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Government Documents: Agency searches

A guide to utilizing electronic government documents.

Agency searches

How to find government documents via the government agency most likely to publish the information you seek.

Bowling Green State University government documents librarian Coleen Parmer  identifies a three-step "agency approach" to find government information online.

  1. Indentify the government agency that is likely to publish the type of information you are looking for.
  2. Go to the agency's home page.
  3. Mine the agency's web page for the information you seek -- a lot of the information on agency sites is not easily found via traditional search engines, but is buried in the so-called "deep web"; many agency home pages have powerful search tools and directories to help users find content.

There are several ways to help you determine which agency is likely to publish the information you seek.

  • A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies: Maintained by, this site includes an alphabetically arranged list of government agencies, as well as tutorials about searching for government information.
  • Federal Agency Internet Site: Published and maintained by GPO, users can utilize this service to link directly to agency web sites after searching an index or viewing a list of agencies that reflects the structure of the government as identified in the United States Government Manual.
  • The United States Government Manual: The USG manual lists all U.S. government departments, agencies, and bureaus; and describes their organizational structure and missions.

Alternatively, the Bowling Green State University Government Agencies page is a comprehensive index which links users to pages with resources related to different federal departments, agencies, bureaus, and commissions:


David McCaslin's picture
David McCaslin
Wardman Library