Cover image for U.S. Government on the Web : getting the information you need
U.S. Government on the Web : getting the information you need
Hernon, Peter.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Englewood, Colo. : Libraries Unlimited, 1999.
Physical Description:
xxiii, 349 pages : illustrations, map ; 26 cm
Format :


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ZA5075 .H47 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
ZA5075 .H47 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Reference material

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This essential guide places government information resources within the context of key issues and government structure to give users a clear understanding of federal publications available online. The authors discuss all three branches of the government and how to best access the types of information they disseminate.

Prepared by one of the country's foremost experts on U.S. government information sources and his colleagues, this timely guide shows you how to efficiently find the information you need on the Internet. Going beyond a static directory approach, these authors place government information resources within the context of key issues and government structure to give users a clear understanding of the U.S. government publications available online. They explain how to conduct an efficient and effective search-how to use search engines or portals, how to identify the appropriate government body, how to search by selected subject or topic (e.g., statistics, maps, and geographic information systems), and how to use special search aides (e.g., one-stop shopping). The authors discuss all three branches of the government and the types of information resources they disseminate. Government services available through the Web are also cited. In addition, there is a chapter on government sites aimed at the youth, par

Author Notes

Peter Hernon is Professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College
Robert E. Dugan is the Director of the Mildred F. Sawyer Library at Suffolk University
John A. Shuler is Documents Librarian/Department Head Documents, Maps, Microforms, and Curriculum Department University Library, University of Illinois at Chicago

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Over the past decade, local, state, and federal governments have made use of the Internet to provide more information to more people on a more cost-effective basis. From the White House to court cases to laws and legislation to agency reports, every citizen now has access to a wealth of government information on the World Wide Web. Finding that information, however, can be a complex task. This work is intended to guide the reader through the maze of government Web sites. Mirroring the structure of the federal government, this book is arranged primarily by branch of government. Within each branch, the guide provides the hierarchy of agencies and departments along with a description of the types of publications that each agency issues. The URLs for the main Web sites for that agency are provided. Web sites are printed in blue to make them stand out on the page. Each chapter also has a summary "URL Site Guide" where all URLs in the chapter are listed together on one page for easy reference. In addition to the agency-organized chapters, the work provides background information on the nature of government information, copyright and privacy issues, and the use of government information for specialized topics. There is even a chapter on government Web sites for children. There are many guides to government information, and there are many guides to information on the Web. The strength of this work is that it presents electronic information from the government in an agency-oriented structure, which is the way that most document librarians think. (For those not as familiar with the way government agencies are structured, however, a subject index would be useful.) A similar work, Government Information on the Internet (2d ed., Bernan, 1998), is arranged by broad subject area. As with all Web sites, the URLs will change over time and updates will be necessary. U.S. Government on the Web can be considered a companion to other guides to government information and will be a useful addition to documents and reference collections.

Library Journal Review

The authors, all librarians, have produced a comprehensive guide on U.S. government information on the World Wide Web, covering the expected ground quite competently (Congress, GPO Access, statistical sources, the presidency, and major agencies) and including excellent discussions of geographic information, the courts, and sites recommended for children, parents, and educators. Each URL cited in the text is highlighted in bright blue, and each chapter is accompanied by a web site guide. Although a commendable effort, this compares unfavorably to other printed guides in several respects, particularly Greg Notess's Government Information on the Internet (Bernan, 1997) and Evan James's Government on the Net (LJ 8/98), both of which cover nonfederal government sources and describe nongovernment information providers in greater depth. While this reviewer prefers to use web gateways such as the Federal Web Locator over consulting a printed guide, this is recommended as a quick reference to libraries wanting detailed descriptions and analyses of federal web sites, the guide's strong point. The authors promise a related web site will provide updated URLs between print editions of this book.√ĄPatrick Ragains, Univ. of Nevada, Reno (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

This book identifies quick and useful paths to inexpensive and reliable information for students and teachers. The use of blue for URLs and section headings improves the appearance of this new edition and makes it very user-friendly. It includes the Bush administration and the 107th Congress, a detailed analysis of policies regarding e-government, expanded coverage of the Freedom of Information Act and examples of Web sites devoted to it, and statistics on specific topics. The question about why a print source is needed to navigate the Web is answered with methods for conducting a search that will have the best chance for locating information to meet a specific need. The author reminds us that we may miss valuable content by not differentiating between a report and a hearing. "Search Engines: Negotiating the Information Maze" presents the "why" of using government sources as well as a discussion of general search engines and Internet portals. "Web Pages for the Nation's Youth" will be of special interest. This broad heading includes aeronautics, alcohol and drugs, art, coping with natural disasters, energy and the environment, maps, geography and earth sciences, museums, social studies, transportation, and wildlife in captivity. The book concludes with an overview of Web-browser hardware and software.-Mary Lankford, Texas Education Agency, Austin (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The authors plan to revise this title every two years (the first edition was reviewed CH, Mar'00), but updates are posted to the publisher's home page . This excellent revision covers the Bush administration and the 107th Congress. Many chapters have been expanded, and a new chapter on e-gov covers the policy, implementation, and politics of federal government information. Digital reference service sites have been added throughout the chapters. Comprehensiveness and breadth of the coverage are impressive. As the previous reviewer noted, the book is far more than a mere listing of government Web sites. Its in-depth analysis of agency information makes it a good textbook candidate. Strongly recommended for any size or type of collection. M. Strange University of Wisconsin--LaCrosse

Table of Contents

List of Figuresp. xvii
Prefacep. xix
Acknowledgmentsp. xxiii
Chapter 1 Government Information and Its Importancep. 1
Definitions: Publication, Information, Data, and Recordsp. 2
Examplesp. 3
Why is Government "Informational Matter" So Important?p. 5
General Issues to Be Aware of When Using Government "Informational Matter" and Government Web Sitesp. 5
Freedom of Information Actp. 6
The Privacy Actp. 7
The Web versus Secrecyp. 8
Web Sites Do Not Convey "Official" Informationp. 8
Archival Sourcesp. 9
Loss of the Historical Recordp. 10
Electronic-Mail Messagesp. 11
Copyrightp. 11
Free or Feep. 12
Clarity of the Written Wordp. 12
Online Souvenir Shopp. 13
Summaryp. 13
Notes and Referencesp. 13
Chapter 1 URL Site Guidep. 17
Chapter 2 Government: Structure and Types of Publicationsp. 19
Legislative Branchp. 19
Executive Branchp. 25
Judicial Branchp. 26
Complexity of the Structurep. 26
Types of Publicationsp. 26
Bills and Resolutionsp. 28
Bulletinsp. 28
Catalogsp. 29
Circulars, Directives, Rules, and Regulationsp. 29
Decisions and Opinionsp. 30
Directoriesp. 30
Flyers, Brochures, Booklets, Pamphlets, and Fact Sheetsp. 30
Formsp. 30
Handbooks, Manuals, and Guidesp. 30
Hearingsp. 30
Journals and Proceedingsp. 31
Lawsp. 31
Maps, Atlases, and Chartsp. 31
Monographsp. 31
Motion Pictures and Sound Recordingsp. 31
Patentsp. 32
Periodicals, Newspapers, and Newslettersp. 32
Photographs and Imagesp. 32
Postersp. 32
Proceedings of Symposia, etcp. 32
Public Notices and News Releasesp. 33
Reportsp. 33
Statisticsp. 33
Technical Documentationp. 34
Treaties and International Agreementsp. 34
Key Publicationsp. 34
Summaryp. 35
Notes and Referencesp. 36
Chapter 2 URL Site Guidep. 37
Chapter 3 Search Engines: Negotiating the Information Mazep. 39
Government Information Locator Servicep. 41
Development of a Web Welcome Matp. 42
General Search Engines and Internet Portalsp. 42
More "Targeted" Search Enginesp. 44
DOTbotp. 44
Federal Web Locatorp. 44
FedWorldp. 45
GovBotp. 45
GPO Accessp. 45
Yahoo!p. 47
Summaryp. 48
Notes and Referencesp. 48
Chapter 3 Url Site Guidep. 49
Chapter 4 Executive Branchp. 51
Department of Agriculturep. 51
The Department's Research, Education, and Economics Agenciesp. 51
Farm Service Agencyp. 53
Forest Servicep. 53
Natural Resources Conservation Servicep. 53
Department of Commercep. 53
Bureau of Export Administrationp. 53
Information Infrastructure Task Forcep. 54
International Trade Administrationp. 54
National Institute of Standards and Technologyp. 54
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationp. 54
National Telecommunications and Information Administrationp. 55
Department of Defensep. 55
Department of Educationp. 56
Department of Energyp. 57
Energy Information Administrationp. 58
Los Alamos National Laboratoryp. 58
Office of Economic Impact and Diversityp. 58
Office of Environment, Safety and Healthp. 59
Office of Sciencep. 59
Southwestern Power Administrationp. 59
Department of Health and Human Servicesp. 59
Centers for Disease Control and Preventionp. 60
Food and Drug Administrationp. 60
Health Care Financing Administrationp. 61
National Institutes of Healthp. 61
Department of Housing and Urban Developmentp. 61
Office of Lead Hazard Controlp. 62
Public and Indian Housing Agenciesp. 62
Department of the Interiorp. 62
United States Fish and Wildlife Servicep. 63
Bureau of Indian Affairsp. 63
Bureau of Land Managementp. 63
Minerals Management Servicep. 64
National Park Servicep. 64
Bureau of Reclamationp. 64
Office of Surface Miningp. 65
Department of Justicep. 65
Crime Mapping Research Centerp. 66
Federal Bureau of Investigationp. 66
Department of Laborp. 66
Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businessesp. 67
Mine Safety and Health Administrationp. 67
Occupational Safety and Health Administrationp. 67
Department of Statep. 67
Department of Transportationp. 70
Department of Treasuryp. 70
Bureau of Engraving and Printingp. 71
U.S. Customs Servicep. 71
U.S. Mintp. 71
Internal Revenue Servicep. 71
United States Secret Servicep. 72
Department of Veterans Affairsp. 72
White Housep. 72
Executive Office of the Presidentp. 72
Council of Economic Advisorsp. 72
Council on Environmental Qualityp. 73
National Security Councilp. 73
Office of Management and Budgetp. 73
Office of National Drug Control Policyp. 73
Office of Science and Technology Policyp. 74
Office of the United States Trade Representativep. 74
Otherp. 74
National Coordination Office for Computing, Information, and Communicationsp. 74
Office of the First Ladyp. 75
Summaryp. 75
Notesp. 76
Chapter 4 URL Site Guidep. 77
Chapter 5 Independent Establishments and Quasi-Government Agenciesp. 83
Aeronautics, Space Flight, and Space Researchp. 84
National Aeronautics and Space Administrationp. 84
Africap. 85
The African Development Foundationp. 85
Agriculturep. 85
Farm Credit Administrationp. 85
The Americasp. 86
The Inter-American Foundationp. 86
Arms Control and Disarmamentp. 86
United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agencyp. 86
Bankingp. 86
Export-Import Bank of the United Statesp. 86
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporationp. 87
Federal Reserve Systemp. 87
National Credit Union Administrationp. 88
Civil Legal Assistancep. 88
Legal Services Corporationp. 88
Civil Rightsp. 89
U.S. Civil Rights Commissionp. 89
Communications Marketsp. 89
Federal Communications Commissionp. 89
Community Servicep. 90
Corporation for National Servicep. 90
Consumerismp. 90
Consumer Product Safety Commissionp. 90
Economic Growth and Developmentp. 90
Commodity Futures Trading Commissionp. 90
Federal Maritime Commissionp. 91
Federal Trade Commissionp. 91
Overseas Private Investment Corporationp. 91
Tennessee Valley Authorityp. 91
Trade and Development Agencyp. 91
United States International Trade Commissionp. 92
Elections (Presidential and Congressional)p. 92
Federal Election Commissionp. 92
Emergency Assistance/Preparationp. 93
Federal Emergency Management Agencyp. 93
Employmentp. 93
Equal Employment Opportunity Commissionp. 93
Energyp. 94
Federal Energy Regulatory Commissionp. 94
Nuclear Regulatory Commissionp. 94
Environmentp. 96
Environmental Protection Agencyp. 96
Federal Employmentp. 97
Federal Labor Relations Authorityp. 97
Merit Systems Protection Boardp. 97
Office of Government Ethicsp. 97
Office of Personnel Managementp. 98
Office of Special Counselp. 98
Foreign Economic Development and Humanitarian Assistancep. 99
U.S. Agency for International Developmentp. 99
Historic Preservationp. 99
Advisory Council on Historic Preservationp. 99
Humanitiesp. 100
National Endowment for the Artsp. 100
National Endowment for the Humanitiesp. 100
Intelligence Communityp. 100
Central Intelligence Agencyp. 100
Knowledge Diffusionp. 102
Smithsonian Institutionp. 102
Labor Relationsp. 103
National Labor Relations Boardp. 103
Libraries and Museumsp. 103
Institute of Museum and Library Servicesp. 103
National Commission on Libraries and Information Sciencep. 103
United States Holocaust Memorial Museump. 104
Managing Government Propertyp. 104
General Services Administrationp. 104
Managing Government Recordsp. 105
National Archives and Records Administrationp. 105
Mediationp. 108
National Mediation Boardp. 108
Mutual Understanding with People of Other Countriesp. 109
United States Information Agencyp. 109
Voice of Americap. 109
Nuclear Health and Safetyp. 109
Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Boardp. 109
Pension Plansp. 110
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporationp. 110
People with Disabilitiesp. 110
United States Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Boardp. 110
Postal Servicep. 110
Postal Rate Commissionp. 110
United States Postal Servicep. 111
Railroad Travel and Workersp. 111
National Railroad Passenger Corporationp. 111
Science and Engineeringp. 111
National Science Foundationp. 111
Security Marketsp. 112
Securities and Exchange Commissionp. 112
Selective Service (for Military)p. 112
Selective Service Systemp. 112
Small Business Interestsp. 113
Small Business Administrationp. 113
Social Securityp. 113
Social Security Administrationp. 113
Transportationp. 114
The National Transportation Safety Boardp. 114
Work Placep. 115
Occupational Safety and Health Review Commissionp. 115
World Peace and Friendshipp. 115
Peace Corpsp. 115
United States Institute of Peacep. 116
Summaryp. 116
Notes and Referencesp. 116
Chapter 5 URL Site Guidep. 117
Chapter 6 Legislative Branchp. 123
Overviewp. 124
Congressional Directoryp. 125
THOMASp. 125
House of Representativesp. 126
Standing Committeesp. 127
Office of the Clerkp. 130
Speaker of the Housep. 131
Office of the Majority Leaderp. 131
Office of the Majority Whipp. 131
Democratic Whipp. 131
Office of Inspector Generalp. 131
Caucusesp. 131
The Senatep. 133
Committeesp. 134
Otherp. 136
Joint Committees (of Both Chambers)p. 136
Joint Economic Committeep. 136
Joint Committee on the Library of Congressp. 137
Joint Committee on Taxationp. 137
Support Agenciesp. 137
Architect of the Capitolp. 137
Congressional Budget Officep. 137
General Accounting Officep. 137
Government Printing Officep. 139
The John C. Stennis Center for Public Servicep. 140
Library of Congressp. 140
Medicare Payment Advisory Commissionp. 146
United States Botanic Gardenp. 146
Office of Technology Assessmentp. 147
Some Non-Government Web Sitesp. 147
CAPWEBp. 147
FedNetp. 147
The Hillp. 147
The New York Times: Congressional Guidep. 148
Roll Callp. 148
Federal Government Budgetp. 148
Summaryp. 148
Notes and Referencesp. 151
Chapter 6 URL Site Guidep. 153
Chapter 7 Judiciary Branchp. 157
Administration of the U.S. Courtsp. 159
The Legal System: Reference and Research Aidsp. 160
Law Schools (Examples)p. 160
Other General Web Sitesp. 164
Library of Congressp. 164
Supreme Court Historical Societyp. 165
Court Decisions and Other Resourcesp. 165
Circuit Courtsp. 167
Office of the Chief Executive: United States Courts for the Ninth Circuitp. 168
Armed Forcesp. 169
District Courtsp. 169
Bankruptcy Appellate Panelp. 174
Bankruptcy Courtsp. 174
Specialized Courtsp. 178
Administrative Bodiesp. 179
Federal Judicial Centerp. 180
United States Sentencing Commissionp. 180
Other Sourcesp. 180
FindLawp. 180
Law Journal Extra!p. 180
FedLawp. 180
CataLawp. 181
Examples of Fee-based and Subscription Servicesp. 181
Summaryp. 181
Notes and Referencesp. 181
Chapter 7 URL Site Guidep. 183
Chapter 8 Statisticsp. 189
Bureau of Economic Analysisp. 190
STAT-USAp. 191
Bureau of Justice Statisticsp. 191
Bureau of Labor Statisticsp. 192
The Data Buttonp. 192
Regional Informationp. 193
Bureau of the Censusp. 193
Economic Censusp. 196
Demographic and Economic Surveysp. 197
CenStats and CenStorep. 197
Census Briefsp. 198
Map Galleryp. 198
Citation Patterns for Web-based Census Filesp. 198
Key Sourcesp. 198
Bureau of Transportation Statisticsp. 199
"What's New"p. 200
Office of Airline Informationp. 200
Economic Research Servicep. 201
Energy Information Administrationp. 202
Internal Revenue Servicep. 203
National Agricultural Statistics Servicep. 203
National Center for Education Statisticsp. 205
National Center for Health Statisticsp. 206
Otherp. 207
Summaryp. 207
Notes and Referencesp. 208
Chapter 8 URL Site Guidep. 209
Chapter 9 One-Stop Shoppingp. 211
Government Blue Pagesp. 211
Access America: Showcasing Information Technologyp. 212
Statisticsp. 212
White House Briefing Roomsp. 213
Free Educational Resourcesp. 216
FEDIXp. 217
Federal Information Centerp. 218
Government Information Xchangep. 220
Consumer Information and Servicesp. 220
Consumer Information Centerp. 220
Consumer Gatewayp. 222
Health-Related Issuesp. 223
Business Information, Services, and Transactionsp. 224
Recreationp. 227
Summaryp. 227
Chapter 9 URL Site Guidep. 229
Chapter 10 Government Web-based Servicesp. 231
White Housep. 231
Government Printing Office's Pathway Servicesp. 232
National Partnership for Reinventing Governmentp. 233
Educationp. 236
Electronic Governmentp. 237
Health Carep. 238
Nonprofit Sectorp. 239
Postal Servicesp. 239
Selective Service Registrationp. 239
Summaryp. 239
Notes and Referencesp. 240
Chapter 10 URL Site Guidep. 241
Chapter 11 Maps and Geographic Information Systemsp. 243
Mapping Agenciesp. 246
Environmental Protection Agencyp. 247
National Imagery and Mapping Agencyp. 249
National Ocean Servicep. 250
United States Geological Surveyp. 258
Central Intelligence Agencyp. 260
Forest Servicep. 260
National Park Servicep. 261
Natural Resources Conservation Servicep. 261
Agencies with Online Geographic Information Systemsp. 261
Bureau of the Censusp. 262
Bureau of Transportation Statisticsp. 263
Department of Housing and Urban Developmentp. 263
Environmental Protection Agencyp. 264
Federal Communications Commissionp. 265
Federal Highway Administrationp. 265
Federal Transit Administrationp. 265
Forest Servicep. 266
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationp. 266
National Park Servicep. 267
Natural Resources Conservation Servicep. 267
United States Geological Surveyp. 267
Federal Geographic Data Committeep. 268
Summaryp. 268
Notes and Referencesp. 270
Chapter 11 URL Site Guidep. 271
Chapter 12 Selected Subjectsp. 277
Copyright and Intellectual Property Rightsp. 278
Electronic Commercep. 279
Financial Aidp. 280
Genealogyp. 280
Bureau of the Censusp. 280
Bureau of Land Managementp. 281
National Archives and Records Administrationp. 281
United States Geological Surveyp. 282
Otherp. 282
Grant-Seeking and Contracting Opportunitiesp. 282
Patents and Trademarksp. 285
Rules and Regulationsp. 286
Code of Federal Regulationsp. 286
Federal Registerp. 287
Summaryp. 287
Notes and Referencesp. 287
Chapter 12 URL Site Guidep. 289
Chapter 13 Web Pages for Kidsp. 293
Aeronautics, Space Flight, and Astronomyp. 298
NASA Frequently-Asked Questionsp. 298
NASA Multimedia Galleryp. 298
StarChildp. 298
Agriculturep. 298
CYFERNet Kid's Spacep. 298
USDA-NASS Kids Pagep. 298
Alcohol and Drugsp. 299
FDA Kidsp. 299
For Kids Onlyp. 299
Girl Power!p. 299
The Artsp. 299
Business and Financep. 300
Learning Bankp. 300
OPIC for Kidsp. 300
Treasury's Page for Kidsp. 300
Career Planningp. 301
Jobs for Kids Who Likep. 301
Consumer Product Safetyp. 301
CPSCp. 301
Coping with Natural Disastersp. 301
FEMA for Kidsp. 301
Criminal Justicep. 301
FBI Kids and Youth Educational Pagep. 301
Justice for Kids and Youthp. 301
Engraving and Printingp. 302
B.E.P. Kid's Pagep. 302
Environmentp. 302
Especially for Kidsp. 302
Explorer's Clubp. 302
Kids on the Webp. 303
Kids' Pagep. 303
Woodsy Owlp. 303
Intelligence Communityp. 304
CIA for Kidsp. 304
Lawp. 304
KidLawp. 304
Laborp. 304
DOL K-12p. 304
Maps, Geography, and Earth Sciencesp. 304
Learning Webp. 304
TerraWebp. 305
Militaryp. 305
Air Force Link Jr.p. 305
Miningp. 305
Kids' Pagep. 305
Museumsp. 305
A Kids Guide to the Smithsonianp. 305
Native American Customs, Culture, and Traditionsp. 306
Planet Youthp. 306
Ocean and Coastlinep. 307
Interesting Facts from NOAAp. 307
Kids' Cornerp. 307
Postal Servicep. 307
Send a Messagep. 307
Resource Managementp. 307
MMS Kids Pagep. 307
Science and Technologyp. 308
ESTEEMp. 308
FDA Kidsp. 309
National Science and Technology Week: Just for Kidsp. 309
Our Technology Heritagep. 309
Sci4Kidsp. 309
Social Studiesp. 309
Digital Diplomacy for Studentsp. 309
The Exhibit Hallp. 310
Kids Next Doorp. 310
The White House for Kidsp. 310
Presidents of the United Statesp. 310
YouthlinKp. 310
Transportationp. 311
Education, Career Development, and Safety Awarenessp. 311
Especially for Kids and Teensp. 311
Wildlife in Captivityp. 311
Welcome to the National Zoop. 311
Summaryp. 311
Chapter 13 URL Site Guidep. 313
Chapter 14 Web Browser Hardware and Softwarep. 315
Hardwarep. 315
Web Browser Basicsp. 318
Web Browser and Viewersp. 320
Staying Currentp. 323
And Lastlyp. 324
Chapter 14 URL Site Guidep. 327
Appendix Other Useful Web Sitesp. 329
Government Body Indexp. 331
Selected Title Indexp. 341
About the Authorsp. 349