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Finding Government and Public Information Online Subject Guide

A pathfinder designed to educate people about how to access public and government information (OPRA).

Electronic Resources

Congressional Staff Directory
(Library use only)
Congressional Staff Directory on the Web allows the user to browse each Member listing with biography, contact information, staff and committee assignments, as though the user were looking at the print directory. Search by House or Senate Member, staff name, district, party affiliation, chamber, committee, subcommittee or key word or phrase.

World Wide Web Resources

Catalog of US Government Publications

Search government publications by author, title, subject area, or keywords on this site.


"FirstGov is intended to be your 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 - and everything in between!... FirstGov allows users to browse a wealth of information and enables users to conduct important business online - such as applying for student loans, tracking Social Security benefits, comparing Medicare options and even administering government grants and contracts."

GPO Access to Databases

An alphabetical listing of databases with HTML links, available via GPO Access website. This list includes such databases as Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids, Commerce Business Daily (CBDNet), Congressional Documents, CD-ROMs for Sale, Federal Depository Library Program, Supreme Court Decisions, 1992 Term forward, United States Government Online Bookstore, and Federal Web Sites Hosted by GPO Access.

The National Security Archive

"The National Security Archive is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)." View selected documents at this site on topics ranging from the Cuban Missile Crisis to the Nixon-Elvis meeting.


A seach engine restricted to Web pages in the .gov (U.S. federal government) domain, covering millions of pages. Sorts results via popularity and keeps cached versions of indexed pages (both a la Google).

Search Systems

A directory of freely available public information databases for the United States, individual U.S. states, and Canada. Availability varies from state to state, but databases frequently cover such topics as legislative information, sex offender registries, corporate filings, property records, obituaries, and the like.

FOIA Resources

This page is run off of the National Archives website and gives pertinent information about how to file for government records.

THOMAS (Library of Congress)

"The Library of Congress THOMAS site is the source for federal legislative information.  THOMAS provides several options for finding bills, resolutions, and legislative histories from 1973 to the present.  Legislative information can be searched across multiple Congresses.  THOMAS is also the source for presidential nominations, treaties, committee reports, legislative resources for researchers and teachers.  THOMAS draws on the resources of the Library of Congress to provide users with valuable and historical information related to the legislative process."

U.S. Courts: Federal Judiciary Homepage

Homepage for the Federal Judiciary, with links to the Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeals, Bankruptcy, and District Courts. Has links to all circuit courts of appeal, including D.C. and U.S. Bankruptcy courts of appeal, as well as state District Courts and Bankruptcy Courts within each circuit. Contains links to periodicals, publications, reports, statistics and other resources

United States Government Manual

"The United States Government Manual database contains comprehensive information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial and executive branches. The Manual also includes information on quasi-official agencies; international organizations in which the United States participates; and boards, commissions and committees. Documents are available as ASCII text and as Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files." Updated annually.

Print Resources


Public records online : Facts on Demand Press, c1997. Call # R 350.714 PU

The sourcebook to public record information : the comprehensive guide to county, state, & federal public records sources / [edited by Peter J. Weber and Michael Sankey] Tempe, AZ : BRB Publications, c2005. Call # R 352.3 SO

Non Fiction

Eggers, William D.  Government 2.0 : using technology to improve education, cut red tape, reduce gridlock, and enhance democracy Lanham, MD : Rowman & Littlefield : Distributed by National Book Network, c2005. Call # 352.387 EG

Find public records fast : the complete state, county, and courthouse locator / [edited by Michael Sankey & Carl R. Ernst] Tempe, AZ : Facts on Demand Press, c1998. Call # 353 SA

Hetherington, Cynthia The manual to online public records : the researcher's tool to online resources of public records and public information Tempe, AZ : Facts on Demand Press, c2008. Call # 025.06 HE

Leigh, David and Harding, Luke Wikileaks : inside Julian Assange's war on secrecy

Levitt, Carol A. and Rosch, Mark E. Find info like a pro. vol 2 : mining the Internet's public records for investigative research Chicago, IL : American Bar Association, c2011. Call # 340.072 LE

Public records online : the national guide to private & government online sources of public records Tempe, AZ : Facts on Demand Press, c2006. Call # 350.714 PU

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