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Government: Government Resources

Government resources for research


The U.S. government collects and distributes massive amounts of data to operate its programs. However, academics, the business community, the news media, politicians, and social activists (among many others) also use the information to promote their own interests. 

So What's the Problem? The government gathers so much data it is often difficult to locate what it is you really want. This guide is an introduction to just some of the many places to look.

Follow the Money

Budget of the United States Government. 

Performance Dashboard. See how the government spends your money.

Transparency Data. Lobbying disclosures, federal grants and contracts, earmarks, and federal and state campaign contributions.

Illinois Government Information

Illinois General Assembly site -- find bills, resolutions, acts, the state constitution, members, committees, and other legislative materials. 

Places to Look for Federal Materials

The Starting Points

    In many cases, the easiest way to find US Census data is to utilize our SimplyAnalytics tool, a web-based mapping, analytics and data visualization program providing 65,000+ data variables. Additional details about SimplyAnalytics can be found on our SimplyAnalytics information and help video page.

Below are listed some key official US government tools:

Business and Economics

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics. Includes the Monthly Labor Review, Regional Economic Patterns in the United States, Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Occupational Outlook Handbook, and Career Guide to Industries.
  • Business and Industry (U.S. Census Bureau). Statistical analyses of business sectors. government spending, and foreign trade.
  • Economic Indicators. Timely access to key economic indicators from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the US Census Bureau provide critical data to those in the business, finance and policy decision making areas.
  • Federal Reserve Economic Data. Fed Reserve data on interest rates, GDP, exchange rates, and many more. ALFRED provides Federal Reserve historical economic data back to 1927.
  • Small Business Administration.



  • ElectionGuide. Provides election results and overviews of the electoral systems for the world. 
  • Washington Post US Congress Votes Database.Documents every vote and member of the House and Senate since 1991. Data is pulled from several sources, including the House clerk, the U.S. Senate and the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress. For the 112th Congress, users can analyze members and votes by various metrics, including caucus affiliations, 2010 margin of victory, and members endorsed by Tea Party Express or Freedom Works during the 2010 campaign. 
  • Census Data. Census information is made available in a variety of download options. The American FactFinder and other options provide access to various census statistics. County business patterns, international trade data, building permits statistics, census tract street locator, annual survey of manufacturing, occupational statistics, and ZIP code business patterns. For an overview of this site, see one example of a helpful guide to the census data.



  • Nexis Uni (new interface to Lexis-Nexis). Includes articles from about 2,000 U.S. and international papers and newswires with an emphasis on legal and business news. Also includes journal articles, broadcast transcripts, and United States federal and state case law.
  • Google Scholar covers case law, and allows researchers to refine by various facets (Articles, Case Law, Federal or state). 
  • PLOL has created the Public Library of Law -- to make it easy to find the law online. (Free version of the Fastcase database.)
  • RECAP Court Listener is the free version of the material in the PACER database (a national index for U.S. district, bankruptcy, and appellate courts).
  • Justia provides free access to vast amounts of federal and state case law, statutes and regulations.
  • Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute allows users from outside the legal profession to more easily access and understand the laws that govern them.

Science and Technology

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