Answered By: Sarah Morehouse
Last Updated: Aug 08, 2016     Views: 64

When you’re in need of a piece of information or data, form or report that you know the U.S. federal government produces, but have no idea how to locate it, follow these tips and resources for help:

1. Search tips:

  • Most federal government sites contain the .gov or .mil (military sites) suffix in the URL – you can often locate a specific department by using the appropriate domain combined with the department abbreviation or name. For example, the Dept. of Justice is: the Army home page is:
  • You can limit a Google search to .gov or .mil pages by placing (or at the end of your search string (e.g.: “mercury emissions”
  • If you need a government document that you cannot find online, you can Locate a Federal Depository Library near you and tap the free collections, tools and expert knowledge of the librarians there.

2. Search tools:
There are a number of portal sites that can be used to quickly search or browse through government web pages:

  • – official gateway for all government information. Includes sections for data, laws, forms, maps, etc.
  • GPO Access – publishes most official documents produced by all three branches of the government, such as congressional bills, Supreme Court documents and public papers of the President.
  • – especially useful for locating scientific and technical documents.
  • Thomas – find bills, laws, congressional reports, anything related to the legislative branch.
  • U.S. Census: American Factfinder – source for current population, economic, and geographic census information.

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