Popular Government Resources

The U.S. Government provides a wealth of information for the public. Navigating the sea of information can be daunting, so at the Indiana State Library, we have created a series of subject guides relating to federal government information. The first subject guide identifies large publishers of government information. If you are beginning research and am looking for federal government resources, the resources below are a great starting point.

Locating Government Resources

Archival Research Catalog – National Archives and Records Administration: The National Archives is the nation’s record keeper. Home of the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and Constitution, the National Archives contains treasured national documents, family history records, military records, and naturalization records. Remember to think about the National Archives when researching historical information published by the government (i.e. federal land grants, federal treaties, correspondence to politicians, etc.).

Catalog.gpo.gov – Catalog of U.S. Government Publications: The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP) is the finding tool for electronic and print publications from the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the U.S. government. These publications make up the National Bibliography of U.S. Government Publications. The CGP contains descriptive records for historical and current publications and provides direct links to those that are available online.

GovInfo – Government Printing Office: GovInfo, previously FDsys, is the Government Publishing Office’s digital collections system. GovInfo provides free online access to official publications from all three branches of the Federal Government. Researchers can browse for information by collection, Congressional committee, date, and Government author. New batches of digital content are routinely uploaded, so be sure to check back in every now than then to see what’s new.

American State Papers – Library of Congress: The American State Papers, comprising a total of thirty-eight physical volumes, contain the legislative and executive documents of Congress during the period 1789 to 1838. The collection includes documents that cover the critical historical gap from 1789 to the printing of the first volume of the U.S. Serial Set in 1817. The books are arranged into ten topical classes or series.

OFR.gov – Office of the Federal Register: The Federal Register system is an official legal information service of the United States government. The list of documents posted online for public inspection is divided into “Special Filing” and “Regular Filing” sections. There is no general legal distinction as between a special and regular filing, except for the date and time differences discussed below. The differentiation between regular and special filing documents usually relates to the timing and complexity of publication in the typeset edition of the Federal Register.

USA.gov – Official web portal of the US Government: USA.gov is a sort of catch all for locating government activities and information. The website provides information on a wide variety of subjects including healthcare, laws and legal issues, travel and immigration, education, housing and community, military and veterans, job hunting and career building, and many more. USA.gov is less academic research oriented compared to the other sites listed above.