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Government Documents

Government Documents

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 ( 


Government Search Engines

Sources for Government Information

SuDoc Classification

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:

A                     Agriculture Department
AE                    National Archives and Records Administration
C                     Commerce Department
C3                   Census
CR                   Civil Rights Commission
CS                   Civil Service Commission
D                    Defense Department
E                     Energy Department
ED                   Education Department
EP                   Environmental Protection Agency
FR                   Federal Reserve System
FT                   Federal Trade Commission
GA                  General Accounting
GP                   Government Printing Office
GS                   General Services Administration
HE                   Health and Human Services Department
HH                   Housing and Urban Development Department
I                      Interior Department
I 19                  U.S. Geological Survey
IC                    Interstate Commerce Commission
J                      Justice Department
Ju                    Judiciary (U.S. Courts)
L                      Labor Department
LC                   Library of Congress
LR                   National Labor Relations Board
NA                  National Academy of Sciences
NAS                National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NS                   National Science Foundation
P                     United States Postal Service
PE                   Peace Corps
Pr                   President of the United States
PrEX               Executive Office of the President
S                    State Department
SBA                Small Business Administration
SE                   Securities and Exchange Commission
SI                   Smithsonian Institution
T                    Treasury Department
T 22               Internal Revenue Service
TD                 Transportation Department
VA                 Veterans Administration
X and Y         Congress
Y1                 House & Senate Reports and Documents
Y4                 Congressional Committees, Hearings