The United States Government is the largest publisher of information. The mission of the Government Printing Office dates "to 1813 when Congress determined to make information regarding the work of the three branches of Government available to all Americans. The U.S Government Printing Office (GPO) provides publishing & dissemination services for the official & authentic government publications to Congress, Federal agencies, Federal depository libraries, & the American public."
Government Documents at MSU
The Government Documents print collection is located in the basement of Renne Library in compact shelving. The microform collection is located on the 4th floor of the library. Microform readers are conveniently located in the same area. The Library collects approximately 80% of all U.S. publications. Documents are available electronically, in print or micoform. Not all of the government documents appear in the catalog. To verify whether we have a title, it is best to check the physical collection.
Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP)
The Laws establishing the depository library system date back to the late 1850s. Key legislation that solidified the system as we know it can be found in the Printing Act of 1895 and the Depository Library Act of 1962. There are approximately 1,250 depository libraries of which 85 are Regional Depositories (they select everything and keep everything). The remaining are Selective Depositories (select what they want and may discard after 5 years). The University of Montana in Missoula is the closest Regional to Bozeman (www.lib.umt.edu).
Government Search Engines
Sources for Government Information
SuDocs Classification System
Government Publications at Montana State University are organized according to the Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) Classification System in which each individual publication has a unique call number. SuDoc call numbers start with one or two letters which stand for the issuing agency of the publication. This is different from the Library of Congress Classification Systems where the letters stand for a particular subject. Also, SuDoc call numbers appear on the upper left front cover of the publication and are printed in linear fashion. Typical SuDoc call numbers look like this:
I 29.6/6:F 75/988
The following is a partial list of issuing agencies by letter: