Overlooked and difficult to find, there are hundreds of thousands of U.S. government web sites that can help you accomplish a variety of tasks. At the right federal .gov destination you can locate historical documents, keep tabs on Congressional happenings, view presidential paperwork, and a whole lot more. Keep reading for the most useful U.S. government web sites out there.
For sheer accessibility, USA.gov wins hands-down as the U.S. government’s official portal on the Web. You can find all sorts of goodies here: grant information, hundreds of online services (drivers’ license renewal, shop government auctions, contact elected officials, etc.), the latest government news, and a ton more.Related: For more government Web portals, check out FedWorld, Students.gov, Health.gov, or one of the coolest sites I’ve ever seen – the New York City Maps Portal.
GPO Access, part of the U.S. government printing office, offers you official information from all three branches of the federal government. A few links to note: core documents of U.S. democracy, a huge catalog of government publications, and an A-Z list of federal databases. Related: You also don’t want to miss the GPO’s cache of congressional records, public presidential papers, or Ben’s Guide.
Library of Congress
I could (and frequently do) get lost in the stellar Library of Congress. For instance, you can access state and local government information, browse the gigantic American Memory collection, or view current and historical legislative info courtesy of THOMAS.Related: The National Archives is a good place to start your historical/genealogical research – you can also view actual scanned-in archival documents, such as the Document for Today.
CIA World Factbook
The CIA World Factbook provides detailed information for (most) every known country, territory, and province in the world. You can also download a printable version.Related: Find stats at the U.S. Census Bureau, federal data from FedStats, or view the National Atlas.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Forget wasting time sluffing through pages of spammy job search information – the Occupational Outlook Handbook is the real deal. You can find state by state job market information, employment projections, even an A-Z occupations index that will give you an idea of what you should be making in your chosen field.Related: Don’t forget the Social Security Administration or the IRS.
Since I have a budding geology buff in my house, science sites rank high on my list of most useful, and the United States Geological Survey is at the top. You can find all sorts of interesting information here, such as worldwide earthquake updates or the largest earth science library in the world.Right next to the USGS is NASA, the home of the U.S. space program. This site is so gigantic that it’s a bit difficult to summarize; however, my favorite spots have to be the image gallery, the archive of past missions, and the index of NASA World Book encyclopedia articles.
And that’s not all
As previously mentioned, there are literally hundreds of thousands of government web sites that are extremely useful, yet manage to fly somewhat under the radar….these picks are just the tip of the iceberg. What are your favorite government sites? Please share in the comments.