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English 101: Freakonomics: Government Information

Why Use Government Information?

  • Comprehensiveness. With a few exceptions, research in almost any subject area is incomplete without consulting government sources
  • Reliability. Government information can be the product of research at the highest level
  • Authenticity. Many electronic government publications come with authentication seals
  • Primary sources. Much government information—such as hearings, court cases, diplomatic papers—is considered primary source material
  • Economy. Almost all government information is freely available to all users, not just members of the St. Mary's community (NOTE: it's free to you because, as taxpayers, you've already paid for it!)
  • Responsibility. It's our duty as citizens of a democracy to be informed about governmental actions
Government Online - Pew Report on how Americans are accessing and using government information online.

What Subjects are Covered in Government Publications?

Government publications provide current and historical information on a wide range of subjects: art and architecture, business and economics, consumer protection, criminal justice, culture and folk life, education, energy and the environment, foreign and international relations, health and medicine, labor, laws and regulations, nutrition, and science and technology. Government publications include primary and secondary research and information sources.

The gathering and publishing of data occurs at all levels of government: local, state, national, and international.


Citing Government Information

County Government Offices

United States Government Information

    Major portal to US government information available online
  • FedStats
    Gateway to statistics from over 100 federal agencies.
  • Government Information on the Web Subject Index
    Links to the subject information pages dealing with government information that have been developed by libraries and other organizations in the U.S.
  • 2012 Statistical Abstract of the United States
    The Statistical Abstract of the United States
    , published since 1878, is the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. Sources of data include the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and many other Federal agencies and private organizations.

Library Statistical Database - RAND

International Government Information