Thursday, October 10, 2013

Finding Government Reports During the Shutdown

Looking for government reports in all the wrong places? Clicking on links only to get a "sorry, we're closed" message? Some government websites are accessible even if they are not being updated. But other agency websites are dark.

So what's a researcher to do? First – and always foremost – ask a librarian. AskUs, or, if you are a remote blog reader, ask your local law, academic, or public librarian for help. Depending on your research needs, librarians can suggest print (gasp!) or commercial online sources if available.

Second, check the Internet Archive. You can try the Wayback Machine directly, if you have a URL, but several agency websites were captured just before the shutdown. Some features of the site won't work, but you might be able to find what you need. For example, if you are looking for the latest Hart-Scott-Rodino Annual Report, you won't be able to access it from the Federal Trade Commission's site. Nor will the Government Printing Office’s PURL work, since in this case the PURL points to the FTC.  But the FTC is on the list of sites grabbed by the Internet Archive (tip: click on the agency logo, not the .gov URL). The FTC site search feature doesn't work, looking around, you can find the Hart-Scott-Rodino annual report – and many others – under the "policy" tab.

Agency publications may not be obviously noted. Look for "library," "documents," "news," "press," or "reading room."

Besides the FTC site, the Internet Archive has the FCC, NOAA, USDA, USITC, and more.

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