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Government Docs.

Governments gather a great deal of information while performing various functions for their citizens. Because public funds are used to gather, analyze, publish, and disperse information; much of the data is freely available with exceptions made for items considered of "national security." 

Some types of government information generates a great deal of public interest, such as the National Parks Service.  Other types is more specialized and more obscure.

Some of this information is available directly from the government source.  Other information is available through a publication agency or is sold for commercial purposes.  By nature, government agencies tend to be hierarchical:  International, national, state, local, and city/village/county/town.

Because of complexities and similarity in document titles, report and document numbers are used to provide a classification number.  Government agencies are sometimes reorganized and this results in changes in classification systems.

The net result is that government documents have wide ranges of utility for different audiences.  The process of identifying and accessing information can also be challenging.

Here are some links to locate government documents:

Government Documents General Search Tools

FirstGov

Google's Uncle Sam Search

ClearFreight Government Resources 

Ready Reference Guides to Government Documents

Librarian's Index to the Internet 

RefDesk.com US Government Resources 

Temple University Government Documents Library 

Whitewater Library Govt Docs 

Duke University Libraries - Government Documents and Maps 

Commercial Guides to Government Documents

GovStartPage.com

GovSpot.com 

The Great American Web Site 

Keeping America Informed: How to Navigate the US Goverment Printing Office Web Site

Major University Government Documents Sites

UIUC Government Documents Library

Northwestern University Government Documents

World War II Poster Collection 

US States

US Cities

Chicago and Cook County

Maps

US Govt Web Sites for Kids

GODORT Handout Exchange

University of Michigan Government Document Subject guide

University of Michigan Documents Center

Federal Guides and Access Points

Government Printing Office

GPO Access  This site searches government databases.  Useful links include:  Databases are described Search the Catalog and Browse topics alphabetically 

U.S. Government ManualThe United States Government Manual provides comprehensive information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. It also includes information on quasi-official agencies; international organizations in which the United States participates; and boards, commissions, and committees

Catalog of US Government Publications  The Catalog is a search and retrieval service that provides bibliographic records of U.S. Government information products. Use it to link to Federal agency online resources or identify materials distributed to Federal Depository Libraries. Coverage begins with January 1994 and new records are added daily. New Electronic Titles contains online titles that are the latest entries in the Catalog or are in the queue to be added to it.

How to Search for Government Documents

The White House

CIA

Thomas  Federal Legislative Information http://thomas.loc.gov/

Federal Statistics

FedWorld.gov

FedStats

MapStats

Census Bureau

American FactFinder

Statistical Abstracts of the United States 

State and Metropolitan Area Data Book

County and City Data Book

USA Counties

County Profiles

State and County Demographic and Economic Profiles & Tiger Map

Per capita income, 1989

Population Estimates

Census of 1880

Wisconsin Sites

Badger State Server

Wisconsin DOA Demographic Services Center

Wisconsin Blue Book

State Historical Society of Wisconsin

Government Publications

Federal Internet Resources

Accessible Archives

Wisconsin State law Library Courts, legislation, Executive, local government, forms ,tribal law, legal topics index.  This site contains an excellent page of links to news and newspapers, and newspaper front pages

Wisconsin Veterans Museum

Wisconsin Portal

Comprehensive and International Sites: A few Examples

Hieros Gamos: The Comprehensive Law and Government Site

International Statistical Agencies

IPL: Law, Government and Political Science

Search for state and international law, government, etc.

United Nations Index

Comprehensive International Governmental Organizations Site

International Documents

European SchoolNet  European Schoolnet Launches 'myEurope' Project A new collaborative learning project about European culture, mobility and citizenship

Britain: National Grid For Learning

More Useful Sites

Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids

First Amendment Handbook http://www.rcfp.org/handbook/viewpage.cgi

Public Record Office, UK http://www.pro.gov.uk/

OYEZ Project at NorthWestern Supreme Court dockets

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