The U.S. Federal Government Information Locator Service (GILS) - FAQ


Why is GILS Important?

GILS can help you find public information resources throughout the U.S. Federal Government. GILS records identify these resources, describe the information available from these resources, and provide assistance in obtaining the actual information from these resources.

Who Can Benefit From Using GILS?

GILS can benefit anyone who is searching for information from the Federal government, or anyone who helps others search for such information. Searches can be performed directly from your workstation using the Internet and other electronic means to visit any of the dozens of U.S. Federal GILS sites.

What Will You Find in a GILS Record?

GILS records provide you with descriptions of publicly-available information on your topic of interest. Each GILS record presents a thorough description of the information resource, including:

- What information is available and why it was created.

- How the information is made available for your use.

- Who to contact for further information.

- In some cases, a direct electronic link to the information itself is provided.

How Do You Access GILS?

One good starting point is the GILS site on GPO Access, at the following Internet World Wide Web address:

This site contains the GILS records for 25 Federal agencies, additional records designed to serve as pathways to information sources in all Cabinet-Level and major independent Federal agencies, and pointer records with links to other U.S. Federal GILS sites.

For those without WWW access, this site can also be utilized through:

- WAIS client software. Host: Port: 210 Database: GILS

- It can also be reached by telneting to or dialing in to (202) 512-1661 (log in as guest).

Where Did GILS Come From?

Congress and the Office of Management and Budget directed all U.S. Federal agencies to create, and to make available to the public, GILS records on their information holdings. These mandates also directed that agency efforts were to be based on internationally accepted standards for information search and

retrieval. GILS efforts are also being implemented at the individual State level, by other nations, and by international organizations.

How Can You Get More Information About GILS?

To learn more about the U.S. Federal GILS and other GILS efforts, go to the GILS home page on the World Wide Web. It can be reached at:

Specific information regarding individual agency GILS sites should be addressed to the developers of the site. An example of this would be to contact the GPO Access User Support Team via e-mail ( or phone (202-512-1530) for information on the GPO Access GILS site. ​​