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Government Information: On The Web

A short tutorial on finding state and federal information.

USA.GOV is the U.S. Government's official web portal that provides access to over 51 million federal, state, local, and tribal governmental web pages. With, it is possible to find information on practically any subject and information is updated on the site daily.

Finding Information on

There are several ways to find information through You may find information through one of the four gateways (citizen, business and nonprofit, federal employees, and government to government), through the search box, or through the organization, contact, and reference links located on the side of every page. In addition, a site index lists every topic covered in


Using the Search Box

The search box located at the top of every page allows you to search government web pages through a keyword search. Simply enter in your search words or phrase and click on the search button. You may also choose to perform an advanced search by clicking on the advanced search link beneath the box. This will allow you to limit your search to which words to use or not use, location of your words in the original web page, which site or domain to search, whether to search state or federal, file formats, language, and the number of results displayed on each page.


You can also use Google to search for online government websites.  There are two ways to limit Google to searching just government sites:

Advanced Search

Go to the Google Advanced Search page (

The bottom box will say "Search within a site or domain."  Since we know that all federal websites end with .gov, we can put .gov in this box.  If you are searching for military documents, put .mil here instead.  Put your search terms in the first box and hit the search button! 

Google Limit

You can also find the advanced search link at the bottom of any search result page:

Google Advanced Search Link


Manual Search

You can also manually put in the command to limit to a particular domain.  The command in Google is site:  So, to limit to federal documents you type your search plus and for military documents, you type your search plus

Google Search