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 knowledge gives."
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 governments.


General Resources

U.S. Federal Government:

U.S. Federal Government Sites for Journalists/Media:

U.S. State Governments:

Foreign Governments:

International Intergovernmental Organizations:


U.S. States

U.S. Federal Government
Foreign Governments
United Nations
International Intergovernmental Organizations (IGO's)

Declassified Documents
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

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 962-1151 Updated 23 August 2004.