Students hit research roadblocks during government shutdown

Students at IUPUI have had trouble accessing government websites during the shutdown.
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The excuse "the government shutdown ate my homework" works for students for now, but it won't once government websites go back online.

Students were at play and at work in the Student Center at IUPUI Wednesday. A cornhole game was in progress on the lower level, other students researching and writing upstairs.

But computer access to government sites some have needed for class research has been unavailable.

"I think it's called ''," said freshman Michael Kittrell.

He had to access a U.S. Department of Agriculture website for information on the nutritional pyramid. But when he tried to do that, he said, "It just didn't work. I guess because of the government shutdown. Because it's run by the government."

That's right. Monuments shutdown and the pyramid, too.

"When I was writing a paper, I went to the EPA website to look up some statistics," said student Julia Engle. "It had a notice on the front that said due to the government shutdown it could no longer update the website."

"I was irritated, because its getting in the way of school work."

But score one for the Indianapolis Public Library.

"It send us back to some original sources," says librarian Michael Williams at Southport Library.

He said some coming in to do research have hit dead ends online. Government sites like will be unavailable, but there is a hard copy of the census in the library's stacks.

The patent office is still in business online, but not the National Park Service.

"You don't have the opportunity to plan a wildflower trip next spring in the Great Smoky Mountains," says Williams.

There are books that can help there, too, but there are some things books can't do. Williams points out, "NASA has a wonderful Twitter account" that's now grounded.

But he found you can still get tax forms online. All of it, he said, is a lesson.

"Some people will realize how tenuous our connection to information really is," he said.

For Julia, a student and a taxpayer, there is frustration.

"I still can't get access to a website," she said.

But that information hole looks about to be filled.