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The United States Government Manual was published initially as a loose-leaf notebook, its pages held in place by three metal rings. For over eight decades, this New Deal-era publication has been the "official handbook" of the Federal Government. A regularly updated special edition of the Federal Register, it includes leadership tables and describes agency activities and programs of the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of Government, as well as activities and programs of quasi-official agencies and international organizations in which the United States participates as a member.

The 2018 Government Manual also has Sources of Information sections covering a host of topics and containing links to online resources. Here are examples to illustrate the wide range of topics covered in these sections: aircraft and ships, America the Beautiful passes, answers to FAQs, artists, auctions, bank regulators, blogs, bullying, bus travel safety, career and business opportunities, chemical exposure, Chief of Staff's reading list, climate and sustainability, cooperative practices and cooperative principles, credit cards, credit unions, datasets and statistics, debt collection, democracy, disease, earthquakes and landslides, Electoral College, endangered species and wildlife, flood insurance, Founding Fathers, Freedom of Information Act and Open Government, gardening and organic agriculture, glossaries, Green Card and naturalization, greenhouse gas emissions, green jobs, historic Federal courthouses, history and timelines, homelessness and homeless veterans, Landsat, landscaping, law enforcement, learning American English, lessons of the Holocaust, LGBT youth, maps, Marine Corps bands and tattoo policy, Medals of Honor, minimum wage, museums, news and announcements, organ donation and transplantation, organizational charts, over 9 billion records, payday loans, plain language, planets, publications, public debt, recreation, renewable energy, savings bonds and Treasury bills, search tools, seigniorage, sexual assault, shipwrecks and ship disposal, site maps and A–Z indices, snarge, social media, student loans, suicide prevention, tobacco-free living, travel warnings and wait times, trees on Capitol Grounds, underage drinking, volcanic activity, water conservation and resources, whistleblower disclosures, wild horses and burros, women in the labor force, and more.

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