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Government Resources: Search Tools

Federal and state sources for information

Search Tools

  • GovInfo The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) launches and ushers in a new, dynamic way for the public to discover with no fee access to government information on the three branches of the federal government. Govinfo is a user-friendly, modernized site that provides an easy to use navigation system accessible on smartphones, tablets, laptops and personal computers. GPO receives information from federal agencies and organizations in all three branches of the government. Its content feeds The Library of Congress’ and the Federal Register site. Govinfo replaced GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) in March 2018.

    There are more than 1.5 million titles available on govinfo, with more added daily. Collections on govinfo include:

  • The Congressional Record
  • Federal Register
  • Congressional Calendars, Hearings, Reports
  • Bills
  • The U.S. Code
  • Code of Federal Regulations
  • U.S. Courts Opinions
  • The Federal Budget
  • Some key features on govinfo:

  •  Mobile-friendly optimized for screen size
  • An ABC list of collections
  • Quick Links to popular publications
  • Related Documents
  • Search by Calendar
  • Shareable social media content
  • The Government Information Online (GIO) Virtual Reference Service, coordinated by the GODORT Education Committee, is a partnership with GPO to handle reference questions that are received through AskGPO.  This free service also allows users to submit questions directly and includes a helpful FAQ for commonly asked reference questions.  GIO covers all types of government information: federal, state, local, and international.  The service is staffed by volunteer government information librarians.

  • Justia : provides free case law, codes, regulations, statutes, and legal information - also blogs, alerts, opinion summaries, federal dockets - all searchable - The experts at Justia excel at providing open source, reliable, and wide ranging access to the law.

  • MetaLib (Government Printing Office) allows Federal depository libraries to research and identify Federal resources. Use MetaLib's federated searching to retrieve reports, articles, and citations by simultaneously searching across multiple databases (including reference databases, digital repositories or subject-based Web gateways). This tool, a service of the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP), provides:

    • Simultaneous searching across multiple databases.
    • Search individual databases using the A-Z Resource List.
    • Create your own sets of searchable database collections using the A-Z Resource List.
    • Access and search the "native" interface of these databases from the originating institution/agency.
    • Save configurations and resources to your "E-shelf", a personalized collection manager. The E-shelf is saved based on your browser session and is not permanent.
    • Email and/or save records in various formats (e.g., MARC21, Standard, ProCite) and encoding (e.g., UTF-8, ISO 8859-1, ASCII).
  • : The U.S. government's official web portal to provide the public with easy, one-stop access to all online U.S. Federal Government resources.
  • : Provides public access to Federal datasets.
  • Congressional Universe : Accesses Congressional publications, provides information about members of Congress and Congressional committees, and locates bills, laws, and regulations.
  • Ben's Guide to U. S. Government for Kids : Created by the Government Printing Office, this well-designed site introduces children to how the government works. It covers the U. S. Constitution, how laws are made, the branches of government, and citizenship. The site is divided into sections aimed at age groups K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, with a separate section for parents and educators. It includes games and activities, has an email function for kids to ask questions of Ben Franklin (the first public librarian), and provides extensive links to other government related sites.
  • Health.Gov : Contains a portal to the Web sites of a number of multi-agency health initiatives and activities of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other Federal departments and agencies.
  • : Centralizes Citizen Comments on Proposed Federal Legislation. Created as the first step in the online rulemaking initiative. Citizens can search, review, and comment on Federal agency rules and proposed rules open for comment.
  • : Provides a gateway to authoritative selected science information provided by U.S. Government agencies, including research and development results.
  • House Values: Commercial site that allows you to find the value of houses in an surrounding area by zip code.

Indexing Sites

  • FedWorld : Gateway to government research and development publications and other government information developed and maintained by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Technical and Information Service (NTIS).
  • Humanities & Social Sciences Index Retrospective: 1907-1984 : Indexes nearly 1,200 periodicals in the social sciences and humanities, providing citations to more than 1,300,000 articles. Covers topics in archaeology and classical studies, anthropology, folklore, history, gender studies, language and literature, economics, drama, political science, philosophy, international relations, music, sociology, journalism, psychology, religion, geography, and many other related subject.
  • University of Michigan Documents Center : A central reference and referral point for government information, whether local, state, federal, foreign or international.

Depository Tools

Depository Tools to assist in the maintenance of federal and Virginia depository items.

Government Documents

Federal Depository Library

Summer Durrant
Collection Services Librarian
Government Documents Coordinator

Phyllis Johnson
Government Documents Assistant