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Locating U.S. Government Publications

Trexler Library has U.S Government Publications in electronic and physical formats.

Our catalog, Encompass Search will help you find what is available.

Physical items may be in paper, microform, CD-ROM, or various other formats and are shelved in the first section of tall shelves on Level A.  These shelves are indicated by having the FDLP "Eagle" logo on each end.

The publications shelved in this section are grouped and numbered using the Superintendent of Documents numbering system (SuDocs Numbers). In Encompass Search, information about a document shows the SuDocs number labeled as the "Call Number". For help with how to read a SuDocs Call Number, please refer to the tipsheet below or ask at the Lending Services desk.

How to Read a SuDocs Number

Locating U.S. Government Publications using a SuDocs Call Number

U.S. Government Publications are organized using the Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) Classification System. SuDocs Call Numbers are  read and ordered differently than Dewey Decimal Call Numbers and other collections at Trexler Library.

The letters that begin a SuDocs Number represent the department or agency that published the document. (See the "list of Major Classes" for a list of the departments held by Trexler.)  

Here are tips for reading and locating a SuDocs Call Number:

1.  Documents are shelved first by letters and then by a series of whole numbers and sometimes more letters with parts separated by punctuation. SuDocs classes file alphabetically no matter how many letters are used (ex. L comes before LC;  N comes before NAS which comes before NS). 

For example, the following SuDocs numbers are shown in order.

            A 1.77:108                               

            AA 1.2:C 76               

            C 55.2:D 87                

            CS 1.2:Z 9

2.  When reading a SuDocs number it is important to read each number between each punctuation mark as a whole number, not as a decimal.

For example, the following SuDocs numbers are shown in order. In the series, 40 is less than 108 and therefore the first document in this group of SuDocs numbers is 20.40 and the second document is 20.108.

            HE 20.40:

            HE 20.108:

            HE 20.3016:

3.  The numbers listed before the colon are the stem number. Look at the stem number first.

For example, the following SuDocs numbers are shown in order.

           HE 20.3612/3:                                     Y 3.H 75:8 R 22

           HE 20.3612/3-2:                                  Y 3.T 22/2:2 G 28/3

           HE 20.3612/4:                                     Y 3.2:H 81

4.  Next, proceed with the remainder of the SuDocs number.

In the section after the colon, letters take precedence over the numbers (and therefore come first).

For example, the following SuDocs numbers are shown in order.

            FS 3.64:R 4                                      HE 5.2:C 18                           

            FS 3.64:46                                        HE 5.2:C 18a                         

                                                                      HE 5.2:C 18/2                        

                                                                      HE 5.2:C 18/3/200

Congressional Documents

Congressional Hearings

Published Congressional Hearings (for both the Senate and the House) follow their own order.  The SuDocs number for Congressional materials begins with Y 4

  • These documents are shelved by House or Senate Committee within the Congress and Session in which the hearing occurred. 
  • Note: Encompass Search records will indicate the SuDocs number and the Congress and Session in which the hearing occurred. You will need both pieces of information to find the document.

Paper reports are on the shelf in metal boxes with labels. The labels indicate the House or Senate committee SuDocs number stem and specific Congresses and Sessions.

  • Each Congress (listed by number on the label) is shelved successively with all committee documents for that Congress shelved thereunder in SuDocs order.

For example the hearings , 

                   Y 4.J 89/1:

                                U.S. Congress. House.

                                Committee on the Judiciary.

                                Hearings, etc.

                   113th Congress,  2nd Session

Microfiche reports are in microfiche cabinets located to the side of the stacks towards the elevator. Microfiche divider tabs show the House or Senate committee SuDocs number and specific Congresses and Sessions.

Get Help

Need more help finding a document in Trexler Library?

Stop by the Lending Services Desk or Information Services Desk for help with locating materials.

Not sure what government information is available?

Try the Find Government Information page

Help with FDLP info

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Tom Christie
Tom Christie
Cataloging and Metadata Librarian; Government Documents Coordinator