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U.S. Government Research  

Basics for starting research with U.S. federal government information at the University of Kentucky Libraries.
Last Updated: Jan 30, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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UK Libraries and the U.S. Federal Depository Library Program

 UK Libraries has been a partner in the Federal Depository Library Program [FDLP] (a network of libraries providing free access to information published by the U. S. Federal government) since 1907. The collection now consists of almost 3 million books, microforms, maps, posters, CDs and videos. In addition, UK's depository status provides users with on-line access  to many U. S. government databases, e-books, e-journals and websites. As a regional depository library (accepting everything published and distributed by the Government Printing Office through the FDLP and maintaining it for as long as UK has regional status) UK Libraries is committed to acquiring publications predating depository status,  thereby developing a strong collection of  publications documenting our nation's history from as early as the first Continental Congresses.


Help with U.S. Government Research

These resources can help you navigate the intricacies of government information even though they are now somewhat dated. 

 Introduction to United States government information sources /Morehead, Joe.
Young Library - Reference Ready Ref. ZA5055.U6 M67 1999 +eBook Collection eBook

Locating United States government information: a guide to sources / Herman, Edward +Internet supplement
Law Library-Reference-Lobby ZA5055.U6 H47 1997 and
Young Library-Reference-Ready Reference ZA5055.U6 H47 1997 

Tapping the government grapevine: the user friendly guide to U.S. Government information sources /Robinson, Judith Schiek
Law Library - Reference-Lobby Z1223.Z7 R633 1998 and
Young Library - Reference Ready Ref. ZA5055.U6 R63 1998


What's a SuDoc Number?

Just as you will need a Library of Congress (LC) call number to help you find books and journals in the stacks, you will need also need a call number to help you locate U.S. government publications.  However, we do not organize our U.S. government publications by LC call numbers.  Instead we use a classification system called the Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) system.  SuDoc classification numbers are assigned to publications by the Government Printing Office and are based on the department/agency responsible for issuing the publications.  Like an LC number, a SuDoc number is made of letters and numbers .  LC and SuDoc numbers can appear to be very much like one another.  However there are a few things that can help you differentiate between the two.

The period in a SuDoc number DOES NOT represent a decimal point.  Therefore, the proper order for filing the SuDoc numbers below is:

 HE 5.75: N93/2  then  HE 5.123:C30  then HE 5.214: A7

On the other hand, LC call numbers DO treat the period as a decimal.  The proper order for filing the LC call numbers with the same letters and numbers is:

 HE                HE               HE
5                   5                  5
.123              .214              .75
C30               A7               N93/2

Also note the differences in the way the call numbers are recorded.  You will never find a SuDoc number with just a letter or letters alone on the first line.  The agency's letter designation is ALWAYS followed by numbers on the same line.

Finally, note that SuDoc numbers use punctuation like slashes and colons and LC call numbers do not.  

Reference and Information Services

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Roxanna Jones
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William T. Young Library
(859) 218-1324
Responsibilities: General Reference, Information Literacy and Library Instruction, Reference Collection Management, Academic Liaison for Social Work
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