. Most are readily available for free download on our website. Before launching a potentially time-consuming Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, make sure that the information you need cannot be easily obtained by immediate means. Visit the USGS website , explore our FOIA Reading...

How do I request information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

There are several ways to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request: Submit a request through the National FOIA Portal . Use the Department of the Interior’s FOIA Request Form . Email your request to foia@usgs.gov . Put “Freedom of Information Act Request” in the subject line. Write a letter to the USGS FOIA Office using one of the...

What USGS products are already publicly available?

As the Nation’s largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency, we have numerous types of products. Most of these--including data, tools, maps, and publications--are publicly available through our website. Almost all digital materials can be downloaded at no cost to the public. For information about the availability of...

What information should I include in my Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request?

While you are not required to give a reason for your request, you should be as specific as possible when describing the records that you seek. That will produce faster and better results. Phrases like “any and all” can significantly delay the processing time and potentially increase your processing fee. Prior to submitting your request, we suggest...

Is there a cost for obtaining federal records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

By law, the USGS is authorized to charge Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) processing fees to requesters in order to recover the direct costs of search, review, and duplication of requested records. The fees depend on the requester category into which you fall. If the total costs of supplying the requested information is less than $50, the USGS...

How long will it take to process my Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request?

The USGS uses a multi-track processing system. We distinguish simple requests from more complex ones based on the estimated number of workdays needed to process the request. Factors include the number of pages involved in processing the request and the need for consultations with other federal agencies. Requests within each track are processed and...

Is a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request confidential? Does my identity impact the results?

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests are not confidential. Once a FOIA request is received, it becomes a public record of the USGS. If the request contains personally identifying information or the request is deemed “sensitive,” we may redact information under FOIA Exemption 6 (personal privacy). The identity of the FOIA requester does not...

Does the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) cover contract-related requests?

Yes, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) covers contract-related requests. Prior to submitting your request, check USAspending.gov to determine what information about the contract is already publicly available. If you decide to submit a FOIA request, please provide the award ID number or the name of the awardee so that we can quickly search for...

What information/data is NOT covered by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

Information/data that is NOT covered by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) includes: Non-agency records and personal records. Public requests for access to physical artifacts or scientific samples (e.g. core samples, sediment, rocks, fossils, specimen samples, blood samples). Access to some samples can be arranged through our laboratories...

What is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine...
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Image: USGS Menlo Park CA Western Regional Library
May 1, 2013

USGS Menlo Park CA Western Regional Library

Joseph Langdon, Chief Librarian Menlo Park, Calif., USGS Western Regional Library, maintaining the Circulation Desk, assisting a client for library information. Joseph has a staff of seven library personnel, which respond by media methods for lending and borrowing publications, scanning articles for requests for science information published by USGS, and world science

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USGS
April 5, 2011

Treasures of the USGS Library

Since its creation in 1882, the USGS Library has grown to become the world's largest library dedicated to earth and natural sciences, holding more than 1.5 million volumes and 800,000 maps. Richard Huffine, Director of the USGS Libraries Program, will highlight some of the rarest, most valuable, and significant materials held by the USGS. These include early maps of

Graphic - Archives
April 3, 2018

Graphic - Archives

Graphic - Archive

Publications Warehouse
April 18, 2016

Publications Warehouse

Attribution: USGS Library
Image: Records Preservation
April 9, 2009

Records Preservation

Older materials and recently arrived items in the Field Records Collection are in various states of preservation and documentation. In the current reorganization project, items are inventoried for content, transferred to archival storage containers, and archived as shelf items (notebooks and file folders), flat files (maps and diagrams), or in rolls (large-format maps and

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USGS publications National Map
April 25, 2018

A stack of publications about National Map

A stack of publications about the National Map