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Finding Government Information: Introduction

Search for US Government Publications

The Federal Depository Library Program provides for the establishment and maintenance of depository libraries and the distribution of government documents to those libraries for use by the public. As a participant in this program since 1970, Memorial Library offers the public free access to all depository documents. Community users may be asked to register or provide identification at the Berry College Welcome Center, but no information that connects use of particular depository documents with individuals is collected.

Finding a US Government Publication on the Shelf

We use the Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) classification system to organize U.S. government publications. Designed specifically for these materials, the system groups publications not by subject, but by the issuing agency and then by subordinate units, dates, etc. This means that items concerning unrelated subjects may be located on the shelf next to each other, as long as they were produced by the same agency.

Reading SuDocs Call Numbers

SuDocs call numbers consist of two parts: Agency number : book number

The agency number identifies the agency that created/generated the document and begin with letters of the alphabet. One or more numbers following the letter(s) represents a division of the primary agency.

For example, for the County and City Data Book, SuDocs number C 3. 134/2 : C 83/2/995

Issuing Department C Department of Commerce
Subagency 3

Bureau of the Census

Series 134/2:

Statistical Abstract Supplement

Title & date

C 83/2/995

County and City Data Book, 1995

Numbers appearing before the ( . ) are read as whole numbers. Numbers appearing after the ( . ) are also read as whole numbers:

A 88.62:P 32/5 88 is read as a whole number & 62 is read as a whole number

When a string of numbers is followed by words or abbreviations, the words should be read in alphabetical order.

Y10.2:B 85/2/978-82/SUPP   then     Y10.2:B 85/2/978-82/UPDATE

SuDocs call numbers are divided into sections by periods ( . ) or colons ( : ) and sections can be divided by slashes ( / )or hyphens ( - ).

Y 4.W64:W 325    then     Y 4.W64/2:ST2     (W64: before W64/2:)

Letters that may follow punctuation are read alphabetically.

SI 1.1/A:AE 82.5     then     SI 1.1/A:B 615     (AE before B)

Citing Government Documents

Government documents can be more difficult to cite properly than standard books and journals, due to the specific nature of some of the documents. Be sure to check instructions in the specific citation style you are using. Here is an overall guide to citation resources: