Citing county government publications

I'm working with county-level voter registration records in California, 1866-1872. Before an election, the County Clerk had at least 10 copies of the County's "Great Register" printed. These were distributed to the County's election officials. The early versions of these printed copies were booklets with a title cover without publication information. Later they were submitted as print jobs to local printers, who added their names, publication dates, and places. Sometimes the cover will carry the statement, "Published by Authority."

I'm uncertain whether I should cite the printed "Great Register" copies like a book with State/County as the author, or should it be treated differently because it is a government publication of limited distribution?

Thanks for any suggestions.

Submitted byEEon Fri, 01/17/2020 - 12:17

Stan, a publication is a publication. The size of the publication or the size of the print run doesn't matter. Whether a publication is issued by a local, state, or federal agency doesn't matter because a publication is a publication. Basic format and basic details are the same. (When citing original records, it does matter whether a record is held by a local, state, or federal agency because each of these have different organizational schemes by which the record must be identified if it is to be relocated.)

EE has many examples for citing a publication when a government agency is the author. In the index, check the following:

authors, creators, etc.
     agency as author  [Pages:] 407, 548, 560, 563, 685, 753

EE 13.23 and 13.43 are particularly relevant.

Submitted byslmitchellon Mon, 01/20/2020 - 14:30

Hello, EE

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

The pages you suggested I look at that give examples of agency as an author, were helpful. The Lucas County example on pages 406-407 is especially relevant since I want to add emphasis to the county government, as well as the repository where the originals were filmed. 13.23 and 13.24 were the sections I latched onto first as being most similar to my source. At 563, I think you are pointing me to the "Precision" paragraph, to make sure I don't forget to cite what I'm looking at.

My original question reflected my doubt about whether the source was published or unpublished. From EE, Appendix A. p. 829, "published source: one that has been widely distributed in print, online, or via other media;" -- italics mine. My thought was that the Great Register copies were intended primarily for election officials and not widely distributed, so they might be considered unpublished.

To make the discussion more concrete, I'll give an example of one such source from my research:

Marin County, California, Clerk's Office, General List of Citizens of the United States Resident in the County of Marin, and Registered in the Great Register of said County. September, 1873  (San Francisco: C. W. Gordon, Book and Job Printer, 1873), copy of Great Register certified 1 August 1873, unpaginated, registrations  semi-alphabetical by first letter of surname, 'M' pages, entry for John Hall Mitchell;  imaged in "California Great Registers, 1866-1910," FamilySearch  ( : accessed 7 December  2019), 976933 (005028155) > image 66 of 360; citing original records at California State Library, Sacramento.