How does the partial government shutdown affect legal researchers? Some government websites will be down; others will be static.
The U.S. Government Printing Office's Federal Digital System (FDsys) provides free online access to official publications of primary legal sources and Congressional publications. For the duration of the Federal government shutdown:
- Congressional materials will continue to be processed and posted to FDsys.
- Federal Register services on FDsys will be "limited to documents necessary to safeguard human life, protect property, or provide other emergency services consistent with the performance of functions and services exempted under the Antideficiency Act."
- The remaining collections on FDsys will not be updated.
Other government information services are also impacted. The Library of Congress is closed and its websites are inaccessible, except for the legislative sites thomas.gov and beta.congress.gov. Regulations.gov has a notice stating the website may not be up to date, but you can still submit comments to agencies.
For more information:
- What Happens to .gov in a Shutdown?, The Sunlight Foundation, Sept. 30, 2013.
- A Bunch of Federal Websites Will Shut Down With the Government, The Washington Post, Sept. 30, 2013.
And if you want to read something more wonky than a news story, try the 24-page Congressional Research Service Report, dated Sept. 25, 2013, and posted courtesy of the Federation of American Scientists: Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effects.