United States Masterfile Content

Your one-stop resource for American public and political documents from 1774 to the present day.


Exploration of U.S. federal information is challenging, even for the trained practitioner.

United States Masterfile comprises a patchwork of finding aids developed over two centuries—from the work of Ames, Poore, and Hickcox; to what became the Congressional Record; to the Library of Congress cataloguing of GPO records in 1976. USM is designed to merge and integrate these disparate historical and contemporary bibliographic materials into a single query structure.

The example here is from William Maclay's Journal during the Continental Congress in Philadelphia:

Expanded Content

This data set includes both the Journal of William Maclay (edited by Edgar Maclay) and the Sketches of Debate in the first Senate of the United States (edited by George Washington Harris). Both are records of the proceedings, with the Journal containing a personal record of the day-to-day activities, the weather, his illnesses and his comments.

Direct Links

OpenURL and OPAC Links

All Paratext data sets are OpenURL compliant. For those librarians whose OpenURL knowledgebase or OPAC includes SUDoc Numbers, the Paratext data can link to these as well.

Journal of William Maclay, 1789 – 1791

001 _ _ 00000278
010 a 09026607
100 a Maclay, William
  d 1737–1804
245 a Constitution of the United States - against the granting of titles
514 a Journal of William Maclay, United States senator from Pennsylvania
  c (1789):28
589 a Journal of William Maclay, United States senator from Pennsylvania, 1789-1791
650 a First Congress, First session, 1789
856 o o
  u ?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&rfr_id=info%3Asid%2FParatext&rft
856 o h
  u http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015051139726?urlappend=%3Bnum=28%3Bu=1
856 u http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llmj&fileName=001/llmj001

Unlock the Potential of Government-Published Sources

Federal documents facilitate research in history, American studies, political science, foreign policy, business, economics, education, law, sociology, science, engineering, and medicine.

United States Masterfile (USM) provides a simple solution to help your patrons identify and locate federal public documents.

  • USM is the only bibliography covering all 245 years of U.S. government publications—twenty-seven collections with a single search.
  • Over 9.5 million links to digital content, including full-text printed material, maps, photographs, illustrations, and statistical datasets.
  • For historical content not yet available digitally, USM provides guidance on locating material via library collections or through interlibrary loan.
  • Permits SuDoc-searchable access to current and historic GPO shelf lists—highly valuable for internal depository processing.
  • USM is also an easy-to-use tool for general researchers who may be overwhelmed by other products that presume an in-depth understanding of government information resources.
  • Paratext datasets are available for whole institution access, for researchers from all disciplines.

Open Access and Full-Text Sources

Open Access, full-text material is constantly expanding in United States Masterfile.

New contributions from the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and the National Archives have brought the vast majority of citations available for open access to these full-text materials.

Open Access

Digital Public Library of America
American Memory
Hathi Trust
United States Patent and Trademark Office
Library of Congress
National Archives

Commercial Data Sources