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As a federal depository, the Waidner-Spahr Library houses government documents related to a variety of subject areas including: agriculture, geology, elections, government programs, and environmental resources. These are classified using the SuDoc (Superintendent of Documents) Classification System, which groups publications together by issuing agency. Our collection is housed in either the Waidner-Spahr Library (upper level), or the Earth Sciences Map Library (Kaufman 129).


SuDoc Classification System:

There are a number of government agencies that publish government document materials. These materials are shelved separately from the general library collection (located on the upper level of the library) and are organized according to SuDoc Classification System, not the Library of Congress classification system. The goal of the SuDoc Classification system is to organize publications according to the agencies producing the documents. Consequently, each government agency is assign a unique letter and sub-departments within that agency receive unique numbers. For example, the SuDoc number for publication by the Department of Agriculture's Forest Service is A.13 where A represents the department of agriculture and 13 represents the Forest Service. To find out more on how to decipher the responsible agency, or how to read the SuDoc number, see the Government Publications Access. The important thing to remember, however, is that Government Documents are located on the upper level of the library, separate from the general collection. For help finding Government Documents ask for a librarian at the circulation desk.

Reference Resources

Guide to U.S. Government publications. (2007) Donna Batten, Project Editor. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2007.
Reference Z1223 .Z7 A574 2007

Federal regulatory directory, 13th edition. (2008) Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.
Reference KF5406 .A15 F4 2008 The essential guide to the history, organization, and impact of U.S. federal regulation.

Introduction to United States government information sources / Joe Morehead. Englewood: Libraries Unlimited. (1999)
Reference ZA5055 .U6 M67 1999

Local and regional government information: how to find it, how to use it. (2005) Mary Martin, ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Reference JK2408 .A1 L63 2005

Internet Resources

The premiere metasite for finding legal information from government agencies.

Legislative information from the Library of Congress. Follow Bills, Treaties, and Presidential Nominations as they work their way through Congress.

Public access to government information submitted by Congress and Federal agencies and preserved as technology changes.

Includes information on branches of government and popular GPO resources.

University of Michigan Library's guide to locating government information. Includes copyright, budget, and patent information.

Maintains a definitive collection of publications of all agencies of the Commonwealth and serves as a Regional Depository for United States Government Publications.

Provides information and access to the Executive Branch, including federal regulatory materials, laws, Presidential documents, and federal organizations, programs and activities.

Up-to-date statistics and data from the Executive Branch in searchable data catalogs.

Finding Journal Articles

Use one of the following databases to locate journal articles related to government documents. If you already have a journal citation, complete with journal title, see Finding Journals.

Government-specific databases:

  • Congressional Universe (Lexis Nexis) Contains documents on microfiche from federal, state, private, and international sources and world-renowned indexing, including Congressional, executive, statistical, judicial, environmental, and other publications.
  • Geobase A specialized index to the literature of Ecology, Geography and Earth Sciences. Not as comprehensive as GeoRef but a good secondary resource.
  • GeoRef Guide to materials in geology and earth sciences.

Finding Journals

If you already have a journal citation, use one of the following methods to locate your journal:

  • 1st step: Locate electronic holdings. Search by subject or by journal title in our Journal Locator.
  • 2nd step: Request the journal through ILLIAD (Interlibrary Loan). Do this only if the journal can not be located in either of these first two places.

(if you do not have a journal citation, but instead have a topic, use one of our databases to locate citations).