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Government Databases in Politics & Government

GPO Access

NOTE: These are links to only a selected number of government databases dealing with politics, legislation and general governmental functions that are available on the Web. The only databases included are those which are considered substantial research sources; almost all have some kind of search capability unless otherwise noted. Consult links on the Government Information Home Page for additional sources of electronic government information.

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Access to Archival Databases. This new service of the National Archives' Electronic Records Archive offers online access to a selection of millions of historic electronic records from over 20 agencies. There is a pathfinder/tutorial describing the structure of the database and suggesting search approaches.

Army Field Manuals. HTML and PDF versions of all current field manuals, listed in numerical order.

Congressional Bills through GPO Access. Includes bills from 1993 to the present. There is a separate database for Bill Histories.
Thomas' bills database also includes bills from 1993 to the present.

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) through GPO Access. The complete current code is available. For some titles, back issues are online; more will accumulate as titles are revised.

Congressional Documents through GPO Access. Includes Congressional Documents (which are usually more ceremonial in nature than Congressional Reports) from 1995 to the present. Files are in ASCII text and Adobe PDF formats. Not all items are fully searchable.

Congressional Documents Online. Rutgers Law School has begun digitizing items from their collection, which dates back to the 1970's. They are continually adding to the digital archive; at the time of this writing, they have over 6000 items digitized and searchable.

Congressional Record through GPO Access. Includes 1995 to present. There is a separate Index database that goes back to 1983.

Congressional Reports through GPO Access. Reports of Congressional Committees from 1995 to the present. Files are in ASCII text and Adobe PDF formats. Not all items are fully searchable.

CRS Reports. These research reports by the staff of the Congressional Research Service cover all subject areas and are excellent overviews. Unfortunately there is not an official government site which offers access to the entire collection. But there are several different institutions and individuals who are working to make these valuable resources available:

Federal Election Commission Disclosure Data Search . This site has files of campaign finance and other election-related data for individual candidates and campaign committees, searchable through multiple entry points. Data may be viewed or downloaded.

FBI FOIA Reading Room. This page has links to FBI reports requested under the Freedom of Information Act that have been in the news or are frequently requested. Sub-sections include Famous People (non-criminals such as Lucille Ball, Mickey Mantle, etc.), Gangster Era, Unusual Phenomena (cattle mutilation, etc.), Historical Interest, and Violent Crime, and there is an alphabetical index as well.

Federal Register through GPO Access. Includes issues for 1995 to the present.

Fedlaw. This all-purpose legal research site is operated by the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness. Some of the services to which it links may not be available to the public. But there are many free sites, some of which include searchable databases. All aspects of law and regulations are covered, as well as all jurisdictions.

Finding Court Cases. This is a good all-purpose source of online court decisions, put together by St. Mary's Librarian Diane Duesterhoeft.

GAO Reports (Government Accountability Office) through GPO Access. Begins with 1995 reports. GAO reports cover all subjects, analyzing government operations and effectiveness. Some reports contain significant background material, making them ideal for student research.

Government Podcasts. This listing, provided by the librarians at, includes links and brief descriptions to available podcasts throughout the Federal, and some state, governments.

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IRS Tax Forms and Publications. Forms/publications can be searched by number or keyword, then downloaded. Several file formats are available.

Judges of the U.S. Courts. The Federal Judicial Center makes this database of biographical information available. It covers all who have served on any federal court (District level and above) since 1789. You may search or browse the database or construct lists of judges by special criteria, such as court type, gender, party of nominating President, etc.

Law Library Microform Consortium. The Blume Library has made access to this extensive collection of government records, most of which are agencies reports and decisions, available through our Online Catalog. For more information, see the LLMC web site, linked above.

Laws through GPO Access. Includes public laws for 1995 to the present.
Laws through Thomas. Includes a database of laws back to 1973 in addition to current laws. There is a separate database of Major Legislation.

OMB Circulars. These informational publications from the Office of Management and Budget contain instructions or information and are expected to be in force for at least two years. In the old world of print, these were often very difficult to find, but this list has links to almost all of them.

Policy Agendas Project. This website, developed by researchers at the University of Washington and Penn State University, allows the creation of charts of national political priorities, going back to 1946. The sources of the information include Congressional hearings, U.S. laws, entries from Congressional Quarterly Almanac, selected articles in the New York Times Index, Supreme Court decisions, and the Budget of the United States.

Supreme Court. This official Court website includes texts of opinions, current dockets, and much other court-related information. Other sources of Supreme Court and other decisions can be found here. Washington University in St. Louis provides this Supreme Court Database, which covers 1953-2008 and allows searching and analysis of the Court's decisions from many different angles.

Texas Administrative Code. Texas Texas equivalent of the Code of Federal Regulations. There is no free search capability at present.

Texas Legislature Online. Texas Searchable databases of bills and statutes, as well as other information concerning the Legislature and Texas government.

Texas Register. TexasTexas equivalent of the Federal Register. The most recent year's issues are available free online.

UNData. A portal providing access to various UN databases, totalling over 50 million records.

U.S. Code. Codification of federal laws that is continually updated and available on several different servers. The Academic Library has the latest print edition in the Documents Collection at Y 1.2/5: .  All sites below have a search feature; additional features and user aids vary:

Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents through GPO Access. This publication, which is also received in paper format in the Library (first floor, Periodicals), includes all speeches, executive orders, press releases, and other material released by the White House from 1996 to the present. Files are in ASCII text and Adobe PDF formats.

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Louis J. Blume Library St. Mary's University
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