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It's a Jungle Out There! Simplifying the Hunt for Government Information: Searching

Resources for a presentation at the Florida Library Association annual conference, May 8, 2009

USA.gov

USA.gov - "the U.S. government's official web portal" - provides multiple ways to browse or search for information:

  • For Citizens
  • For Businesses and Non-Profits
  • For Governments and Government Employees
  • For Visitors to the U.S.
  • GPO Access

    GPO Access (U.S. Government Printing Office) - provides free electronic access to the official versions of many government publications.

    Browse Topics (GPO & Oklahoma State University) - "Professional librarians from the Federal depository library community have created a browseable list of Federal Web sites based off broad subject areas. Choose a category and then click on a listing to read a detailed description of the services provided by a site."

    Federal Agencies Directory (GPO & Louisiana State University) - Browse or search by agency keyword.

    Top 3 Recommended Print Publications

    Florida Statistical Abstract - available for order from the Bureau of Economic & Business Research, University of Florida.

    "The Florida Statistical Abstract is your guide to sources of data from the U.S. Census Bureau; other federal, state, and local government agencies; and private organizations. This valuable, informative source is indispensable as

    • a comprehensive data source about Florida’s cities, counties, planning districts, and metropolitan areas
    • a comparative source of Florida to other sunbelt states, other populous states, the U.S., and countries similar in size and scope to Florida
    • a starting point for research
    • an up-to-date, inclusive answer to Florida reference questions"

    Florida Public Records Handbook - available for order from First Amendment Foundation or the author's website.

    "It profiles more than 150 of Florida's most useful state and local public records, sharing what type of information is available and where it can be found. An ideal reference for consumers, business, the media, community activists, genealogists, attorneys, students, law enforcement officers or anyone else seeking useful information from local and state government."

    Statistical Abstract of the United States - available for order from the U.S. Government Bookstore.

    "the standard summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. It is designed to serve as a convenient volume for statistical reference and as a guide to other statistical publications and sources. Serving as the official Federal summary of statistics, it is derived from many statistical sources, both government and private."

    Tips for Searching

    See also Tips for Searching.

    Florida Electronic Federal Depository Library

    Florida Electronic Federal Depository Library (University of Florida) - "to meet the needs of researchers and the general public for access to information by and about the state of Florida and its local governments."

    Florida Government Information Locator

    Florida Government Information Locator (State Library of Florida) - "a virtual card catalog of government information available on the Internet and beyond. Although the focus of the Locator is information from and about Florida State government, we recognize the relationships between levels of government and include links to local and federal government resources as well."

    Other Key Resources

    See also the resources listed in the Searching tab.

    Access & Freedom of Information identifies resources for accessing public records and for making freedom of information requests.

    Florida Government Accountability Report (Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability, Florida Legislature)

    "provides legislators and the public with profiles of state government agencies and programs. Generally, profiles provide the following information about programs:

    • why Florida provides the program,
    • how the program is funded,
    • current issues facing the program, and
    • references to other sources of program information and assessments."

    State Agency Databases (State & Local Documents Task Force, GODORT, American Library Association) is a wiki directory for all 50 states.