Augustana College printing logo

Government Information on the Web

U.S. Government Information Resources

This is a guide to websites that provide full-text access to United States government publications and other documents. Most of the links below lead directly to full-text access points, not the home pages of the sponsoring government agencies. Use as a portal for finding government websites other than those listed here.

Major Government Resources:
The primary web portal to information on the United States government. Begin here to find government agencies' websites, or browse for a variety of other types of information provided by the government.

Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (Government Printing Office)
Centralized catalog for accessing a large variety of government publications. Links to full-text are provided where available. For assistance in finding print documents see the CGP's Federal Depository Library Directory.

GPO Access Online Resources: Resource List A-Z or By Branch of Government
A comprehensive list of publications and other resources available in full-text online through the Government Printing Office. Browse by either the alphabetized list of titles, or by branch of government. Years of availability are clearly indicated for each publication. Some highlights from this resource list:

  • 9-11 Commission Report
  • Congressional Hearings
  • Historic Government Publications from World War II
  • Historical Publications of the United States Commission on Civil Rights
  • Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States
  • State of the Union Addresses
  • Supreme Court Nomination Hearings

Statistical Abstract of the United States (U.S. Census Bureau)
Statistics on a wide range of social, economic and political topics. These statistics come from a variety of government agencies and private organizations, as well as the most recent United States census. The Statistical Abstract is also available in print in the Tredway Library's reference collection: HA202 .S797

back to top


Resources by Branch of Government:

Executive Branch:
Information on the present administration and its agenda. For addresses, press releases and other statements click "The Briefing Room."

See below for publications by executive department and independent agencies of the executive branch.

Legislative Branch:

Congressional Budget Office
The CBO provides Congress with nonpartisan research and analysis of issues relevant to the government budget. Its reports are available here.

Congressional Research Service Reports (University of North Texas Libraries)
Congressional Research Service Reports (Center for Democracy and Technology)
Reports compiled by the service that conducts research for Congress. There is no single government site that provides complete access to these, but other organizations have developed online collections to make them available. These are two of the more extensive collections.

Government Accountability Office Reports (Government Accountability Office)
GAO reports, some of which date back to the earlier 20th century. Search by full-text or report title. Documents will be available in html and pdf formats.

Library of Congress Digital Collections (Library of Congress)
An easy access point to digitized portions of the Library of Congress's collections, including the American Memory Project. This site is best suited to browsing, as the search box on the top right-hand corner of the page is for the entire Library of Congress website, not just the digital collections.

THOMAS (Library of Congress)
Full-text of various types of legislative documents, including bills, treaties and the Congressional Record. Named after Thomas Jefferson, this service was established in 1995 at the order of the 104th Congress, to increase the public's access to legislative information.

For other Congessional publications, including Congressional Hearings and the Congressional Record, see the GPO Access resource list, above.

Judicial Branch:

Supreme Court Decisions, 1937-1975 (National Technical Information Service)
Full-text of Supreme Court decisions 1937-1975. The top search boxes are for case-name searches; the bottom search boxes are for full-text, keyword searches. The National Technical Information Service, which is part of the Department of Commerce, provides this service through FedWorld, an online project designed to disseminate government information to the public.

Supreme Court Decisions, 1991-present (Supreme Court of the United States)
This site quite simply provides access to pdf versions of bound volumes; it is not readily searchable. A volume can be over 1000 pages, and there is one pdf file for each volume, so files will take some time to open completely; it is advisable to download files before opening them, to avoid encountering a "time-out" problem. The site also warns that, in the case of discrepancies, the print versions of these documents are still considered authoritative. Click "Information About Opinions" on the main page for detailed background on the issuance and dissemination of Supreme Court opinions.

back to top


Resources by Executive Department:


--U. S. Forest Service: Treesearch
Full-text of articles on forestry written by U. S. Forest Service scientists. All publications since January 2004 are available here; older publications are in the process of being added, but coverage is not complete.


--Bureau of the Census: American Factfinder
Fast-facts drawn from the 2000 census. The table of contents, on the left-hand side of the page, leads to categories of census-related, demographic information.

--Bureau of the Census: 2000 Census of Population and Housing
Access point for pdf versions of the 2000 census: begin by narrowing down to a particular section of the document, from which point you can open a pdf of that section. Clicking "Demographic Profile Data Search" leads to a search screen from which you select a state, followed by a particular area within that state, to go immediately to that narrowly-defined portion of the census. Portions of earlier decennial censuses have also been digitized in an effort to make as much census information as possible readily available to the public.

--U. S. Patent and Trademark Office: Patent Search
Full-text patents 1976-present; page images 1790-1975. The latter are searchable only by patent number, issue date, and current U.S. classifications. Read the Notices and Policies page for further information.

DEFENSE: Publications
A small selection of documents are linked from the main publications page; others are locatable through the search function or document archive, the latter of which is organized alphabetically by document title (see links on the right side of the publications page).

Secretary of Defense Speeches Archive
Beginning January 1995; speeches are organized by date.


--Institute of Education Sciences: Publications & Products Search
Publications from a variety of sub-agencies of the Department of Education. Search by title, author, subject, organization or type of publication.

--National Center for Education Statistics: Annual Reports
Reports from the organization in charge of education-related data in the United States. Click on a report title to access the most recent version. Browse the tabs on top of the page-"Surveys & Programs," "Tables & Figures," etc.-for additional information compiled by the NCES.

ENERGY: Information Bridge
Department of Energy research reports since 1991. This site is not browsable, but it offers a "Fielded Search" option (by such criteria as author, research organization, sponsoring organization, etc.) in addition to the "Basic Search" on the main page.

--National Renewable Energy Laboratory: NREL Publications
Search interface for publications of the NREL, which specializes in renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies. Publications go back to 1977, and many are available full-text.


--Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: CDC Wonder
Database of CDC reports and statistical data on a wide variety of public health topics. CDC Wonder is both keyword-searchable and browsable. Browsing is available both by subject ("Topics" tab) and by an alphabetical listing of report and dataset titles ("A-Z Index" tab).

--National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health: PubMed
Citations to journal articles in medicine going back to the 1950s. Many articles are available in full-text; look for links to full-text by the article's citation. For articles not available in full-text, check "Augustana's Periodicals" to see if we subscribe to the publication. To get the complete title of the journal, open the article abstract by clicking on the author's name; then, point your mouse at the hyperlinked abbreviation of the journal title.

HOMELAND SECURITY: Immigration Statistics
Recent reports on immigration in the United States, including legal and illegal immigration, naturalization, and refugees.

Publications and research reports from HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research. See the First Time Visitor Page for specifics on using this site.


--Bureau of Land Management: General Land Office Records
Records of the sale of U.S. government-owned land. The main feature of this site is the "Land Patent Search": Enter the state and the name of a person who (may have) bought land from the United States government; or, go to the "Standard" search tab and choose "All States" if the location of the sale is unknown. Clicking on the name of the person being searched leads to basic information about the sale. From here, click on the "Document Image" tab, then select a file type, to access a digitized version of the original document. Recently added to the General Land Office Records site are surveys conducted at the time the land was sold; these are still being updated and do not cover all 50 states.

--National Park Service: History
Publications on various topics in national park history, including the founding and administration of parks; prehistory and history prior to parks' founding; and geology, ecology and environmental history, to name just a few. Topics covered vary from park to park. The National Park Service has permission to reproduce all of these documents full-text online, but note that most are still under copyright. In the table of contents on the left-hand side of the page, click "National Park Service History" for information on the NPS as a whole, and "Park Histories" for information on particular national parks.

--National Park Service: National Historic Landmark Theme Studies
Studies conducted to determine or justify the historic value of sites under consideration for National Historic Landmark status. These tend to be completed in consultation with scholars and experts in the area of study. Click here for the NPS's definition of theme studies. To find specific historic landmarks and/or the applications submitted to have sites named landmarks, browse the "Quicklinks" on the National Historic Landmarks webpage.

--United States Geological Survey: Publications Warehouse
The USGS is a science organization that provides impartial information on the health of our ecosystems and environment, natural hazards, natural resources, the impacts of climate and land-use change, and core science systems.

On the main page of the USGS site to search for full text publications, go to the upper right hand corner and click on SEARCH USGS. Then choose Publications Warehouse. You will see a basic search box in the center of the screen, but it will be more useful to use the Advanced Search option just below it. A list of search results are in the left frame; links to full text in the right one.

To access maps in USGS, click the left hand tab titled Maps, Imagery and Publications. The first link takes you to downloadable topographic maps; other options are listed below. If you have questions about navigating this site, contact Connie Ghinazzi.

JUSTICE: Resources or FOIA Reading Rooms
Reports and other DOJ publications, available full-text online for free. On the "Resources" site click "Publications by Agency" for links to online reading rooms--collections of full-text electronic publications--established by sub-agencies of the Department of Justice. The "FOIA Reading Rooms" provide access to electronic records made available specifically through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); these may overlap somewhat--but not entirely--with those linked through the "Resources" site.

--Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives: Publications
Browsable as opposed to searchable; organized by topic and type of information. The earliest available publications go back to the mid-1990s.

--Federal Bureau of Investigation: Electronic Reading Room
FBI files released under the Freedom of Information Act; the most commonly-requested items have been digitized and made available at this website. The easiest access points are the Electronic Reading Room A-Z list and/or browsing categories.

LABOR: FOIA Reading Room
A list of staff manuals; opinions and orders; policy statements; and other frequently-requested documents from all sub-agencies of the Department of Labor. Organized by type of publication.

--Bureau of Labor Statistics: Office of Publications & Special Studies
Publications from the agency that keeps track of labor-related data in the United States, for use both by the government and by U. S. citizens and residents. Browse by publication type. Or, click on one of the BLS's most popular publications, on the left-hand side of the page; the most significant of these is the Occupational Outlook Handbook, a guide to the current market for various careers and job-types across the United States.

STATE: Secretary's Comments
Transcripts of interviews, remarks and other statements by the Secretary of State. On the left-hand side of the page, click on a year to find remarks by date; or, click "Search Secretary of State Pages" to find remarks by topic or keyword.

--Bureau of Public Affairs: Background Notes
Background/overview information on the countries of the world-basic statistics, demographic information, history, economy, politics and foreign relations-compiled by the regional bureaus of the Department of State. This webpage provides access to the most recent Background Notes on each country, but a link near the top of the page leads to earlier editions.


--Internal Revenue Service: Forms and Publications
For locating, downloading and printing federal tax forms and other tax-related information from the IRS.

TRANSPORTATION: DOT Library: Online Digital Special Collections
Digitized documents from the Department of Transportation. The links on this main page are titles of collections; click on a title to access lists of individual documents within each collection.

-- Nat'l Highway Traffic Safety Admin.: Fatality Analysis Reporting System Encyclopedia
For national data on traffic accidents going back to 1994. The main page provides a general overview. Click "Reports" for more focused break-downs of the data; click "Query" to construct your own report; or click "Publications" to access brochures, fact sheets and other print reports in pdf format.

Brief list of digitized documents from the Department of Veterans' Affairs, mostly reports, policies and other documents on the workings of the department.

back to top


Resources from Independent Executive Agencies:

Central Intelligence Agency: FOIA Electronic Reading Room
Access point for declassified CIA documents, many of which are available electronically. The search box is on the top of this page; or, browse featured collections or frequently-requested documents. Click "Publications," in the menu on the left-hand side of the page, for other items, including the CIA World Factbook.

Environmental Protection Agency: National Service Center for Environmental Publications
Thousands of Environmental Protection Agency publications, many of which are free and full-text. Use the "Simple," "Field" or "Advanced" search options; browsing is not advisable here, as browsing menus are arranged almost strictly by EPA document number.

National Archives and Records Administration:

Archival Research Catalog
The online catalog for the National Archives and Records Administration. Searches may be limited to only those documents that have been digitized and made available online: click the blue and yellow ARC icon in the middle of this page, then click the "Digital Copies" button on the new window that appears. Also see the Archival Research Catalog Galleries for a quick overview of topics and collections currently being featured by the National Archives.

100 Milestone Documents
One hundred primary documents significant to United States history. Arrangement is strictly chronological.

Access to Archival Databases
Searches electronic records compiled by a variety of government agencies. Records to be made available were determined by their interest value: most address specific people, places and dates and are helpful for research in areas like genealogy and history. "Browse by Category" to get a broad overview of what is available, or select the "Getting Started Guide" for help with finding and using the available information.

back to top


Artwork, Photographs and Other Images:

Galaxy of Images (Smithsonian Institution Libraries)
Digital reproductions of images from books owned by the Smithsonian Institution Libraries. Point to "Explore the Collections" on the upper left-hand corner of the page, then select from the searching and browsing options.

National Gallery of Art: The Collection (National Gallery of Art)
Digital images of a significant portion of the National Gallery of Art's collection. On the collection's main webpage, search by a variety of parameters (title, author, subject, provenance, accession number, etc.) or scroll down to browse.

National Park Service Photographs (National Park Service / Harpers Ferry Center)
Over 2000 photographs of national parks, many dating back to the 19th century or early 20th century. Click "Search the Collection" to begin.

NIX: NASA Image eXchange (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
Photos and images of outer space, as well as goings-on at NASA. Search on the main NIX page; or, browse by subject categories on the right-hand side of the main page.

Smithsonian Photography Initiative (Smithsonian Institution)
A portion of the more than 13 million photographs owned by the Smithsonian Institution. Begin by clicking "Search Images" on the top right-hand corner of the page. Then, conduct a keyword search or browse by topic.

back to top