U.S. Government Information
What Are Government Documents?
- Information created, collected, processed, or disseminated by or for the
United States federal government.
- Common examples of government documents include Congressional hearings,
legislation, regulations, tax forms, treaties, census data, technical reports,
maps, statistics, and reports from federal agencies.
How Do I Find Government Information?
Use WorldCat UMD (www.lib.umd.edu), to find
government documents from the 1990’s to the present, as well as some older
To search only for U.S. Government
Information collection: Conduct your search. On the results page, look at the
left-hand sidebar. Under Refine Your Search, choose “United
States” as your author.
CATALOG OF U.S. GOVERNMENT
Use the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications
to find government documents from 1976 to the present. Look for the SuDoc number
(see below) to find the document in McKeldin Library, or click the link for
Internet Access (if available).
INDEXES & GUIDES
Use indexes and guides to locate items on a specific topic. See the U.S.
Government Information, Maps & GIS Services web site for a list of guides:
Access Research Port from the Libraries’ home page
(www.lib.umd.edu) by clicking on the Find
Databases tab and clicking the Research Port icon in the bottom right
corner of the search box. Select Government Documents from the
databases by subject category tab and choose databases from
that list (e.g., LexisNexis Congressional, ERIC). Remote access to Research Port
is limited to UM students, faculty, and staff. Signing in requires use of your
UM Directory ID and password.
sites like USA.gov
(www.usa.gov) to find recent
More government resources:
- Use the library catalog to identify the hearing’s call number—it will begin
with Y4—and the Congress in which it took place. Hearing dates indicate the
Congress. Use the charts posted in the Y4 area on the 4th floor to convert dates
1887-1889 = 50th Congress
2005-2006 = 100th Congress
2005-2006 = 109th Congress
- Locate the appropriate Congress (e.g., 109th Congress) within the Y4 area of
the SuDoc stacks
- Within the appropriate Congress, search for the hearing by call number.
SuDoc Call Numbers
- Government documents use a unique call number system called the
Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) system. In the Libraries’ Catalog, the SuDoc
number will be listed next to the material’s location:
- In the SuDoc system, government publications are grouped together by issuing
agency rather than subject, so all publications from a particular government
department or agency are shelved together.
Locating a Document by SuDoc Call Number
- SuDoc call numbers are arranged alphabetically starting
with letters at the left. These letters signify the Issuing Agency (i.e: the
- The next number is read as a whole number and arranged
Numerically. This number signifies the Subagency (i.e: the Census
- The number between the period and the colon is a whole number—not a
decimal—and is arranged numerically. This number signifies the
series title of the item (i.e: Current Population Reports):
HE 20. 2:
HE 20. 45:
HE 20. 130:
- If call numbers are the same up until the colon--except for a slash--the
correct order s un-slashed, then slashed. In other words, numbers without
slashes come before numbers with slashes. This portion of the call number
signifies a document title (i.e: Poverty in the U.S.):
C 51. 11: EN 8/995 (Letters before Numbers)
C 51. 11: 23 (Numbers after Letters)
C 51. 11/8: 995-96 ("Slashes" after "No Slashes")
- If there are letters and numbers, letters always come before numbers:
HE 20. 50/A:
HE 20. 50/2:
- Years are often abbreviated to two or three digits. If you see what may be
an abbreviated year, convert it to four digits and treat it as a whole number.
(“980” corresponds to “1980”)
(“992” corresponds to “1992”)
(“01” corresponds to “2001”)
Environmental Protection Agncy
Gov’t Accountability Office
General Services Admin.
Health & Human Svcs.
Food & Drug Administration
Homeland Security Dep’t.
U.S. Geological Survey
Library of Congress
Executive Office of the President
Internal Revenue Service
Veterans’ Affairs Dep’t.
Visit: McKeldin’s 1st floor Information Desk