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The govinfo api is intended to provide data users with a simple means to programmatically access govinfo content and metadata, which is stored in self-describing packages. This initial release provides functionality to retrieve lists of packages added or modified within a given time frame, summary metadata for packages, direct access to content and metadata formats, and equivalent granule information.

Interactive documentation using the OpenAPI/swagger specification is available at

Table of Contents

  1. Keys
  2. Versioning
  3. Issues
  4. About the Data
  5. Quickstart - sample requests
  6. Error Messages


This API requires the use of an key - signup here. If you already have one, go to the /docs page, click on Authorize, and enter your key. Then you can make all the requests normally.

You can send your API key in a few different ways. See for more information on key usage.

Information on rate limits can be found here. The rate limit is tracked on an rolling hourly basis.


One of the API's design goals is to minimize breaking changes, but we are implementing versioning to allow users to specify the version required. We have not determined the number of versions that we plan to support at this time, but it will be based on usage and we will communicate with known users prior to deprecating any version.

If no version is specified in requests, the latest version of the api will be provided.


See Issues to submit an issue or comment on future development priorities.

See the labels below for additional information:

  • Features - list of features that are currently under consideration by the govinfo team. Your feedback is welcome!
  • Upcoming - list of features that are currently under development and will be available in an upcoming release. Once scheduled, they will be assigned to a milestone.

About the Data

Data available in the API represents official publications from all three branches of the Federal Government as made available on GPO's govinfo. For more information about the data that's available from govinfo, see our about page and learn what's available.


This section is designed to help provide quick examples of how to use the GovInfo API. Generally, the endpoints of the API can be broken up into two main groupings:

Collections Service


Base collections request

sample | formatted

This request will provide a json list of the collections available within our system, including a collectionCode, collectionName, packageCount, and granuleCount (as applicable). All json response are returned in a minified format.

Collection update

The following request allows you to specify a collection and get a list of packageIds that have been added or modified within the specified time period. collectionCode and lastModifiedStartDate are required, as is pageSize. Optionally, you can include the lastModifiedEndDate. pageSize is limited to 1000 results.

For offsetMark, start with offsetMark=* - the API will respond with the correct offsetMark for the next page as part of the nextPage key.

lastModifiedStartDate/lastModifiedEndDate usage

lastModifiedStartDate and lastModifiedEndDate are parameters used to search against the lastModified value for the individual packages. This represents the time that this package was added or updated - equivalent to the value listed in the sitemaps. It is not the equivalent to Date Published, Date Issued, or Date Ingested in MODS.

Congressional Bills with lastModifiedStartDate only (BILLS)

sample | formatted*&pageSize=100&api_key=DEMO_KEY

Congressional Bills with lastModifiedEndDate

sample | formatted*&pageSize=150&api_key=DEMO_KEY

Congressional Record (CREC)

sample | formatted*&pageSize=10&api_key=DEMO_KEY

United States Court Opinions (USCOURTS)

sample | formatted*&pageSize=25&api_key=DEMO_KEY

Published Service

This is similar to the collections service in that it provides users with an easy way to get a list of packages by date. The difference is that this service provides packages based on dateIssued -- this generally corresponds to the publication date of the content itself, rather than the govinfo system update time for a publication.


https:// of records in call&collection=comma-separated list of values&api_key=your api key


BILLS issued between January and July 2019:*&pageSize=100&collection=BILLS&api_key=DEMO_KEY

Federal Register and CFR packages in 2019:*&pageSize=100&collection=CFR,FR&modifiedSince=2020-01-01T00:00:00&api_key=DEMO_KEY

Required parameters

  • dateIssuedStartDate: the earliest package you are requesting by dateIssued – YYYY-MM-DD
  • offsetMark: starting record. The initial request should always be *, and the API will provide the correct offsetMark value for the next page's information in the nextPage key.
    • Note: offsetMark effectively replaces the offset parameter. The advantage of the the offsetMark is that it allows traversals of the results past the first 10,000 recors
  • pageSize: number of records to return per request (e.g. 10)
  • collection: comma-separated list of collections that you are requesting, e.g.,BILLSTATUS&api_key=DEMO_KEY - see /collections for a list of collections by code and human-readable name.

Optional parameters:

  • dateIssuedEndDate: the latest package you are requesting by dateIssued – YYYY-MM-DD
  • docClass: Filter the results by overarching collection-specific categories. The values vary from collection to collection. For example, docClass in BILLS corresponds with Bill Type --e.g. s, hr, hres, sconres. CREC (the Congressional Record) has docClass by CREC section: HOUSE, SENATE, DIGEST, and EXTENSIONS
  • congress: congress number (e.g. “116”)
  • modifiedSince: equivalent to the startDate parameter in the collections service which is based on lastModified– allows you to request only packages that have been modified since a given date/time – useful for tracking updates. Requires ISO 8601 format -- e.g. 2020-02-28T00:00:00Z

Related service

The related service allows users to identify and retrieve content and metadata about related content within govinfo based on an access ID. This feature will continue to evolve as we implement additional relationships.


This will return a list of relationships, which then can be followed to return specific documents, with relevant high-level metadata, e.g.:

Available relationships

From BILLS, BILLSTATUS, or PLAW packageIds:

  • Related Bill Versions (BILLS)
  • Bill History (HOB)
  • Presidential Signing Statements and Remarks (CPD)
  • Public and Private Laws (PLAW)
  • Congressional Committee Prints
  • Congressional Reports
  • U.S. Code References
  • Statutes at Large References

From FR documents:

  • Related FR documents by Regulation Identifier Number (RIN)
  • Code of Federal Regulations Citations

From CHRG:

  • Related Hearings - often parts or errata

Search Service

The Search Service allows for programmatic requests against the GovInfo search engine to return results similar to the results on the GovInfo user interface.

This requires a POST request. For easy examples, download Postman and import the Postman collection here

Here is a sample cURL request to the Search Service

curl --location '' \
--data '{
    "query":"collection:(USCOURTS) and naturesuit:(Securities, Commodities, Exchange) courttype:appellate",

For an overview, see the Search Service Overview page on GovInfo.

Note: This service is currently a Public Preview prior to reaching full production status. If you have feedback or enhancement requests, please create a new issue and describe your goals.

Recommended sorts.field parameters

Currently, we are supporting the following fields for sorting - we will be making updates in the future to clarify this, but we do not plan on breaking the values listed below:

field sortOrder options UI Equivalent Note
score DESC Relevance relevance as determined by the search engine, use of ASC is not allowed
publishdate ASC,DESC Date Old to New/New to Old
lastModified ASC,DESC N/A sorts based on most recent add/update in GovInfo
title ASC,DESC Alphabetical(Z-A)/Alphabetical(A-Z)

Retrieval-focused endpoints

The following endpoints are most frequently used after discovering results via one of the Discovery-focused endpoints.

Packages Service


This service allows you to specify a govinfo packageId and retrieve available forms of content and metadata. A /summary json response is available that includes links and basic metadata about the package - generally equivalent to the information available on the details page for that package.

From the summary, you can get access to all available content and metadata formats for a package. Here is a sample download section for the BILLS-115hr1625enr example below, including a link to the related Billstatus package:

"download": {
    "txtLink": "",
    "xmlLink": "",
    "pdfLink": "",
    "modsLink": "",
    "premisLink": "",
    "zipLink": ""
"related": {
    "billStatusLink": ""

Note that for some packages, zip files are generated upon request, so you may receive a HTTP503 response with a Retry-After header indicating a number of seconds to wait before checking back for the generated zip file. A message body with the following will also appear:

{"message":"Generating ZIP file. Please retry your request again after 30 seconds"}

See Errors Messages

Congressional Bills (BILLS)

sample | formatted

Congressional Record (CREC)

sample | formatted

Federal Register (FR)

sample | formatted

Granules Service

You can also get a list of available granules for a specified package by adding /granules, offsetMark and pageSize

Congressional Hearings (CHRG)

sample | formatted*&pageSize=10&api_key=DEMO_KEY

Congressional Record (CREC)

sample | formatted*&pageSize=100&api_key=DEMO_KEY

Federal Register (FR)

sample | formatted

This provides a list of titles, granuleIds and links to the granule summary, where you can access all available content and metadata formats, including the zip.

Granules Summary

Similar to the package summary, you can retrieve a json summary for any granule, which will return basic metadata as well as links to all available content and metadata.

Congressional Record (CREC)

sample | formatted

Federal Register (FR)

sample | formatted

A number of collections have specific additional collection-specific metadata values included in the API response, such as social media information in the CDIR collection. Here are some examples:

Congressional Directory (CDIR)

Error Messages

Occasionally, the API will return a non-200 response. Here is an explanation of some typical error codes:

503 for granule MODS or ZIP requests

The govinfo system generally caches granule MODS and ZIP files based on requests from users. Sometimes a user will generate the first request for a given package or granule and the ZIP or MODS file is not in the cache. In this case, the system will inform the requester that the file is being regenerated. AS part of this response, the system will also return a Retry-After header with a value of 30, indicating that users should retry the request in 30 seconds.

Sometimes the process for generating the MODS or ZIP file will take longer than that 30 seconds. In this case, the system will again send the same 503 message with another Retry-After header until the file is available.

There are some collections where the MODS and ZIP files are automatically pre-cached, but these caches are refreshed continually, resulting in older cached files being removed in an attempt to balance performance with storage concerns.

429 Over Rate limit

The govinfo API has a rate limit on it to prevent usage from a single user from overtaxing our resources and impacting requests from other users. This should be generally high enough to meet most users needs.

Requests to the govinfo API will return the following headers to indicate the overall rate limit and time remaining. The following example is for the DEMO_KEY:

X-RateLimit-Limit: 40
X-RateLimit-Remaining: 39

Regular user keys have a higher default limit.

401 Unauthorized - API_KEY_MISSING

Getting this means that the request didn't include an API key. See Keys above to get a key and learn how to use the API. You can use the DEMO_KEY as a temporary solution, but this has a lower limit. Getting a key for also grants you access to a number of other Federal APIs


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