Fundamentals of Government Information: Mining, Finding, Evaluating, and Using Government Resources, Second Edition

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors
  • Reviews

This book is available in e-book format for libraries and individuals through aggregators and other distributors—ask your current vendor or contact us for more information. Examination copies are available for instructors who are interested in adopting this title for course use.

Government data and resources are uniquely useful to researchers and other library users. But without a roadmap, sifting through the sheer quantity of information to find the right answers is foolhardy. The first edition of this text is well established as an essential navigational tool for both LIS students and professionals; now this newly revised, peer-reviewed update is even more attuned to new sources and types of government information and how best to locate them. Unmatched in its scope, this book covers such key topics as

  • the history of government information, from its colorful beginnings to the era of Wikileaks, Edward Snowden, and data breaches;
  • how to think like a government documents librarian in order to find information efficiently, plus other research tips;
  • all types of law resources and information, including public laws and the U.S. Code, Case Law and the judicial branch, and regulations;
  • Congressional literature, from bills and committee hearings to the U.S. Congressional Serial Set;
  • patents, trademarks, and intellectual property;
  • census data, educational information, and other statistical resources;
  • health information, with an in-depth look at the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the trend toward and impact of online medical records; and
  • science, environmental, and energy resources from agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy.

Exercises throughout the text support instruction, while the approachable and well-organized style make it ideal for day-to-day reference use.

[note: for a detailed version, read this sample]

List of Figures
Preface to the Second Edition, by Cassandra Hartnett and Andrea Sevetson

Part I    Overview of Key Government Information Resources

Chapter 1    Introduction: The People's Information, by Eric Forte

Chapter 2    How to Think Like a Government Documents Librarian, by Andrea Sevetson

Chapter 3    Congressional Publications, by Cassandra Hartnett

Chapter 4    Introduction to Law, by Eric Forte and Peggy Roebuck Jarrett

Chapter 5    Public Laws and the U.S. Code, by Peggy Roebuck Jarrett

Chapter 6    Regulations, by Cassandra Hartnett

Chapter 7    Case Law and the Judicial Branch, by Peggy Roebuck Jarrett

Chapter 8    The President, by Andrea Sevetson



Part II    Government Information in Focus

Chapter 9    The Executive Branch, by Cassandra Hartnett

Chapter 10    Statistical Information, by Amy West and Eric Forte

Chapter 11    Health Information, by Ann Glusker

Chapter 12    Education Information, by Susan Edwards

Chapter 13    Scientific and Technical Information, by Kathryn W. Tallman

Chapter 14    Environment and Energy Information, by Jesse Silva and Lucia Orlando

Chapter 15    Business, Economic, and Consumer Information, by Jessica Jerrit and Eric Forte

Chapter 16    Census, by Eric Forte, Kelly Smith, and Annelise Sklar

Chapter 17    Patents, Trademarks, and Intellectual Property, by Martin K. Wallace

Chapter 18    Historical and Archival Information, by Cassandra Hartnett

About the Authors and Contributors



Cassandra J. Hartnett

Cassandra J. Hartnett began her career shelving fiction books at the Plattsburgh Public Library. She received her Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of Michigan. She has been employed at the University of Michigan Library (Research Library Residency Program), the University of Michigan School of Information, and Detroit Public Library. She currently serves as US Documents librarian, University of Washington Libraries. She also serves as affiliate faculty at the University of Washington Information School, teaching LIS 526 (Government Information). She is a cofounder of the Northwest Government Information Network (NGIN) and was 2008–2009 chair of the American Library Association’s Government Documents Round Table.

Andrea L. Sevetson

Andrea L. Sevetson began her library career checking in periodicals at Macalester College. She received her Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has since been employed as a government documents librarian at the University of California, Berkeley; the US Census Bureau; LexisNexis, and is currently employed as a trainer with ProQuest. She has served as the chair of the American Library Association's Government Documents Round Table, and was appointed to the US Depository Council to the Public Printer and served as its chair. She is the recipient of the CIS/GODORT/ALA "Documents to the People" Award and the James Bennett Childs Award for distinguished contributions to documents librarianship. She is the author of many articles and editor of The Serial Set: Its Make-up and Content (Bethesda, MD: ProQuest, 2013).

Eric J. Forte

Eric J. Forte began his library career writing SuDoc call numbers on congressional documents for the regional federal depository at the Texas State Library in Austin. He holds a Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has worked as a librarian with government information at Western State College of Colorado, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and Boise State University. He has taught government documents at the University of Illinois, and presented and written about government information in various venues. He currently works with OCLC.

"In addition to being jargon free and thoroughly cross-referenced, this volume offers extensive references to primary and secondary sources ... Appropriate for LIS students or for librarians who wish to develop their information-seeking skills and a great addition to all libraries."
— Library Journal

"This is now the only up-to-date book on this topic ... The book is probably most useful as a textbook in government documents library school courses but it will also serve public and academic librarians working with government information and general researchers looking for quality vetted information."

"The pooling of multiple authors' talents makes this second edition more expansive and diverse than the previous one … this volume is a must read for any policy researcher and student of librarianship and one that professionals will want to use in teaching students and other library patrons about the fundamentals of government information."