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Finding Information on Government Agencies: Home

Ask A Librarian

Librarians can help you find and evaluate information on any topic. To reach them, call the Reference Desk at 724-357-3006, send an email to LibAnswers at:  http://answers.lib.iup.edu/, or text a question to: 724-401-1987. 

Government Information. Ask a Librarian is a governmentally run chat service that answers questions related to federal government information. http://govtinfo.org/

Accessing Library Resources from Off-Campus

IUP Libraries subscribe  to our databases from vendors who require us to limit access to IUP users only.  There are a number of ways you can access library databases from off-campus. For more information, see the Accessing Library Information from Off-Campus Guide 

Creating Citations in Proper Bibliographic Style

Professional  and ethical researchers are recognized by their practice of appropriately citing the resources they use in their research. The IUP Discovery tool (and most other library databases) provide assistance in properly citing the resources they used to prepare their reports.

See the Tracking Your Citations libguide for direction on how to use this service.

Evaluating Information

The CARS Checklist for Research Source Evaluation

The CARS Checklist (Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness, and Support) is designed for ease of learning and use. Few sources will meet every criterion in the list, and even those that do may not possess the highest level of quality possible. But if you learn to use the criteria in this list, you will be much more likely to separate the high quality information from the poor quality information.

Credibility- trustworthy source, author’s credentials, evidence of quality control, known or respected authority, organizational support. Goal: an authoritative source, a source that supplies some good evidence that allows you to trust it.

Accuracy- up to date, factual, detailed, exact, comprehensive, audience and purpose reflect intentions of completeness and accuracy. Goal: a source that is correct today (not yesterday), a source that gives the whole truth.

Reasonableness -fair, balanced, objective, reasoned, no conflict of interest, absence of fallacies or slanted tone. Goal: source that engages the subject thoughtfully and reasonably, concerned with the truth.

Support -listed sources, contact information, available corroboration, claims supported, documentation supplied. Goal: a source that provides convincing evidence for the claims made, a source you can triangulate (find at least two other sources that support it).

See entire discussion of CARS at  the CARS website

Finding Information from Government Agencies

United States Government Resources
Much of the information gathered by  federal and state government agencies in the course of doing their work is free of copyright and available freely on the Internet in some form. Use the following sites as starting points to access that information:

  • USA. gov is  the U.S. government's online guide to federal and state government information, and a great place to begin looking for federal government information.  
  • Metalib is a service of the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP)! It is a federated search engine that searches multiple U.S. Federal government databases, retrieving reports, articles, and citations while providing direct links to selected resources available online.
  • Ask a Government Information Librarian. Ask a Librarian is a governmentally run chat service that answers questions related to federal government information. 

Finding Government Information through a Google Search

Google’s advanced search  allows you to limit your search results to government sites or domains. Type .gov or .pa.gov (or other state) to limit results to federal or state government websites.

Archived Information from Government Websites

Library Databases

Studies indicate that students who use library resources and  services are more successful academically than those who do not. Here are some library databases that you can use to help you find the best information on government agencies.

IUP Libraries Discovery Tool

IUP Libraries Discovery Tool searches many of our collections in one step. The library catalog, our list of electronic journals, and our electronic databases can all be searched from the same starting point. Choosing the appropriate tab  allows you to search the collection you choose.

  • Discovery: Selecting this tab searches the Library Catalog (which includes print and electronic journals and books) and Primo Central, a large collection of online information sources.
  • Library Catalog: This tab focuses your search on items held by the IUP Libraries (including print and electronic materials). If you're looking for a book, or want to see if we own a journal, select Library Catalog to search.
  • Find an E-Journal: select this tab to search within our full-text electronic journal collections. You can use journal titles, or keywords (such as topics or subjects). Searching in this tab will return both journals to which we subscribe, and articles from our collections.
  • Find a Research Guide: this tab searches our librarian-created Research Guides. These guides are specialized websites that collect information, useful resources, research recommendations, and other tips to help you research a particular topic, or succeed in a particular course.

Specialized Databases 

IUP Libraries subscribes to over 250 specialized databases to support our users' research. Content in many, but not all, of these databases can be found through our Discovery tool, but searching them directly is often the most efficient way to locate the information you seek. Specialized databases that support research in public policy and political science include:

  • Congressional Universe The most comprehensive online resource available for Congressional hearings, public issues, legislation, history, and legal research. 
  • CQ Electronic Library (ON-CAMPUS ONLY or VPN)  An exceptional line of government, public policy and current awareness reference databases including: CQ Researcher, CQ Supreme Court Collection, CQ Weekly, and more. 
  • International Security & Counter-Terrorism Reference Center.  Offers information on virtually every dimension of security and counter-terrorism. 
  • JSTOR. Online archives of over 500 journals across numerous disciplines. JSTOR is designed specifically for archiving journals, so it does not include the most recent 2-5 years of each title.
  • Oxford Bibliographies--Political Science. The overlapping fields of practice that come together in the study of political science make it challenging to stay informed about every applicable area. However, students and researchers alike can rely on Oxford Bibliographies in Political Science to offer a reliable, up-to-date, and authoritative guide to the best literature in the field.
  • ProQuest Political Science Journals. Access over 400 leading political science and international relations journals.
  • SAGE Knowledge. SAGE Knowledge is the ultimate social sciences digital library for students, researchers, and faculty. It is Sage's eBook Delivery Platform. Currently we subscribe to 86 reference titles at this service and over 4,000 of its book publications.
  • Women's Studies International. Covers the core disciplines in Women's Studies to the latest scholarship in feminist research.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts. Abstracts and indexing of the international literature of political science and international relations, along with complementary fields, including international law and public administration/policy.
  • This libguide explains how to finding specialized databases on other topics  

Information on local communities

Sources of Statistical Information

US Federal and State Governments gather statistics on a multitude of topics that relate to communities to help them do their work and understand the people they serve. Here are a list of important providers of statistical information.

United States Census

Bureau of Labor Statistics

U.S. Data and Statistics

LIbrary Databases that provide access to a wealth of statistical sources:

Data Planet    The Data-Planet repository of statistical content currently holds more than 5,000 datasets containing billions of data points presented in 2+ billion views of data (maps, trends, tables, rankings). All of the data have been standardized, structured, and described with 37 fields of metadata and controlled editorial descriptions and information on where the data came from.

 

Subject Guide

Session Handouts

FDLP Academy Webinars

FDLP Academy Webinars and Webcasts. Tutorials that include: