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United States federal government agencies investigate and publish on a wide variety of topics, ranging from child care to nuclear armaments to corn production. Almost anything that deals with society today or in the past has been discussed in U.S. government publications.
United States Masterfile (USM) is an easy-to-use resource for anyone interested in locating government-published information. The service pulls together twenty-five foundational indexes and collections that deal with U.S. government information. Document specialists will recognize many of these sources as enhanced electronic editions of core finding aids used in libraries for decades.
Over the years the U.S. government has published content in a variety of formats, including print, microform, and digital media—all of which are included in USM. When available, USM citations also include links to full text digital documents. Many of these are open access, however some sources do require library access to the data (e.g., Readex Serial Set and DataPlanet).
The best search strategy is to enter a word or short phrase (e.g., “water rights,” “pension plans,” “toxicity”). The BASIC SEARCH form searches the title and subject headings within records. It is the simple search box initially displayed on the landing page.
To run a search you can either press ENTER on your keyboard or you can click the “Search” button.
If you want apply more specific parameters to your research, the ADVANCED SEARCH dropdown should be used. To access this dropdown, click on the button labeled “Show Advanced Search Options” on the landing page.
(NOTE: Advanced Search options also appear above the results set after the completion of the search, allowing further edits to the current search or a new search entirely. This form looks slightly different but is functionally the same, see illustration under “Search with synonyms added” below.)
Enter your search terms in the single box and then apply the desired parameters. These include:
Once you have run a search, you can manipulate the list of results in several ways. These include:
By default, results are sorted by date, with the most recent documents displayed first. If you wish to change the sort, you can do so by using the SORT button.