Using the Federal Web Locator

Jump to the bottom of this page.

TITLE: Federal Web Locator

SCOPE: The Federal Web Locator describes itself as "a service provided by the Villanova Center for Information Law and Policy and...intended to be the one stop shopping point for federal government information on the World Wide Web. This list is maintained to bring the cyber citizen to the federal government's doorstep." As the last phrase suggests, the Web Locator is organized in such a way as to facilitate access to government itself, not necessarily to any particular class of information. It is in fact a list of Federally maintained sites (mostly web sites) organized by branch, department, and agency--not (e.g.) a list of subjects.

DATES: Like all link pages, all of the information on the Web Locator is current, in intention at least.

CONTENTS: A list of Federal agencies and organizations taken directly from the U.S. Government Manual, arranged hierarchically in exact imitation of the Manual's list, and with each item on the list linked (when possible) to the public site maintained by that agency. Like the Manual, the Locator is divided into large categories: Legislative Branch -- Judicial Branch -- Executive Branch (with Departments) -- Independent Agencies -- Quasi Official Agencies -- Non-Governmental Federally Related Sites The coverage is thorough. Under Quasi-Official Agencies, for example, the Locator lists:

     Government Information Locator Service (GILS)
     FinanceNet (Federal Finance Information Network)
     Federal Information Exchange (FEDIX)
     National Academy of Sciences
     National Consortium for High Performance Computing
     National Coordination Office for High Performance 
        Computing and Communications
     National Institute for Literacy
     National Technology Transfer Center
     Smithsonian Institution  
     Technology Reinvestment Project

And under "Selected Multilateral Organizations and International Sites," a relatively meager crop consisting of:

     Australian Government
     Canadian Government
     European Commission
     Interamerican Development Bank
     Research Development Corporation of Japan (JRDC)
     United Nations

At one level down, the hierarchical arrangement becomes even more dense, as the example of the Department of Transportation shows:

     Bureau of Transportation Statistics
     Federal Aviation Administration
          Alaskan Region
               Secondary Server
               Fairbanks Automated Flight Service Station
               Fairbanks ATCT
          Center for Advanced Aviation System Development (CAASD)
          Center for Aviation Systems Reliability
          Commercial Space Transportation
          Flight Standards Service
               Air Transportation Division
          Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center
               FAA Academy - Air Traffic Home Page
               Office of Information Services (AMI)
               Operational Support Directorate (AOS)
          Northwest Mountain Region
               Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center
               Portland TRACON
               Seattle Flight Standards District Office
          Office of Environment and Energy
          Office of System Capacity and Requirements (ASC)
          Technical Center
     Federal Transit Administration
     U.S. Coast Guard

AUTHORITY: The Villanova Center for Information Law and Policy is a university-based, privately funded (NCAIR) organization run largely by lawyers and professors of law. See: report on the organization

AUTHORITY: The Locator, though it seems to represent a stable resource, represents and pretends to no authority itself, but merely points at Federal sites in an organized way.

INDICES: The Locator offers, as yet, no on-line search capabilities or index aside from that provided by the Manual-based organization itelf, or that provided by the web browser (e.g. the Netscape "Search" command).

PURPOSE AND ASSESSMENT: Like the Government Manual, and representing a reasonable followup to use of the Manual, the Locator is best at connecting users to specific departments or agencies of the Federal government. It seems to do a creditable job of keeping up with new and changing sites, and makes the chore of locating agency sites painless. More comprehensive and up-to-date in its collection of agency sites than the LC Marvel gopher.

COMMENTS: Annotation, like search capability, is promised soon.

Go to top - - General Purpose Tools - - Federal Tool Kit - - Navigator - - Credits - - Comments