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New to the US or just for a refresher some government fundamentals? Here's a quick rundown of the U.S. government at different levels and how to find government information. (I'll be writing two follow-up posts saying where to find primary source information for each branch of government and showing an example of how to search for government information.) First, here is one US government chart and three basic guides to the Federal government :

Levels and branches of government

The United States has several Levels the government: federal , Status , and local (District / city). Federal is the overarching national government that three branches :

NYC boroughs:

Everyone Status has its own government what the federal government reflects in its tripartite organization. The legislature consists of the Senate and the House (or Assembly), the executive consists of the governor and typically many departments (the structure varies by state), and the judiciary consists of the state judicial system under the direction of the state court. There are different Local government Offices at district and municipality level (city / municipality). Typically, cities follow a pattern similar to that of federal and state governments, with a mayor serving as a city's chief executive officer. Usually a county is larger than and includes many cities and towns. However, New York City consists of five districts, each of which is actually counties (see right).

What topics are covered by government documents?

The U.S. government covers a surprising number of programs, and as such, data and information is available on almost every topic imaginable, including:

  • Data & statistics
  • Health and vital statistics
  • Politics & Law
  • Business & Economy
  • contracts
  • Scientific and medical research
  • Technology
  • Intellectual property (patents, trademarks, copyright)
  • Historical events (primary resources)
  • Consumer information
  • grants
  • Starting and financing a small business

Some of the some subjects that are not handled well U.S. government information includes:

  • literature
  • art
    • Exceptions: Art funding (NEA, NEH), charitable finances and some government-funded museum exhibitions are covered; Whistler also worked briefly for the Coastal Survey and made engravings
  • music
    • Exception: Music copyright and copyright cases are well covered
Posted in Cheat Sheets & Guides, Courts, Government Information, Statistics & DataTagged federal, govdocs, government, government documents, government information, govinfo, legislation, local, national affairs, state, United States, United States government

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