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How to Find Government Documents 

Why do government documents have different call numbers from other items in the library?

The Library of Congress system, which is used in the main library, is a system that divides up knowledge into different sections (like pieces of a pie). But Government documents are NOT arranged this way. They are arranged according to the agency that produced the document. The following chart shows how to decipher these call numbers.

First Element: A letter representing the Agency publishing the document:

A = Agriculture Dept.
D = Defense Dept.
GP = Government Printing Office
I = Interior Dept.
SI = Smithsonian
PrEx = Executive Office of the President
Y = Congress (in general)

Second Element: Numbers

1 = Chief executive of an agency
2 = sub agencies

A1 = Secretary of Agriculture (the chief executive is always a 1).

Third Element: a period and more numbers designating the type of publication.

.1 = an annual report
.2 = a general publication
.3 = a bulletin
.4 = circulars
.6 = regulations, rules, and instructions
.7 = press releases
.8 = handbooks, manuals, and guides
.9 = bibliographies and lists of publications
.10 = directories
.11 = maps and charts
.12 = posters
.13 = forms
.14 = addresses, lectures, etc.

Please note: Even though the number is read like this: ("Eye nineteen point three"), the "point" is not a decimal point. Numbers after the decimal are whole numbers, not decimals. This means that numbers after the "point" are numbers just like the ones we use in everyday counting (1, 2, 3, 4, ...). Example: I19.3: is located before I19.2001 because 3 is lower than 2001.*

How to effectively Locate Federal Information on the WWW

Where to search for government publications?

  1. Government publications owned by UAL after 1976 are accessible through the Library's online catalog
  2. Government resources published after 1976 and may not be own by UAL are accessible through Monthly Catalog
  3. For recent government publications (published after 1994-preent) use Monthly Catalog via GPO
  4. Sales publications from GPO see Sales Product Catalog

Other Useful Tools?

List of Classes
Locate Federal Depository Libraries
Item Lister: Current Item Number Selection Profile
Meta-Subject Index to Government Information

Selected Documents Sites?

University of Michigan, Documents Center

Training Information: