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Government Information: Common Questions

General Information Sources


Govinfo is the Government Printing Office’s information storage and retrieval site which provides access to authenticated (digitally signed), official information from all three branches of government. It allows for simple or advanced searching of government information and currently provides the latest access (in many cases updated daily) to Presidential documents, Congressional bills, hearings, and calendars, United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions (the Plum Book), economic indicators, federal regulations, the United States Government Manual, and US laws. is the United States Government official web portal.  Services (passports, records, programs), news, contact information, and an orgaznized guide to government agencies.  The topical list of government information is a good place to start for general searches.

ProQuest Congressional 

ProQuest Congressional offers access to a wide selection of information from and about the United States Congress through a single database. The MU Libraries' subscription to ProQuest Congressional allows access to all Miami students and faculty .  Areas covered are:  Congressional Hearings , the Congressional Serial Set, House and Senate reports, House and Senate documents, committee prints & miscellaneous publications, legislative histories, and CRS reports.

National Library of Medicine

Online access to the worlds largest medical library plus a host of other resource from the National Institute of Health. Access to PubMed (one of the largest and most important databases of health and medical articles) medical subject headings, clinical trial information, NIH databases and APIs and numerous other information covering practically any medical topic from AIDS and cancer to women's health information and the visible human project.

" is a gateway to government science information and research results. Currently in its fifth generation, provides a search of over 50 scientific databases and 200 million pages of science information with just one query, and is a gateway to over 2100 scientific Websites."

Current Legislation & Congress - Current and recent legislation, schedules, and represenatives.  " is the official source for federal legislative information. It replaces the nearly 20-year-old site with a system that includes platform mobility, comprehensive information retrieval and user-friendly presentation."

Current and recent (back to 1993) bills and resolutions are available on for the House and Senate, as well as in ProQuest Congressional.

Calendars for both the House and Senate are available on  This is the easiest access to today's business in both the House and Senate.

Current legislation, including sponsors, bill text, and calendars: House Website / Senate Website

Roll-call votes (how reps. voted): House Members / Senators

Business & Economic Resources

EDGAR - The US Securities and Exchange Commission Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system (EDGAR).  All companies foreign and domestic operating in the United States are required to file registrations, reports and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  EDGAR allows anyone to search and access this information.  If you are looking for information on the structure, profits, or operations of a company ask EDGAR.

Basic Information about the United States Government

Core Documents of Our Democracy is a collection that provides American citizens with direct online access to the basic Federal Government documents that define our democratic society.  The  Articles of Confederation, Bill of Rights, famous speeches, court decisions, laws, and links to basic defining Federal Government information resources.

The US System of Government is a guide from the State Department which provides an overview and a variety of sources which describe "how the U.S. government works, including its systems, election processes, foreign policy, social programs, and more."
"The American Memory Project provides free and open access to a multimedia collection of American history and creativity."
Ben's Guide to the Government is intended as an education resource for kindergarten through 12th grade.  New design coming in late 2011.


The Statistical Abstract of the United States should be your first resource for US statistics.  Compiled by the Statistical Compendia branch of the Census Bureau, the Statistical Abstract is drawn from more than 100 sources.  Even if the Abstract doesn't have the specific figure you are looking for it can likely direct you to the organization that will have it.  The Statistical Abstract is also an excellent historical source as it has been published continuously since 1878, and is available in the MU Libraries from 1882 to the present.

The following are the primary statistical agencies and bureaus of the United States Government which collect statistics on a wide range of topics.  Many of these agencies have a variety of topic specific reports available on their websites in addition to statistical information.

National Center for Health Statistics

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Bureau of Economic Analysis

Bureau of Justice Statistics

National Center for Education Statistics

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Family and Child Statistics

USGS Mineral Information

Social Security Statistics

National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics

Tax Statistics

National Center for Vetrans Analysis and Statistics

National Agricultural Statistical Service

USDA Economics, Statistics and Market Information System

USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service Databases