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A Century of Conflict...the Official Record. History in Government Documents: Home

This guide supplements the exhibit "A Century of Conflict...the Official Record" on display June 2017 - July 2017.

A Century of Conflict...the Official Record - List of Resources

All resources included in the A Century of Conflict ... The Official Record exhibit can be found in the handout. 

A Century of Conflict...the Official Record

A Century of Conflict the Official Record

Authoritative.  Sanctioned.  Official. 

For the past 100 years, the United States has been involved in conflicts across the globe.   This exhibit explores this history through United States federal government documents.

What does it mean for sources to be authoritative? 

Government information resources are deemed authoritative as government institutions have the resources to effectively compile facts and data.  However, many of these documents are not merely factual, but also elicit an emotional response.

The value of primary sources

Many library resources retrospectively analyze military conflicts and their effects.  In contrast, many government documents are primary source material created at the time of an event.  Primary sources can give researchers an unfiltered glimpse into history, not repackaged and reinterpreted by others. Primary source material provides a more visceral illustration of history. Changes in language, marketing techniques, etc., reflect the culture of the times. Objectives and creator biases can be more apparent.

Materials include books, magazines, hand-drawn maps, recruitment posters, artwork, photographs, newspaper articles, original guides given to enlisted military personnel, and declassified materials with redacted information.  

Some documents are from the Department of Defense, Department of State, Executive Office of the President, and other agencies.  Other documents were originally created in the private sphere, but have been included in government documents and websites such as the Library of Congress and the National Archives and Records Administration. The exhibit begins with World War I and finishes with the current situation in Afghanistan and the War on Terror.

All of the items in this exhibit are either from our Government Information collection on the 4th floor or from official federal government websites / social media accounts.

Federal Depository Library Program

The Alkek Library is a selective depository in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP).  Government Information, located on the 4th floor, houses over 1 million documents from the United States and Texas governments. 

The Federal Depository Library Program was established by Congress to ensure that the American public has access to its Government’s information via distribution of documents to libraries across the nation.  FDLP’s Mission is to “provide free, ready, and permanent public access to Federal Government information, now and for future generations.” 

As a selective depository library, the Alkek Library receives a percentage of documents distributed by the federal government. These reports, statistics, data, and other resources are made available to the public in order to facilitate an informed citizenry.  

The Alkek Library was designated a depository in 1955 at the request of Lyndon B. Johnson, then U.S. Senate Majority Leader.