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Finding Government Information & Publications

Identifying Source of Government Information

Australian government websites are easily identifiable by the particular URL suffix they use.

Federal government departmental websites will have a 'gov.au' suffix where as state government websites will append this suffix with a state name abbreviation. 

The URL designation can be used to target web searches to retrieve state and federal government information and publications.

Federal Government Websites

image depicting the url suffix for an australian government website the siffux being the text dot gove dot au

 

State Government Websites

url suffix of a state based government website

 

Typically government websites will provide either a search facility on the website or a section for reports and other documents, consider any categories or classifications of content provided on the website as these will assist with pinpointing information. A number of key government and departmental websites are listed on the BSB108 landing page with many more sources of information and publications available via the Australian Government Register.

When conducting industry research information is often aggregated and supplied under categories that describe the particular area in focus. For example the Australian Bureau of Statistics uses a classification system when publishing monthly and quarterly employment updates supplying labour data at industry or occupation subgroup level. While occupation data may be only be available at industry level via the ABS it is often the case other associated government websites such as the Federal Government's, Job Outlook program provide additional data and information summaries on various occupations including social and economic information. The information and data you are looking for may often be integrated in publications or webpages across a range of government websites and so an active search process is key to finding useful, usable sources.
 

Guidance for Locating Government Information
 

  • It is best to start with government or departmental websites and known series published by them, for example: Key Economic Indicators (ABS), Bulletin (RBA), Monthly Visitor Statistics (AUSTRADE/Tourism Research Australia).
     
  • Review the website to identify any specific data or publications webpages - start the initial search on this portion of the website using either search facilities provide and/or categories, headings or any other signposting provided on the website.
     
  • A combination of using both the search features provided on the website and targeted web searching using search operators make it easier to investigate the content of the website more thoroughly. 

Advanced Searching

Advanced search principles:

  • Word or phrase order matters - try different variants or word/operator order.
  • Use different search engines - widens the possibility of discovering different content.
  • Try different combinations of search operators - effects the search logic of the algorithm and therefore the results.
     

Advanced Search Operators

The four key search operators to incorporate in advanced web searching are provided below. These advanced search operators can be used in combination or as singular additions to keywords or phrases.

site:

filetype:

allintext:

AROUND(x)

Returns results from a specific website.

 site:rba.gov.au 

 

Returns documents of a certain type.

filetype:pdf | doc | pptx

 

Finds multiple words on a webpage.

allintext:arrivals australia

Find pages containing two words or phrases within a certain range.

regulation AROUND(10) tourism

 

 

Sample advanced searches

  • “Sustainable tourism” AND poverty site:gov.au will look for Australian government websites with information on sustainable tourism and poverty.
     
  • “Sustainable tourism” AND poverty alleviation filetype:pdf will look for PDFs on sustainable tourism and poverty alleviation.

See this link here for a sample search that targets items contained inside a website using keywords and filetypes along with a URL  filter to explicitly focuses the search on a single website type.