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Finding the BEST Government Content in the Public Domain

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, one of the BEST sources for great Public Domain content is the U.S. Government! Billions of dollars are spent each year to create programs, research, publications, websites, consumer education and much more. And guess what? YOU are paying for it…it’s your taxpayer dollars at work. Of course, the great news is that works created by federal employees during the course of their job are in the Public Domain. What that means for you and me is that there is a LOT of great content of all types, created by some of the brightest people, available to us right now to use for products, articles, blog posts and more!

The challenge is always finding the content. I always say that you can’t find what you don’t know to look for. That’s true “most” of the time. The trick that can overcome that rule is to understand HOW to look…and that usually involves some stealth research tricks…grin…or access to a good search engine. And when it comes to finding content from the U.S. Government, there are several “search engine” options you have available to you.

Below is a list of my favorite, government-related search engines. Each have different focuses for accessing different types of content, but all can lead you down the “Yellow Brick Road” (yellow meaning GOLD…grin) for great content!

http://www.usa.gov

http://www.searchgov.com

http://www.searchmil.com

http://www.google.com/unclesam (also…google.com: search for [keyword] .gov)

http://www.gpoaccess.gov

http://www.loc.gov (Library of Congress)

http://www.ntis.gov (Find docs advertised here and then search for PDFs on usa.gov)

http://www.business.gov

http://www.regulations.gov

http://www.voanews.com

http://www.archives.gov (National Archives and Records Administration)

http://arcweb.archives.gov/arc/action/BasicSearchForm (Archival Research Catalog)

http://www.archives.gov/research/alic/ (Archives Library Information Center)

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html (American Memory)

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/ (Prints & Photographs Online Catalog)

In closing, I’ll leave you with this thought…this content is yours…you paid for it with your tax dollars…so why aren’t you using what’s yours? Think of it as the ultimate tax rebate. Make products from the content your tax dollars helped create. Sell those products and enjoy 100% of the profit. Cost to you…NOTHING! (You already paid, remember?!).

Your only question should be, “What can I create next?” Go have fun!

3 Responses to “Finding the BEST Government Content in the Public Domain”

  • Hey Tony,

    Great post as usual, and the links you have provided sure make following the “Yellow Brick” road to that pot of gold ALOT easier!

    I hope people are taking your advice and using these sites to their advantage, the amount of info available to us taxpayers is incredible!

    Thanks again,

    Trapper

  • Bart Vyvey:

    Hello Tony,
    Thanks a lot!
    I guess there is more info on that road than we’ll aver be able to convert into products…

    But I do have one question on this: Does the PD label counts for everything on these sites? With “everything” I mean text, pictures, video, sound… basically all types of content?

    Sincerely,
    Bart

  • Thanks Tony for this post!

    My feeling: if people aren’t using this info – it’s their loss….

    Thanks for sharing! Really looking forward to the Video Making Webinar series.

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