How to Find Government Public Information
There is a variety of good government public information available online. Transparency has become the standard of many government offices so records have become more easily accessible. There is much information already available from government websites and offices, but the ease of access of this information will only get better. The following steps detail how to get different types of government public information.
Things You Will NeedComputer, internet access
To get public domain photos and images go to:
This government website will search all the .gov web information out there to find photos and graphics based on your search criteria. The web site also contains information about the copyright for the photos and images returned by the search results.
Use the Google government information search engine. Like most everything, if the information is indexed and searchable, then Google has a search engine. The Google "Uncle Sam" search engine searches only the .gov federal government sites and the .gov and .us state government sites.
Use the Free Resources for Education Excellence web site to find helpful educational information for teachers or home schooling. These are hundreds of links to help with lesson plans or to supplement textbook information. There are links to educational videos, arts & music, health & phys ed, history & social studies, language arts, math, and science . Go to http://free.ed.gov/.
Request government records directly from the agency. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) which was passed in 1966, is a federal law that establishes the right to obtain information from federal government agencies. The FOIA listed in the Federal code as 5 U.S.C. Section 552. Most anyone can request public information including U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, corporations, and government agencies. Most states also have a similar law in place to protect transparency.
Go to the public office or write the agency to obtain public records. Be specific on the records you want to receive so you do not waste the public agencies time, your time, and you money. The agency is allowed to charge you a small fee to cover their material costs.
Federal records are available online from several different sources.
Military personnel records are available from the St. Louis National Archives at http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/.
The National Archives has a limited, but growing amount of online records at http://www.archives.gov/.
The U.S. Copyright Office has extensive information available online at http://www.copyright.gov/records/.Array