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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Government Information

A Guide to Government Information Sources

United States Government Manual

The United States Government Manual is the official handbook that describes the activities and programs of the three branches of the federal government (executive, legislative, and judicial), agencies and quasi-official agencies, and international organizations of which the U.S. is a member. The manual includes descriptions and organizational charts of each component, and identifies key employees. It is updated annual as a special edition of the Federal Register.

Quick start

CRS Reports are created by the Congressional Research Service as summaries of a variety of topics relevant to law-making activities. They can be helpful as they often outline the history of legislation surrounding a topic. Lengths of the reports can vary from a couple of pages to an in-depth report.

GAO Reports are produced by the Government Accountability Office. The GAO is a government "watchdog" that investigates how agencies spend tax dollars.

Major databases