FirstGov: The Official Gateway to Government Information

Looking for government information? You might try the official search engine for federal government information, FirstGov at This search engine was created in 2000 to give the public fast and easy access to all kinds of government information. FirstGov was not a government idea, however. Its history includes a grant, a gift, and a nearly impossible challenge.

With a Department of Defense grant, Eric Brewer developed an Internet search engine and founded the successful Inktomi Corporation. When casting about for some way to say thanks, he tendered his services to then President Clinton, who took him up on his offer. Brewer was at his side when the President announced plans for FirstGov in June of 2000. He expected it would be challenging to create a database and search system for an estimated 27 million electronic documents. What he didn't expect was the timetable for the project: 90 days!

In spite of the challenge, FirstGov was officially launched in September of 2000. It has gone through revisions and reorganizations since then in response to feedback from the public. Today it works as a gateway to government information for citizens, businesses, and other governments. Users can browse through frequently requested topics or search its current 51 million web pages for federal and state government information and services.

FirstGov is linked from the library's government information page at