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Policy and Government

Core resources for Schar School undergraduate and graduate students, and for all Political Science, Public Policy, Government & International Affairs and Public Administration courses.

Alternatives to .gov sites

During a government shutdown, many publicly available government resources are not available. This page offers alternatives to commonly used government resources.

For Most Congressional or Executive Branch Documents & Quick Facts:

For US Census Information/Data:

For other government issued data:

Find Government Information in Mason Searches

The Mason Libraries Search can be useful to locating United States government information.  The best search strategy is to use the Advanced Search option.  Once at the Advanced Search screen, change the first drop-down to Author/Creator and enter United States in the box next to "contains". Here is an example search:

Leave the remaining drop-downs as any fields and enter your search terms in those boxes (think of broad search terms for this step).  You may also change the second drop-down to Author/Creator and add the name of a particular agency or department to find publications from that agency.  You can also have options to limit by date, and after your search you can limit by specific library location.


Wayback Machine- Internet Archive

During a government shutdown, federal agency websites will not be updated, or worse, taken offline entirely.  If this happens, try searching the federal agency's url in the Wayback Machine, provided by the Internet Archive.  Once in the site, enter a URL and if the site was archived, you can explore it.  However remember that this link does not archive databases or most videos, and search boxes on the archived site will not work.