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Researching Federal & State Agencies

* Indicates that the item is located only in the Reference collection on the 3rd floor of Cook Library.

    History of Agencies/ Departments


United States Government Manual

Latest kept at Reference desk
Also available at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/gmanual/index.html

Federal Yellow Book: Who's Who in Federal Departments and Agencies. [Latest in Reference]
Arranged by department/agency and then divisions within each. Includes indexes that list personnel and organizations alphabetically.

Federal Regulatory Directory. (Congressional Quarterly) [Latest in Reference]
Provides background information on Federal regulatory agencies, including introductory information, agency organization, congressional action and further sources of information. Introduction covers responsibilities, authority, historical background and current issues.
Federal Agencies Directory [LSU Libraries]

Provides links to Federal Web sites.


West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 1998 [with updates]
Provides background information on some Federal agencies and departments.
Available online through Research Port [By database name].

Guide to the Presidency. [Congressional Quarterly] 2008
Check Ch. 29: Cabinet and Executive Departments and Ch. 30:Government agencies and corporations.


Maryland Manual

Latest kept at Reference desk
Also available at http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/mdmanual/html/mmtoc.html

    Agency/Department Authorization & Organization

United States Code Annotated
Also available through LexisNexis Academic on Cook Library home page at http://cooklibrary.towson.edu From off-campus, access to LexisNexis, you will need to login through Research Port.

  • Once in LexisNexis, click on the Legal tab on the toolbar at the top of the screen
  • Click on Federal & State Codes
  • From the drop-down Sources menu, select United States Code Service or a section of USCS

Annotated Code of Maryland
Also available through LexisNexis Academic on Cook Library home page at http://cooklibrary.towson.edu

  • Once in LexisNexis, click on the Legal tab on the toolbar at the top of the screen
  • Click on Federal & State Codes
  • From the drop-down Sources menu, select the desired State Code

    Agency/Department Publications


*Guide to U.S. Government Publications. 2001

  • Creation & authority of Federal agencies
  • Lists Superintendent of Documents classification for major Federal agency and departmental publications including annual reports.

Check the CATALOG at
http://cooklibrary.towson.edu for Towson U and/or USMAI holdings
Search Name/ Author Browse with department or agency name (e.g. maryland dept of health and human hygiene, or united states marshals service)
Selected agency/departmental publications are often available through their Web site.

Web sites  

**To locate state budgets, try a Google search (e.g. maryland state budget, new york state budget)



2002 Census of Governments. [US Census]

  • Preliminary data on government organization, public employment, and government finance at the state and local level, in general. Includes in-depth statistics up to 2005.
  • Scroll down the page to FINANCES, where you will links to publications such as State & Local Government Finances
  • Additional federal, state, and local Government Finance sources

Municipal Year Book. [International City/County Management Association] 1944-

  • Five sections including management issues and trends, intergovernmental relations, staffing and compensation, directories, and references.
  • Includes salaries of municipal and county officials, fire and police personnel.

Book of the States .1998/99 -

  • See chapter- State Finance and Demographics

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    Government Reform

Vice President Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government

  • Known at the time as the National Performance Review, was the Clinton-Gore Administration's interagency task force to reform and streamline the way the federal government works
  • Operated between 1993-2000 achieving numerous accomplishments including the establishment of USA.gov, a one-stop gateway to government information
  • Identified 32 high-impact agencies for reinvention
  • Published NPR reports, many of which are available online

Government Employees

  • Section of the USA.gov Web site containing information for government employees
  • Includes federal government initiatives, intergovernmental collaboratives, and best practices for administrative units at the local level
  • Covers areas such as administrative management, disasters, education, health, housing, and transportation
  • Includes sections for federal, state & local employees and tribal governments and native americans

    Periodical Articles about Agencies/ Departments
    Try the following online databases available through Cook Library home page at http://cooklibrary.towson.edu Click on Research Databases. From off-campus, access to these databases, you will need to login through Research Port.

Search three EBSCO databases simultaneously, Academic Search , Social Sciences Abstracts and Military & Government Collection,
for articles on Federal agencies and departments.

  • To locate articles on the administrative aspects of an agency, in ADVANCED SEARCH try the strategy: name of the agency (SUBJECT) and administrative or administration (SUBJECT)
  • To locate articles on government reform, try using the strategy (national performance review or npr or reinvent* or reform* or restructur* or reorganiz* or streamlin* ) and a government department (SUBJECT) or agency name
  • To locate articles on government's role try using the strategy topic (e.g. air pollution) (SUBJECT) and government or administrative (SUBJECT) and united states (SUBJECT) .
    Additional terms to try: centralization/decentralization, efficiency, productivity, technology, accountability, best practices, strategic plan*, performance report*
  America: History and Life
Search for abstracts of articles from scholarly journals in History and the social sciences.
web sources  

LexisNexis Academic
For U. S. Newspapers: Click on the blue News button and select Newspapers & Wires and check off Major Newspapers or Newspapers, if you want smaller local US newspapers. Provides full text of major newspapers including New York Times (1980 - ) and Washington Post (1977 - ) and also other local newspapers like the Baltimore Sun (last 6 months only), Charleston Daily Mail, Houston Press.

Note: The truncation symbol in this database is !. For example, For example, senat! = senate, senate's, senatorial

Note: To restrict your search to a specific time period, change All available dates to a shortened time period or specific dates. Once you have a list of results, you may want to click on Sort by: Relevance to change the arrangement of results so that the "best" articles are listed first, instead of the "most current" or to Chronological, which arranges the oldest articles first.

For State/Local Newspapers & News Services: LexisNexis is a good place to start when looking for a local perspective on city issues that might not be covered at the national level.

  • Once in LexisNexis, click on the blue Sources button.
  • Click on Browse Sources, change All Countries to United States and then All Regions to a specfic state.
  • Below this on the web page, click on the publication type News.
  • Check the box next to a city's state News Sources (e.g. for Pittsburgh, search Pennsylvania News Sources)
  • Click on the red box that says OK- Continue.
  • On the resulting search screen, make sure to search the section segment - HLEAD (which means Headline & lead paragraph).
  • Use initialism, if applicable and full title of the department or agency (e.g. epa or environmental protection agency).

National Newspapers [ProQuest]
Provides full text of newspapers including The Sun (Baltimore), Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. Note: The truncation symbol in this database is *. For example, environment* = environment, environments, environmental, etc.
Note:To limit a search to The Sun (Baltimore), from the main search screen, click on select multiple databases next to the words News - Proquest Newspapers, deselect
Proquest Newspapers, select The Sun.

Note: To search multiple papers, such as The Sun (Baltimore) and the Washington Post, from the main search screen, click on the words select multiple databases. Uncheck Proquest Newspapers, check off the Washington Post and The Sun. Click on Continue and type in your search topic.

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