The U.S. Department of Energy recently released the State of the Department of Energy National Laboratories Report, which reads like a user manual for the National Labs. For readers with questions about what the labs are, what they are trying to achieve, and how they work with other institutions, the report is an excellent resource. As depicted in the visual accompanying this article, DOE’s labs cover a variety of purposes, enabling the report to provide more generalizable information on the labs than might be possible from another agency. Sections detail DOE’s strategic plan for the labs, scientific objectives, partnership structures and tech transfer initiatives, among others. Each section includes case studies or anecdotes of lab activities and numerous appendices provide additional background.