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Government Documents

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  • US Federal Government Information

    Suggested Places to Begin Research

    GPOAccess -- The Government Printing Office's resource for federal information on the internet.

    THOMAS -- The Library of Congress' resource for federal legislation on the internet.

    Depository Library Basic Collection (with online links to many titles)

    Congressional Hearings on the Web

    Many hearings are available on the Internet. In addition to checking the online catalog for links, these three sources also provide links to electronic hearings:

    • The Senate Web Server offers a varying amount of information from and about most Senate committees. Some electronic hearing files (1997-) can be found here.
    • GPO Access provides links to a limited number of Congressional hearings beginning with the 105th Congress.
    • A guide maintained at the University of Michigan's Documents Center, Congressional Hearings on the Web "attempts to document [electronic] free sources of Congressional hearings available to the public without cost." References to some hearings identified here date back to 1995. More House hearings are available than are those from the Senate.

    GODORT CD-ROM Documentation Service -- The project provides bibliographic, content, use, technical, and management information for government-produced and government-related CD-ROMs, DVDs, and floppy disks, brought together in one centralized location on the World Wide Web. Federal, state, international, foreign, and commercial physical electronic media are included. Links to websites that contain related information are also provided. MSUM Library houses a number of the CD-ROM titles, use WebPals to determine which we have.

    Need to Find Government Information on the Internet? Try the Agency Approach! A tutorial created by: Chuck Malone, Government Information Librarian, Western Illinois University Library.

    U.S. Blue Pages -- This online resource is a functional organization of contacts within the federal government. Its structure mimics the blue pages in telephone directories, but in addition to phone numbers, TTY numbers and Web sites are listed. There is also a database that allows the information to be filtered for local contacts only. An excellent starting point for government information.

    FedForms -- As the title implies, access to federal forms fairly easily from this site. provides "one-stop-shopping" for Federal forms most used by the public. FedForms does not contain every form issued by Federal agencies. If you do not find the form you are looking for in FedForms, you can either search through the "Agency Forms Management Web Sites" or you can do a search in FirstGov.

    FirstGov -- This site is "the World Wide Web information portal for the United States Federal Government." It serves as the "first resource to find any government information on the Internet, with topics ranging from business and economy to money and benefits to science and technology." Users can search for information using the search engine or browse by the branch of the government; by Interesting Topics; or by Featured Subjects which highlight interesting and timely information. There are links to state and local government information. There are also links to providing online or offline feedback to the government by topics or by agencies.

    University of Minnesota Government Publications Library STATISTICS Resources -- A very useful compilation of federal statistical resources found on various formats. Many of the CDRom titles listed (with Guides for using the discs) are housed in the MSUM Government Documents collection. The Vanderbilt University and Columbia University sites are similarly useful. See:

    DATANET -- Datanet is an online information system consisting of summarized statistical information serving Minnesota's governments, businesses, schools, nonprofit agencies and citizens. The system contains statistics about social, economic and demographic conditions in Minnesota. 2000 Census material is now available via this site.

    Search Full-Text US Internet Government Periodicals -- "Developed by Paul A. Arrigo and Dee Barker, government documents librarians at Washburn University Law Library, this continuously updated and reindexed resource provides access to full-text periodicals placed online by the federal government. Users can begin by selecting subject, subdoc number, or title, the latter two of which provide direct access (as well as publication information) to a very impressive number of government periodicals."[Scout Report]

    Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids -- The Government Printing Office's website for kids, teachers, and parents. Lots of links to "kid-appropriate" sites.

    FedWorld Information Network -- "FedWorld was established by NTIS to serve as an online locator service for a comprehensive inventory of information disseminated by the Federal Government.Locate Federal Government information, both information housed within the NTIS repository and information we made accessible through an electronic gateway of more than 100 government bulletin boards" [NTIS/Fedworld]

    GOVBOT: The Database of Government Web Sites -- "The Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval (CIIR) GovBot has gathered 1,342,259 web pages from U.S. Government and Military sites around the country." [CIIR]

    Government Information Locator Service (GILS) -- "The Government Information Locator Service (GILS) is a new way to identify, locate, and describe publicly available Federal information resources, including electronic information resources. GILS records identify public information resources within the Federal Government, describe the information available in these resources, and assist in obtaining the information. GILS is a decentralized collection of agency-based information locators using network technology and international standards to direct users to relevant information resources within the Federal Government." [GPO]

    Frequently Used Sites Related to Federal Government Information -- Links to major government indexes, business and economics, census, congress, consumer information, copyright, patents and trademarks, crime and justice, education, foreign countries, health and welfare, laws and regulations, natural resources, the president and executive branch, scientific and technical reports, statistics, the supreme court, tax forms, travel, and voting/elections form the basis of this site. Descriptions of the resources listed on the site are included, including GPOAccess, THOMAS, Fedworld, GOVBOT, and GILS. Created by the staff at Vanderbilt University Library.

    Columbia University Libraries U.S. Government Documents Ready Reference Collection is a subject arrangment of frequently used documents. This is another good gateway to web resources as well as identifying traditional tools, many of which MSU houses.

    Migrating Government Publications -- Another extremely useful site containing a listing of government documents converted to electronic format on the Internet.created by the staff of the University of Memphis Library. It's a quick way to determine the electronic status of federal publications.

    U.S. Government Documents Ready Reference Site -- Government documents are found by broad subject areas. We house many of the titles at Moorhead State - consult a reference librarian to determine where the title is. Developed by the staff at Columbia University Libraries.

    Statistical Resources on the Web -- From the University of Michigan Documents Center, a subject arrangement of online (primarily) government document statistical resources. "The University of Michigan Documents Center has put together a great collection of Statistical Resources on the Web. All categories of statistical resources are included from Statistical Resources on Agriculture, Government, Business, Foreign Trade, Consumers, Health, Demographics, Labor, Education, Science and much more! These statistical resources are updated continually." [Curt Davis]

    United States Historical Census Data Browser -- Census data from to 1790-1970; "the data presented here describe the people and the economy of the US for each state and county from 1790 to 1970." [University of Virginia Library]

    CongressLink -- An exceptional for information about the U.S. Congress, developed by the Dirksen Congressional Center. Very helpful for developing lesson plans and other educational activities.

    TaxLinks - Online Source for IRS Revenue Rulings.

    Electronic Embassy -- The Electronic Embassy provides information on each of the embassies in Washington D.C., with links to Web-based resources where available.

    A List of Primary Federal Government Departments and Agencies with links to their homepages is available here at MSUM. After clicking on the department/agency homepage it is necessary to browse these sights, since each site is a little different than the others. For example, many have search capabilities, but the quality and usefulness varies. The advantage of searching agency websites is that they increasingly provide access to information which often wasn't available prior to the development of the WWW, and therefore not sent to Federal Depository Libraries. Another advantage is the timeliness of the information, since agencies often load new information to their websites, and may only distribute the information in more traditional forms at a later date (if they distribute it at all, because sometimes they never issue information except for providing it via their websites). Retrieval of the information is often much simpler via printing a paper copy or downloading resources from a website.

    The disadvantage of searching through via agencies is that you may not know what agency has information (this holds true regardless of what governmental agency or international organization you may need to work with). Search WebPALS for some of this information or contact me for assistance and advice.

    Abbreviations and Acronyms of the U.S. Government -- "From AACP (Accounting and Auditing Policy Committee) to ZIP Code (Zone Improvement Plan), this site lists over 500 abbreviations for government agencies, programs, and publications, with direct links to the home page (or best alternative)."[Scout Report]

    Supreme Court of the United States -- US Supreme Court official Website, well organized and containing some unique items, including full text of 1999 Term opinions (with a link to previous Bench Opinions), the Court calendar and schedule, background information about the Court and justices, Court rules, Bar admissions information, case handling guides, and public information, including a visitor's guide. The site features an internal search engine which also indexes pdf files.

    CDROM User Guides (GODORT Handout Exchange) -- This links to a wide assortment of guides for using depository cdrom titles.

    U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent and Trademark Searching -- An excellent resource for locating patents and trademarks. See also the European Union Patent Office site.

    Healthfinder -- Created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this site consists of many health and human services links, including dictionaries and other databases. Related to this government site are Healthinfo (enables the searching of the Merck manuals online); (links for many weekly Webzines and other health-related sites).

    History of the United States -- Dan Mabry's Historical Text Archive presented in these broad categories: Native American , Colonial, Revolution, Early Republic, 19th Century, 20th Century, African American, Social history, State and local history, Wars, Constitutions, Photographs, Women.

    The United States Constitution