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Finding Information on American Politics: Home

Government and commercial publications which record and preserve the work of the government, are essential to individuals who wish to understand the government.

Free Websites of Interest

Finding Government Information Tutorial

Information on Government Agencies and Congressional Activities

Federal Government

Core documents of the United States - These documents represent the very backbone of the United States government and its authority to govern.

United States Government Manual- Information on the structure and activities of the federal government.  When in the Stapleton Library, stop at the Reference Desk if you wish to view the print version. 

Agency web sites - Most government departments and agencies have their own web sites that are valuable sources of information on their mission, personnel and services.  One example is the Library of Congress, another example is the Central Intelligence Agency's World Fact Book

Congressional Directory - As its name implies, the Congressional Directory is the source for information on members of Congress.  Ask at the Reference Desk for the most recent copy.

House of Representatives Web page

Senate Web page

Congressional Record - Proceedings of debates and daily digest of the United States House and Senate.

Thomas - This frequently updated site provides information on the text and status of proposed and passed federal legislation.

CIS Index - The hearings, documents and reports of the United States Senate and House of Representatives provide valuable, authoritative information on nearly every topic but they can be difficult to locate.  The CIS Index analyzes and reprints in its microfiche collection, the publications created through the activities of Congress and makes finding them much easier.  To access the bibliographic records, descriptive annotations, and the actual publication on microfiche:

  • Consult the index under subject, title or name and record the entry number.
  • Looking in the abstract volume under the entry number and read the abstract.
  • If you want to read the publication microfiche, request it in the Serials Department (located in the Stapleton Library basement) by the collection name (CIS) entry number and year of the index.
  • Also available on campus as LexisNexis Congressional Publications.

Congressional Quarterly's Washington Information Directory - Contains information on the structure and activities of the federal government as well as government-related organizations.  Available in a print version at the Reference Desk at Stapleton Library or on campus at Washington Information Directory.

State Government

Pennsylvania General Assembly


Statistical Information


Codes and Regulations

United States Code - Lists current federal laws in order by subject. Also available on campus at LexisNexis/LegalResearch/FederalCode.

Code of Federal Regulations - Current regulations which have the force of law. Available in print in the Stapleton Government Documents section AE 2.106/3:


Federal Elections Commission -  The FEC is an independent regulatory agency designed to disclose campaign finance information, to enforce the provisions of the law such as the limits and prohibitions on contributions, and to oversee the public funding of Presidential elections. 

Public Affairs

PAIS International - PAIS International provides access to the literature of public affairs, current issues and actions that affect world communities, countries, people and governments. It is available in print format in the Stapleton Library at [INDEX] H96.P9.

Citing What You Find

A guide to the Chicago/Turabian style of citation.

A guide to the APA style of citation.

A guide to the MLA style of citation.

A guide to citing electronic sources.

The above links are provided courtesy of Purdue University.

Questions or Comments?

Questions or comments concerning this page should be directed to Theresa McDevitt. Correspondence regarding this site should be sent to its maintainer, Ed Zimmerman,  Revised on 5.4.10.

Subject Guide

Guide Creator

Guide originally created by Richard Louis.