Open Educational Resources (OER): Government

Starting Points

  • Branches of the Government: Learn about the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the U.S. government.
  • Congressional Publications (UNI login required): Provides access to hearings, committee prints, reports, legislative histories, the Congressional Record, federal regulations, and the U.S. Congressional Serial Set. Many documents are full text and cover 1789 to the present, while others are citations that are available in print or microform in the library.
  • Congressional Research Service Reports (UNI login required): CRS, a branch of the Library of Congress, prepares research reports at the request of members of Congress, their staff, and Congressional committees.
  • Government Accountability Office: GAO, often called the "congressional watchdog,” is an independent, non-partisan agency that works for Congress. GAO examines how taxpayer dollars are spent and provides Congress and federal agencies with objective, non-partisan, fact-based information to help the government save money and work more efficiently.
  • GovInfo: A service of the United States Government Publishing Office (GPO), which is a Federal agency in the legislative branch.
  • National Archives: Links and indexes to government publications held by the National Archives.
  • Provides access to more than 200 million pages of federal science information, including research and development results.
  • Official guide to government information and services.

International Government Information

  • World Leaders and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments: A country-by-country directory listing heads of state and major government officials.
  • European Union Documents: EU-related reports and statistics.
  • European Union Website: The European Union is a unique economic and political union between 27 EU countries that together cover much of the continent.
  • UN Documents: The United Nations has been publishing documents since its founding. UN documents include resolutions from legislative bodies, such as the General Assembly, Security Council, and the Economic and Social Council, which often contain a work mandate to be carried out by the UN Secretariat, or the UN system. Additionally, reports of the UN Secretary-General assess the state of the Organization and announce new work initiatives. Access to cases and rulings by the International Court of Justice, the main judicial body of the UN, is also available.  On this website, you can search for meeting records, summaries of conferences, UN reports, treaties, maps, yearbooks and more.
  • UN Research Guide: Columbia University resource that includes many additional links to UN-information and projects.
  • World Bank Development Reports: Reports on economic, social, and environmental state of the world. Published annually since 1978.
  • Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the People Republic of China: The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of People's Republic of China is a ministry under the State Council which is responsible for national labor policies, standards, regulations and managing the national social security.


  • Oyez: (pronounced OH-yay)—a free law project from Cornell’s Legal Information Institute (LII), Justia, and Chicago-Kent College of Law—is a multimedia archive devoted to making the Supreme Court of the United States accessible to everyone. 
  • Supreme Court: The Court is the highest tribunal in the Nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of the United States. As the final arbiter of the law, the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution.


  • is the official website for U.S. federal legislative information. The site provides access to accurate, timely, and complete legislative information for Members of Congress, legislative agencies, and the public. It is presented by the Library of Congress (LOC) using data from the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Office of the Secretary of the Senate, the Government Publishing Office, Congressional Budget Office, and the LOC’s Congressional Research Service.
  • Find Members of Congress: A list of current Members, by state, is on the homepage. Members serving in House and Senate leadership positions also are featured on the homepage.
  • Senate Manual: The Senate Manual, prepared during the second session of each Congress by the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, contains the standing rules, orders, laws, and resolutions affecting the Senate, as well as copies of historical U.S. documents, such as Jefferson's Manual, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, Constitution of the United States, et cetera. and selected statistical information on the Senate and other Government entities. It is generally issued each Congress as Senate Document 1.
  • Members' Congressional Handbook: During each session of Congress, each Member has a single Members’ Representational Allowance (“MRA”) available to support the conduct of official and representational duties to the district from which he or she is elected. Ordinary and necessary expenses incurred by the Member or the Member’s employees within the United States, its territories, and possessions in support of the conduct of the Member’s official and representational duties to the district from which he or she is elected are reimbursable in accordance with the regulations contained in this Members’ Congressional Handbook.


  • The American Presidency Project: Non-profit and non-partisan, the APP is a source of presidential documents on the internet.  
  • Commission on Presidential Debates: The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) was established in 1987 to ensure, for the benefit of the American electorate, that general election debates between or among the leading candidates for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States are a permanent part of the electoral process. CPD’s primary purpose is to sponsor and produce the quadrennial general election debates and to undertake research and educational activities relating to the debates.
  • Electoral College: The Electoral College is how we refer to the process by which the United States elects the President, even though that term does not appear in the U.S. Constitution.  In this process, the States (which includes the District of Columbia just for this process) elect the President and Vice President.
  • Federal Election Committee: The FEC was created to promote confidence and participation in the democratic process.

15 U.S. Departments Under the Executive Branch

​​​​​​Fifteen executive departments — each led by an appointed member of the President's Cabinet — carry out the day-to-day administration of the federal government. They are joined in this by other executive agencies such as the CIA and Environmental Protection Agency, the heads of which are not part of the Cabinet, but who are under the full authority of the President. The President also appoints the heads of more than 50 independent federal commissions, such as the Federal Reserve Board or the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as federal judges, ambassadors, and other federal offices. (source)

  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture 
  2. U.S. Department of Commerce
  3. U.S Department of Defense
  4. U.S. Department of Education 
  5. U.S. Department of Energy
  6. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
  7. U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  8. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  9. U.S. Department of Justice
  10. U.S. Department of Labor
  11. Department of State
    • The Department of State has had many versions of their website, which can be accessed at their web archive.
    • Background Notes - U.S. Department of State: Brief profiles of most countries of the world. Includes information on government type and structure, names of major government officials, and an overview of foreign relations.
  12. U.S. Department of the Interior
  13. U.S. Department of the Treasury 
  14. U.S. Department of Transportation 
  15. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Other Levels of Government

  • Council of State Governments: Founded in 1933, The Council of State Governments is the nation’s largest nonpartisan organization serving all three branches of state elected and appointed officials. The mission of CSG is to champion excellence in state government and the organization executes that mission.
  • National Conference of State Legislatures: NCSL, founded in 1975, represents the legislatures in the states, territories and commonwealths of the U.S. Its mission is to advance the effectiveness, independence and integrity of legislatures and to foster interstate cooperation and facilitate the exchange of information among legislatures.
  • National Governors Association: Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association is the voice of the leaders of 55 states, territories, and commonwealths. Our nation’s Governors are dedicated to leading bipartisan solutions that improve citizens’ lives through state government. Through NGA, Governors identify priority issues and deal with matters of public policy and governance at the state, national and global levels.
  • New York State Documents: A driver's manual for people planning to test for a driver's license... The final report on the results of a comprehensive, Statewide examination of the way that allegations of child abuse are investigated... A travel guide highlighting vacation areas in New York... What these publications have in common is that they are all State documents - official publications of New York State agencies. And one of the best places to find, use and learn about New York government information is at the New York State Library. A repository of official State publications since its creation in 1818, the NYS Library has the world's largest collection of New York State documents.
  • US Conference of Mayors: The United States Conference of Mayors is the official non-partisan organization of cities with a population of 30,000 or larger. Each city is represented by its chief elected official, the mayor.