Locating Federal Government Documents in the Library

Person searching shelves for documents

Government Documents are available several places in the Library

Online - these publications are identified as Internet Resource GovDoc in the Library Catalog and can be linked to by viewing the record for the item.

Paper - these publications are identified as GovDoc in the Library Catalog and can be found in the GovDocs section on the Second Floor

Microfiche - these publications are identified as GovDoc - Microfiche in the Library Catalog and can be found in the Microforms area on the Third Floor

CD-ROMs - these publications are identified as GovDoc - CD-ROM in the Library Catalog and are located in the Multimedia area on the First Floor.

DVD - these publications are identified as GovDoc - DVD in the Library Catalog and are located in the Multimedia area on the First Floor.

How to Find Government Publications Using SuDoc Numbers

Government Documents in paper, microfiche, and CD-ROM formats are identified by SuDoc numbers. These numbers are used in Government Documents Libraries and are frequently given as part of bibliographic citations.  

Example:   ED 1.302:R 22/4/998

They function like Library of Congress call numbers used for books in the Library except for three distinctions:

1. The letters at the beginning of each number correspond with a particular department or agency. For example: ED = Education Department; HE = Health and Human Services Department, C = Commerce Department.  

2. The SuDoc numbering system is not based on decimals.  The numbers and letters that appear after the period are read as whole numbers rather than decimals.  

The following table illustrates the difference



D 1.1: D 1.1
D 1.3: D 1.12
D 1.12: D 1.122
D 1.33: D 1.3
D 1.122: D 1.33

3. The SuDoc numbering system can contain colon (:)slash (/), and dash (-).


EP 1.23/2-2

HE 20.3002:R 24

HE 20.3967:14/3

I 19./2:ST 8/3

I 19.42/4:96-4265

I 28.15:11-95

I 29.3/4:15/01

J 29.17:997

J 34.8:J 98

LC 1.6/4:M 58/7

PR 42.8:2001001091

Y 4.IN 2/11:S.HRG.106-217


Some numbers can be quite long.  The practice in the Library is to shelve the numbers systematically based on the following:   After each notation (colon, slash, dash, period) letters always come before numbers.

  NAS 1.2: R 11 would be shelved before NAS 1.2: 613

  Y 4.IN 1/11:S.HRG.106-217 would be shelved before Y 4.IN: 1/11:104-78

  EP 1.23:600/R-98-23 would be shelved before EP 1.23:600/998-103

Some SuDoc numbers include the date of the publication. For the twentieth century, three numbers were used, for example 996 for 1996. After the year 2000, all four numbers are used.  The years are sorted like other numbers.

A 1.35: R 42/995

J 1.2:L 52/3/2001

For help, consult a Reference Librarian on the second floor or contact the Government Documents Librarian below.

Mags David
Kathryn A. Martin Library L274 
Phone: 218-726-8585 
Email: [email protected]