University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Davis Library, Reference Department
JOMC 50: Government Information on the Web
"A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it
is but a prologue
to a farce or tragedy or perhaps both.
Knowledge will forever govern ignorance and
a people who mean to be their own governors
must arm themselves with the power which
James Madison, 4th President of the U.S..
What does Government Information include?
Statistics, administrative reports, committee and commission reports, debates in the
legislature, research reports, official policy statements, speeches of public officials,
rules and regulations, consumer information, maps and charts, periodicals, directories,
bibliographies, regulatory decisions and opinions, and more.
Information is produced and distributed at all levels of government: local,
state, U.S. federal, international intergovernmental organizations, and foreign
- How to Effectively Locate Government
Information on the World Wide Web,
Sherry DeDecker, Head, Government Information Center,
University of California, Santa Barbara.
- Google-UncleSam, searches internet
domains .gov or .mil. This includes
U.S. federal, state, and military sites.
Information Resources, Davis Library, Reference Department.
Quick Reference-Government Information, Davis Library, Reference Department.
- Searching for
Government Information, Davis Library, Reference Department.
Article Databases and More, Davis Library Home Page. Government information databases.
U.S. Federal Government:
U.S. Federal Government Sites for Journalists/Media:
Quick Reference - Federal Information, Davis Library, Reference Department.
- FirstGov, "The official government
gateways for citizens, business, and government employees."
- GPO Access, U.S. executive,
legislative, and judicial information, full-text. http://www.gpoaccess.gov/index.html
- Thomas, Legislative information from the
Library of Congress.
- FedStats, a gateway to statistics from
over 100 federal agencies.
- U.S. Census Bureau, detailed information
is available for the 1990 and 2000 census.
- Finding Data on the Internet, a Journalists
Guide. From RobertNiles.com.
- Freedom of Information Act Guide (FOIA)
from the Department of Justice. Links to FOIA contacts at other federal agencies.
- Links to
U.S. Government News, InfoUSA, U.S. Department of State.
- News/Press Releases from
Federal Agencies, National Contact Center, Federal Consumer Information Center.
- Useful Web Links for
Journalists, U.S. Department of State.
- News Media
Page, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
- Press Resources, DefenseLink,
U.S. Department of Defense.
Internet Resources of Interest to Journalists Covering the Environment, Ames
Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy.
- Journalists' Guide to Remote Sensing Resources
on the Internet.
- Federal Government
Information, the Journalist's Tool Box.
U.S. State Governments:
International Intergovernmental Organizations:
PRINT RESOURCES IN DAVIS LIBRARY
U.S. Federal Government
- We have material from all 50 states.
- We have a small collection of North Carolina publications. The North Carolina
Collection in Wilson Library is the campus depository for North Carolina publications.
- State publications are not listed in the library online catalog; ask at the
Reference Desk for assistance.
- Our collection includes material published since the 18th century.
- Most items published since 1976 listed in online catalog.
- Indexes for pre-1976 publications are available in the Davis Reference Department. Ask at the Reference Desk for assistance.
- Foreign government publications are listed in the UNC-CH Online Catalog by agency, title, and subject.
- The Reference Department has a large collection of indexes to historical British publications.
International Intergovernmental Organizations (IGO's)
- UNC-CH has been a UN depository since 1946. The collection is shelved in the basement of Davis Library. Ask at the Davis Reference Desk for assistance.
- UNBISnet. Indexes United Nations publications. http://unbisnet.un.org/
Many, but not all, of the documents indexed are available in the Davis Library Reference Department.
- Most publications from international organizations--NATO, European Union, Council of Europe, etc. are listed in the UNC-CH Online Catalog.
- Ask at the Reference Desk if you can't find a publication listed in the online catalog.
- Duke University is a depository for European Union publications.
There were several questions about declassified documents during our class session.
Here are a few websites if you want more information.
Learning About Government Information
- Declassified Documents Reference System, a UNC-CH Library Article Database.
- Department of State, an extensive collection
of declassified material.
- Gulflink, declassified
documents from the Gulf War, 1991.
- Electronic Reading Room, from the
CIA. Includes such topis as: UFO's, Bay of Pigs, Guatemala, etc.
You can do a search or just browse through a list of documents.
- National Security Archive, George
Washington University. This includes many free declassified documents as well as various
collections that need
to be purchased--those are available at Duke University under the "Digital National Security Archive."
Public Access to Government Information in the 21st Century,
statement of Daniel P. O'Mahony, Brown University Library, before the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and
Administration. This covers the importance and value of government information.
Key Principles on Government Information,
from the Government Documents Round Table, American Library Association.
Morehead, Joe, 1931- Introduction to United States government information sources /
6th ed. Englewood, Colo. : Libraries Unlimited, 1999. Z1223.Z7 M665 1999. Copies available
at the Davis Reference Desk, SILS Reference, and Law Reference.
Morehead, Joe, 1931- Essays on public documents and government policies / New York : Haworth Press, c1986.
Z688.G6 M67 1986, SILS Lib and Law stacks
Robinson, Judith Schiek: Tapping the Government Grapevine, 3rd ed. Phoenix, Ariz. : Oryx Press, 1998.
ZA5055.U6 R63 1998. Copies available in Davis, Davis Reference, SILS, and Law Reference.
Hardy, Gayle J., 1942- Subject guide to U.S. government reference sources / 2nd ed. Englewood, Colo.
: Libraries Unlimited, 1996. Z1223.Z7 R63 1996. Copies available at the Davis Reference Desk,
SILS Reference Desk, and Law Reference.
Of particular interest to journalists is:
Covering Government: a Civics Handbook
for Journalists. Rob Armstrong, Iowa State Press, 2002. 268 pages. A concise, handy,
practical overview of the U.S. federal government and state and local governments.
Available in Davis Library, JK276.A76 2002 and the Park Library, REP .A737 2002
Michael Van Fossen, State/International Documents Librarian
http://www.unc.edu/~mvanfos/jomc50.html. Updated 23 August 2004.