Government publications are issued by the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the federal government. The following section gives information about the three branches of the federal government and the publications they issue.
The executive branch of government enforces the laws of the land. It was established in Article II of the Constitution. Many laws enacted by Congress require agencies to issue regulations. Executive branch agencies are granted the power to implement regulations relating to matters within their jurisdiction. Regulations are published daily in the Federal Register and are then codified in the Code of Federal Regulations once a year. Cabinet agencies like the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security are included in this category.
The judicial branch of government is established in Article III of the Constitution with the creation of the Supreme Court. This court is the highest court in the country and is empowered with the judicial powers of the government. There are lower Federal courts but they were not created by the Constitution. Rather, Congress deemed them necessary and established them using power granted from the Constitution. Courts decide arguments about the meaning of laws, how they are applied, and whether they break the rules of the Constitution. A court's authority to decide constitutionality is called judicial review.
The legislative branch of government has the authority to make laws for the nation. It was established in Article I of the Constitution with the creation of Congress. Congress is made up of two chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Agencies such as the Government Publishing Office, Library of Congress, Congressional Budget Office, and the General Accounting Office, that provide support services for the Congress are also part of the legislative branch.
USA.gov - As the U.S. government's official web portal, USA.gov makes it easy for the public to get U.S. government information and services on the web. USA.gov also serves as the catalyst for the growing electronic government at all levels. State and local information is frequently included in the search results.
The GPO Catalog of Government Publications indexes government publications from the U.S. Superintendent of Documents, the publisher of materials from all federal agencies. Those materials received by the Ottenheimer Library will be included in the library's online catalog.
The majority of U.S. Documents are shelved using the Superintendent of Documents classification system. It is based on the agency that published the document, rather than the subject of the publication. The Government Publishing Office provides a detailed explanation of the system.