Frequently Asked Questions

What is the USGS Publications Warehouse?

Publications Warehouse (located at is a web application managed by the USGS Library that manages information about and provides access to publications written by USGS authors. It does not store the publications themselves, but links to other systems inside and outside the USGS that hold the actual publication files.  Each publication has its own descriptive citation page that is dynamically generated based on information stored in a database.  The Publications Warehouse cataloging team builds and maintains records based on data pulled from a variety of sources, including the USGS Information Product Data System (IPDS), USGS Scientific Publishing Network pages and announcements, the USGS Store(, press releases, and bibliographic databases.  The Publications Warehouse site is built in such a way to allow easy indexing by web search crawlers, and has both basic and advanced internal search.  Pubs Warehouse also provides a number of different web services, including a customizable RSS feed and a MODs XML service (documented here).

What documents and publications are indexed in the Publications Warehouse?

 The Publications Warehouse provides an index to official, USGS-authored publications of the U.S. Geological Survey.  This includes official publications such as USGS-authored journal articles, series reports, book chapters, other government publications, and conference proceedings.

How do I find a specific USGS Publication, if I have the series name and number?

Most of the time, you can simply enter the Series name and number in the search box (e.g. "Open-File Report 2014-1263" )

Otherwise, click Advanced Search, enter the series name in the "Series Name box", and the report number in the "Report Number" box.  

If it is an older publication, be sure to scroll to the bottom, because a search of an older publication may match other, more recent publications with a similar publication number.  For Example, Professional Paper 178 will match Professional Papers 1178, 1781, 1782, 1783, 1784A-C, 1785, 1786, 1787, and 1789, all of which were published before Professional Paper 178 and will appear above Professional Paper 178 in the initial date sorted results.

How do I find a publication using search?

Using the large Search box on the home page, enter information about a publication such as words from the title or abstract, author, year, or series or other metadata (like you would in any other search engine).  On the search page, you can also use the "Advanced Search" choose to further extend your queries. 

How do I find a publication using advanced search?

The Advanced Search button is located under the Basic Search box. When you click on this button, four search bars, each with a drop-down menu, will appear. Choose the appropriate category from the drop-down menu and add specific terms which will then narrow your topic. Here is a breakdown of the different search fields:

After entering all of the desired information, click on the Search button to retrieve results.

My search retrieved too many results. 

The basic search may produce off-topic results. Most of the time, simply adding words to your query will increase relevance, but using the advanced search may give you more options for very specific queries.

May I use a wildcard in my search?

The Pubs warehouse search algorithm automatically "stems" words so that you don't have to use wildcards to find plurals.  Wildcards are not needed.


May I search for adjacent words by using quotation marks?
Unfortunately, the Publications Warehouse search does not currently have this capability, though we would like to add this feature in the future. In the meantime, the best workaround is to take advantage of the fact that all of Publications Warehouse is indexed in Google, and to use the site: operator there.
For example, here is a Google search of  Pubs Warehouse site for "carbon sequestration":
The search string looks like this: "Carbon sequestration"
I would like to get a list of citations from my search results. Is this possible?

You can now download an RIS file from your search results for importing into any standard Citation Manager

How do I produce a bibliography from my results?

If you use a free tool such as Zotero or Mendeley, Publications Warehouse is set up to facilitate those tools just pulling the citation information from the page about the document.

Is the bibliographic citation in the form it should appear in when I cite a product from a USGS publication?

Not necessarily, different publishers require different forms. Please check the USGS Suggestions to Authors for detailed guidance on how to cite publications in a USGS report. If you are publishing in a non-USGS publication, ask the publisher for their citation guidelines. Using a reference manager, such the Zotero or Endnote, can help you format your citations correctly.

How do I obtain a copy of a specific publication?/ How do I obtain a publication that is not available online?

USGS Publication: Links to the USGS store will be added shortly for publications that have paper versions in stock.  You can also contact the USGS Store to order the publication. The USGS Store is available at and they can be contacted via email: ; telephone: 1-888-ASK-USGS; and mail: USGS Information Services, Box 25286, Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225-0046. If it is not available, try searching the title online to find a copy for sale or contact your local librarian to see if they can help you borrow a copy.

Non-USGS Publication: If there is a link labeled “Document,” follow it to find a full online version of the publication. If not look at the publisher’s website to see if a copy is available for purchase, search the title online to find copies for sale, or contact your local librarian to see if they can help you borrow a copy.

Any Publication: Contact us via the form at our contact page ( for help with your search.

How do I obtain a paper copy of an online document?

If you have a printer available, you can print to that by going to File --> Print --> OK. Any further options, such as black and white printing, margin changes, etc should be changed on a publication by publication basis. If you would like to obtain an official printed paper copy of a publication, you can see if it is available for purchase through the USGS Store. The USGS Store is available at and they can be contacted via email: ; telephone: 1-888-ASK-USGS; and mail: USGS Information Services, Box 25286, Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225-0046. If it is not available through the USGS Store and you would like a physical copy with a more professional look than possible with your home printer, take the PDF to a local print shop and have it printed (cost for printing will vary).

What is an RSS?/ How do I sign up for an RSS feed?

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a format to provide content feeds from web sites that contain article headlines, summaries and links back to the full article from that web site. RSS is an easy way for you to be alerted when content that interests you appears on your favorite websites. Instead of visiting a web site to browse for new articles and features, RSS automatically notifies you when something new is posted online, all through your downloaded news reader. To sign up for an RSS feed, you will need to download and install an RSS reader, or use a web-based service. Then, you copy and paste the URL of the news feed into the viewer's "subscribe" dialogue. USGS does not endorse any particular RSS reader or application.

Can I be notified about specific reports or date ranges in the RSS feed (certain state/topic/center/series/etc.)?

You can limit the results shown in your RSS Feed by adding parameters to the end of the link. For instance, if you wish to view only USGS numbered publications you can use the following link: []. You can set the RSS feed to show more or fewer publications by entering the number of days as a query parameter. For example, if you would like 15 days of publications to show you can enter the following: []. You can also combine parameters to show a specific type of publication over a certain number of days by adding both parameters to the end of the link. To show the last 15 days of only USGS Numbered series publication you can use []. To set the RSS feed to show only a particular series, such as Science Investigations Reports, you can enter a query parameter that defines the series you would like to view, make sure you enter the report series exactly as it is titled such as []. For more information on narrowing RSS feed results see the RSS Service section of Web Service Documentation page or contact the Publications Warehouse Team via the form at our contact page (

Why do titles and abstracts appear with odd character strings in my RSS feed?

The odd character strings are most likely the html codes used by catalogers to force special characters to display correctly. Some RSS readers will then translate the HTML coding to correctly display the special character (such as characters from other languages) though there are some readers that are unable to interpret HTML coding correctly and will therefore display the raw HTML code.

How do I Contact the Publications Warehouse? / How do I report a problem with the data, missing information, a publication, or with the Publications Warehouse?/ What do I do if I can't find the answer to my question?

Please send comments, errors, bug reports, suggestions for improvements, questions, and any other communications to us by clicking this "Contact the Publications Warehouse team" link or the same link at the bottom of any Publications Warehouse page. We appreciate your input and will try to respond promptly to all messages requesting a response.

Why can't I find publications that I know the USGS has?/ The publication I'm looking at has a citation but the document(s) are unavailable or incomplete. Where can I find this?

The Publications Warehouse is in the process of adding all USGS authored publications to its collection. The USGS Numbered Series collection has been completed and work has begun on adding in other types of publications such as journal articles, conference proceedings, book and reports published outside an official series, missing parts of entered publications, etc. If you have information or access to a report or other publication that has not yet been entered, please contact us via the form at our contact page ( with a citation and, if possible, a link or PDF.

There is a publication in the Publications Warehouse that appears to be outdated. Why isn't it taken out of the Publications Warehouse?

The Publications Warehouse would like to be a complete collection of old and new publications by the USGS. All publications, regardless of age, should have a citation (and hopefully soon, an electronic scan) within the Publications Warehouse. For out of date items, we try to direct people to the new publications by adding a "supersede" notice and link to the older publication pointing to the new publication. If the old publication doesn't have a new publication it can directly link to the version printed by USGS, we can't add a supersede notice. Also, we don't want to delete anything from the Publications Warehouse as we're trying to provide these old publications to people who are doing research and may need the old version of a report. These people may also be working on verifying citations from another report or some other work that requires the original publications. We are always open to hear when a publication has been superseded, so please feel free to contact us via the form at the Publications Warehouse Contact Us page (?) our contact page ( if you know of a publication that has been superseded.

Are there non-USGS pubs in Pubs Warehouse?/ Are non-USGS published items available free of charge through the Publications Warehouse?

The Publications Warehouse now includes citations for USGS authored journal articles and other information products in addition to the more than 75,500 USGS numbered series publications. On October 1, 2009, approximately 5,000 citations for journal articles from the Ecosystems Mission Area (formerly BRD) were indexed and incorporated into the Publications Warehouse. An additional 8,000 Ecosystems records were added in July 2010. This significant contribution from the Ecosystems Mission Area includes citations and links for books, journal articles, book chapters, conference proceedings, and a variety of other publications authored by USGS scientists. USGS makes its published materials available free of charge. Access to non-USGS published documents outside the USGS website may require a subscription or a purchase. Check with your organization or the vendor for more details.

Why are there links to non-governmental sites included in Publications Warehouse records? Are they verified?

For the most part USGS Series Publications links are only included if they link to a .gov site. However, in the interest of maximizing access to USGS publications, we may also link to trusted sites such as Hathitrust, which is operated by a consortium of universities, if there is not an official USGS scan available yet. Non-USGS publications with USGS authors may link to a site other than a .gov site. In this case, viewers may click on these links at their own discretion. The USGS does not guarantee the security of any links outside its website.

I'm using data/images/graphs/etc from a prior USGS publication. What are the copyright restrictions/is this permissible?

USGS-authored or produced data and information are in the public domain. While the content of most USGS web pages and reports are in the public domain, not all information, illustrations, or photographs are. Some are used by USGS with permission. For other uses, you may need to obtain permission from the copyright holder under the copyright law. You are welcome to make a link to any of the Web pages USGS has published on the Internet. There is no need to request permission. Use of the USGS visual identifier (logo) is restricted to official publications.

When using information from USGS products, publications, or Web sites that are in the public domain, we ask that proper credit be given. Credit can be provided by including a citation such as the following:

Credit: U. S. Geological Survey U. S. Geological Survey/photo by Jane Doe (if the artist is known) USGS/Ft. Collins, CO (if originating office but not the artist is known)

Additional information is available from USGS Privacy Policy and Disclaimers and Acknowledging or Crediting USGS as Information Source. If you have questions concerning the use of USGS information, contact the Office of Communications.

How can I get help finding a map?/ I want to buy a topographic map. How do I get it?

You can contact the USGS Store to order many maps. USGS can fill orders for custom products such as aerial photographs and orthophotoquads, digital cartographic data, and geographic names data. The USGS Store is available at and they can be contacted via email: ( The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and thousands of USGS map dealers sell topographic maps. To locate a USGS map dealer near you, follow this link ( The USGS Earth Science Information Centers (ESICs) also sell topographic maps. Follow this link to the ESIC home page or call 1-888-ASK-USGS. Scanned versions of all the topographic maps are also available online. Follow this link to the Map Locator tool ( at the USGS Store and for information on how to find topographic maps.

I'm having difficulties using the USGS Store. Can you help?

The Publications Warehouse is not run by the same people or employees as the USGS Store. If you have any questions or problems with the USGS Store, they can be contacted via telephone: 1-888-ASK-USGS or email:

What is the difference between the USGS Store and Publications Warehouse?/ How do they work together?

Publications Warehouse ( is a data storage warehouse for the access and download of information for customer use. Publications Warehouse makes information about USGS authored publications available to the public and, where possible, provides electronic copies of USGS publications for free.  Our records are  indexed by Google, so if someone searches Google for a USGS publication, the result list will often display the PubsWarehouse record as the first result.

The USGS Store ( is a source for purchasing USGS published items in hard copy (if available). The documents are professionally published by the USGS and are available to be mailed to customers at varying prices.

Both sites are managed by separate parts of the USGS, but we work together within each site to provide the access to the other sites where applicable. Most of the time if the item is available for sale & distribution from our site, the Publications Warehouse will state that it is available from us.

If a publication is not available in the USGS Store, a message will appear to show that.  The system for checking if a publication is available is automated and so, in some cases, where the data in one site may contain errors or if there is a new product, one site may show that it is available before the other. When we become aware of these discrepancies they are corrected as quickly as possible.

This publication is available through another USGS site, why does Publications Warehouse say that it’s not available?

As of now, the Publications Warehouse does not have a method for showing that a publication is available in print from any site other than the USGS Store, as there is not way for the pubs warehouse system to get availability information in an automated manner.  This does not preclude the possibility that they are available elsewhere, such as through the originating USGS Center or another USGS program.

How can I get help locating scientific information or finding publications about a topic of interest?

Publications series that are helpful for quick information are Fact Sheets and General Interest Publications. Users can limit their search to these series by doing an advanced search. For additional help in locating specific publications, or for any questions or comments about publications please contact the Publications Warehouse Team through our contact page ( If you are interested in a product focused on a certain geographical area, local offices may have products not listed here or they can direct you to other government agencies with local information; Follow this link for local USGS Web sites and USGS contacts in your state.  For additional help in getting answers to science-based questions, contact Ask USGS.

What is a USGS series?

A series is a collection of similar products, which also may be grouped by audience or packaging requirements. Descriptions of USGS series are available at the following link:

What happened to the DJVU files?

Because the PDF format is more commonly used, the Publications Warehouse decided to convert all of our DJVU documents to PDF. The DJVU files can be accessed if you have the old link saved. We are currently monitoring these links to see how often they are used, if they are visited often enough, then we may decide to put links to both DJVU and PDF files on our site.