Governmental Affairs and Nongovernmental Organizations
In this Section:
The Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications (MOCAT) is the major tool for finding information about government publications. The catalog marked its 100th year of publication in 1995. In the preface of the January 1895 issue, the superintendent of documents, Francis A. Crandall, expressed the hope that it would be the "initial number in a long series of official Monthly Catalogues."
Over the years many changes have occurred. A significant change took place in 1976, when "Anglo-American cataloging rules" were first used to catalog publications appearing in the Monthly Catalog. Availability of the Monthly Catalog in electronic formats, first on tape and later in other formats, has enabled the Government Printing Office to make information on federal documents available to a greater number of people. Beginning in 1996, a CD-ROM version of the MOCAT was introduced. Most of the features of the traditional paper version were included in the CD-ROM version. An on-line version of the catalog is also now available on the World Wide Web. These new MOCAT formats will make it easier for users to retrieve information about federal publications. The paper version of the MOCAT will continue to be available with shorter entries and a keyword title index. The problem with the paper version, however, is that you'll be lucky to find one (the microfiche version was discontinued after the December 1995 issue). This is just one example of how books and paper libraries may become things of the past; in the future we will have "media centers."
If government workers represent 18 percent of the U.S. labor force, why were they victims of about 30 percent of the cases of workplace violence during the years 1987-1992? The 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City serves as the most recent and tragic example of public employees being murdered while at work. If you are looking for valuable insight into the public administration arena, the Public Administration Review (PAR) is an excellent place to start. One is often tempted to simply look at the government as a source of information on regulations and data management. But it is one of the world's largest complexes of organizations both as customer and employer. Despite the general mood of politicians to reduce government size and influence, make no mistake, these organizations will be around for a while, controlling what you do and how you do it.
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Business America: The Magazine of International Trade (BA), first published by the State Department under another name in October 1880, is the oldest U.S. government magazine. After more than a hundred years of continuous publication, Business America still has the same mission: to help American companies sell their products overseas. That mission has been turned over to the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration (ITA). The ITA has over 50 commercial districts around the country and in Puerto Rico. Many, but not all, of the offices have trade specialists who are available for counseling: the offices, addresses and telephone numbers plus trade specialist positions are listed at the end of the journal.
BA is a brief publication of approximately 35 pages that focuses on special trade topics (e.g., "Reinvented Government Programs: Paving the Way for Exporters Into the 21st Century") that are designed to inform, instruct, and motivate American businesspersons. The format is simple, but jazzed up considerably (for the government that means two-color separation and big fonts) in the last few years. The magazine leads with "Trade Watch," which gives brief sketches on the most recent trade activities involving the United States (e.g., "U.S. Economy"; "U.S. International Transactions"; "World Bank Sets Up Infrastructure Project Database"; etc.). Examples of some articles-written by ITA trade specialists-are:
Anyone who needs to contact a governmental organization or person in Washington should not be without this book. The editors of this directory have organized more than 5,000 information sources into 19 chapters on different subjects. These chapters list names, addresses, and telephone numbers of members of Congress and officials of federal departments and agencies as well as private nonprofit groups in the Washington area. Each entry describes the work and responsibilities of the organization listed. The Washington Information Directory includes a section on the Internet and Related Technologies as well as an enlarged section on Executive Reorganization. It also features e-mail addresses of many agencies, congressional offices, and nonprofit groups; and eight new organization charts.
The Washington Information Directory is designed to make your search for information easy and quick. Each of the 18 chapters in the directory (see the table of contents) covers a broad subject area. You will find, for example, chapters on energy, health, science and space, and national security. Within the chapters, information is grouped in narrower subject areas. A detailed table of contents can be found at the beginning of each chapter. This subject arrangement allows you to find in one place the departments and agencies of the federal government, congressional committees, and private, nonprofit organizations in the nation's capital that have the information you need.
This very large (e.g., 1,216 pages) "handbook" seems to belie its title. Nevertheless, it does cover in four to five pages the essential political information of each country in the world. It is broken down into categories of: heads of state and government, cabinet members, leaders and programs of political parties, representation in national legislatures, mass media, and the composition and activities of major intergovernmental organizations. The section on intergovernmental organizations is particularly useful for getting a comprehensive and rapid explanation of their history and obligation.
CALVIN AND HOBBES 1998 Watterson Dist. by UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
Optional Government Affairs References:
- National Economic, Social and Environmental Data Bank
- Economic Indicators
- Technology and the American Economics Transition
- The Economic and Budget Outlook
- Equal Employment Opportunity File
- A Competitive Assessment of Various Industries
- Minerals Yearbook
- Quarterly Financial Report for Manufacturing, Mining and Trade Corporations
- Balance of Payments Statistics - (see state and local government publications by name or state)