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Gov Agencies have INFO!

What are government documents?

Government information is information produced by the government through all the many levels of governmental institutions, agencies, divisions, states, counties, cities, townships, and Tribal Reservations throughout the United States. Every governmental division produces documents, images, or artifacts that belong to the citizens of the United States and can be accessed through a variety of means online, by written request, through the Freedom of Information Act [FOIA], or by walking into many institutions and using their libraries or other resource station.  

E-government documents allow citizens to be able to receive communications about issues of importance to them including notices about public hearings, or important changes to services they receive.  

Thank you to Tom Adamich

What is considered a government publication?
U.S. Code (44 U.S.C. 1901) defines a government document as "...informational matter which is published as an individual document at government expense or as required by law.”                        
With the rise of technology and the digitization of materials, we now encounter documents known as “e-government” documents.  These include communications between government agencies, employees, businesses, and citizens.

Click HERE for information on government information stability and more.

...and click HERE for access to the best government information links for teachers by government documents librarians. Government Information for Children Committee (a committee from the American Library Association)  


What is government information and how does it relate to primary sources? 


Want to dig deeper? Here's the U.S. GOVERNMENT MANUAL
This is the official manual of the U.S. Government and is updated regularly in the Federal Register.
Its contents include leadership tables and descriptions of agency activities and programs of the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of Government, as well as activities and programs of quasi-official agencies and international organizations in which the United States participates as a member".
Known as the "google" for government searching - keep this site handy for finding just about anything. SCIENCE, AGRICULTURE, and other non-history folks - this is for you too...
This is a service from the Government Publishing Office (GPO). A comprehensive search tool for government publications. 



Find Congressional legislation, documents from the President and Supreme Court decisions here.

Constitution Day

Constitution Day - is a day to "commemorate the formation and signing on September 17, 1787, of the Constitution and recognize all who, by coming of age." (PUBLIC LAW 105–225—AUG. 12, 1998).  

What better way to celebrate than with a poster contest? Using primary sources as inspiration and their own imagination, students can create meaningful posters that explain what the Constitution means to them. Check out for information on a fabulous art contest. 

Also - want some ideas to share for celebrating Constitution Day? Check out the Government Information for Children (GIC) guide for more info: 


FBI Freedom of Information Act
Check out the Reading Room Index to access FBI declassified documents.

Founding Documents explained...

Videos explaining the legislative process, covering topics such as Presidential actions, scheduling, and more. 


AND CONGRESS.GOV offers help in teaching the primary source documents from American History including the Federalist Papers, the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and more.  The study guides are chock-full of Library of Congress materials.   Pair this with the National Archives Founding Documents guides and you have lots to choose from while teaching about those documents that scaffold our government. 

iCIVICS: lessons and games for classroom and home


Why teach with government information?

Why should we teach with and/or about government information? 

The range of information that the government creates is staggering. Offering everything from instructions for home canning fresh out-of-your-garden vegetables to staying safe online to using Census data to support a local initiative, and everything in between, students and teachers can use government information to pique student interest in history, science, art, literature and more. Archival government information, legislatively mandated, keeps information available for many years so that access is guaranteed.  Government information can be used to help students locate the evidence they need to support hypotheses, bolster opinions, and to create new insights into current and historical conundrums. Government information is available to help teachers locate documents that can entice, entertain, and provoke student interest in a wide variety of subject areas.