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Top Ten Government Documents

The U.S. Government Documents and Maps collection located on the ground floor of the Bailey/Howe Library is a treasure trove containing a wide array of materials from Congress, all of the federal agencies, and the federal courts. We asked library faculty and staff what Bailey/Howe Government Document users were looking for and what they should be looking at, and they provided us with a list of their top ten (plus one!) great government information sources:

American FactFinder

Gets between one and two million visits a month from users of its census data and maps. A great source of economic and demographic information about the American people.

Census atlas of the United States [Online]; Documents C 3.205/8-3:29

Census data through 2000 presented in map format.

Sample Census Atlas map

Foreign relations of the United States : diplomatic papers [Some volumes available online]; Documents S 1.1

The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. The series, which is produced by the State Department’s Office of the Historian, began in 1861 and now comprises more than 350 individual volumes.

New England wildlife: management of forested habitats; Documents A 13.88:NE-144

An important ecological resource that provides detailed information on New England wildlife species and their environmental needs, with the goal of increasing wildlife species numbers.


Occupational outlook handbook [Online]; Documents GP 3.22/2:270

The handbook provides information on hundreds of different jobs, as well as job search tips, and information on each state’s job market.

Recovery.gov [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act]

“The site will include information about Federal grant awards and contracts as well as formula grant allocations. Federal agencies will provide data on how they are using the money, and eventually, prime recipients of Federal funding will provide information on how they are using their Federal funds.”

Chart from recovery.org

Statistical abstract of the United States [Online]; Documents C 3.134; Ready Reference HA202 .A1

“The Statistical Abstract of the United States, published since 1878, is the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. Use the Abstract as a convenient volume for statistical reference, and as a guide to sources of more information both in print and on the Web. Sources of data include the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and many other Federal agencies and private organizations.”

Sample tables include labor union membership by state, military reserve personnel, students who reported carrying a weapon, estimated number of persons living with AIDS.

The United States government manual [Online]; Documents AE 2.108/2; Ready Reference JK421 .A3

The United States Government Manual is the official handbook of the Federal Government and provides detailed information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. It also includes information on quasi-official agencies; international organizations in which the United States participates; and boards, commissions, and committees.

Ever wonder who the Architect of the Capital is and what they do? Curious how many assistants work in the White House Office? Confused about the exact mandate of the Department of the Interior? Here’s where you get your answers.

War surgery in Afghanistan and Iraq: a series of cases, 2003-2007. Edited by Shawn Christian Nessen, Dave Edmond Lounsbury, Stephen P. Hetz; Documents D 104.35:SU 7

This medical textbook was jointly published in July of 2007 by the United States Army and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Borden Institute. It contains 83 case studies, describing the unique conditions and treatments of military and civilian injuries in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The graphic photographs accompanying the studies proved controversial—the Army struggled to keep the book from the general public for some time. As the first work of its kind to be published while the wars it studies continue, it serves as both a lesson in how to treat wounds in the war environment and a chilling document of human casualties.

“The average Joe Surgeon, civilian or military, has never seen this stuff,” author Dr. Lounsbury [a University of Vermont College of Medicine alumnus] told The New York Times. “Yeah, they’ve seen guys shot in the chest. But the kind of ferocious blast, burn and penetrating trauma that’s part of the modern I.E.D. wound is like nothing they’ve seen, even in a Manhattan emergency room. It’s a shocking, heart-stopping, eye-opening kind of thing. And they need to see this on the plane before they get there, because there’s a learning curve to this.”

In The New York Review of Books, Sue M. Halpern wrote, “These pictures, which were taken by doctors in the field with personal digital cameras, were not intended for publication. Though in most instances they are gruesome, they are not prurient. Nor are they editorial. Unfiltered, they are instructive, not only to those who may someday find themselves working in a MASH unit, but also to those of us who, like it or not, send them there to do that work.”

The woody plant seed manual; Documents A 1.76:727

A comprehensive handbook on the seeds of trees and shrubs.

Baccharis Pilularis photograph

The World Factbook

A reference source produced by the Central Intelligence Agency for U. S. government officials, which contains information about the countries of the world. It is an excellent resource for learning more about any nation, with details about a country’s economy, government, landscape, and people. 2008 saw the last printed volume; it is now available online and updated every two weeks.

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