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* Kentucky and Local Information: Getting Started

This guide is intended to help you research Kentucky and other local issues by identifying appropriate paper, microform and Internet resources.

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Kentucky State Government Publications

The Libraries’ collection is expected to be complete for the state of Kentucky from 1900 to present (pre-1900 Kentucky publications are housed in Special Collections). However, since there is no depository system in Kentucky, this claim can never be made absolutely since we must ask for publications as they come to our attention. We are also on the mailing lists of many Kentucky agencies for items they publish on a regular basis.   


Older Kentucky state government publications are classified in the Swank Classification system. Almost all of the titles classified in Swank are housed in the King Building Storage collection and, prior to 1900, in the Special Collections Research Center. However, some important titles and all new Kentucky state government publications are classified In Library of Congress and shelved Young Library with other titles in the same classification. This has the effect of shelving Kentucky state government by subject, not by issuing agency.  


We also purchased microform copies of the titles held by the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) as a back-up collection until 1996 when KDLA stopped producing it. Since our requests for materials are frequently not filled due to the small print runs done for many state publications, the microfiche copy often turns out to be our only copy. The Kentucky state microfiche collection is organized by the accession number found by identifying the title in Kentucky; monthly checklist of Kentucky State publications (title varies slightly) in Young Ready Reference (Z1223.5.K4 A34). 


Many state government agencies are publishing on the Web, so access to state government publications is greatly facilitated for those who have access.

Local Government Information

We are on mailing lists to acquire basic budgetary and administrative publications for Lexington and Louisville, but neither city has a depository distribution system so we cannot claim to collect comprehensively even in these limited areas. However, as with Kentucky state government agencies, Lexington and Louisville municipal governments are taking full advantage of web publishing to make their publications more widely available. 

As with Kentucky state government publications, Lexington and Louisville government publications were previously classified using the Swank system. Since the number of titles we hold for each municipality is very small, all budgetary and administrative publications we collect are now classified in the Library of Congress call number system.

What Is a Swank Number?

The Swank Classification for State, County, and Municipal Documents arranges by issuing agency. Swank numbers literally begin with a number.  For instance, Kentucky state government publications classified in Swank all begin with "17," representing Kentucky's place in an alphabetical list of states. A Swank call number for a Kentucky state publication would look like this:

17-M662 1: 2002

"17" identifies Kentucky.  "M662" identifies the state agency that issued the publication, in this case the Dept. of Mines and Minerals. The number after the agency identifies the type of publication; in this case "1" stands for the annual report of an agency. The next element is usually a hyphen followed by something that identifies the unique publication. It could be a number, date, volume and issue or a "Cutter number," which is a letter/number combination representing a keyword in the title.

However, you should only encounter these call numbers for older Kentucky state government publications, We have reclassed the most important, highly-used Kentucky state government publications into the LC classification titles, and any new title received is automatically classed in the Library of Congress system.

Reference and Information Services

Roxanna Jones
William T. Young Library

(859) 218-1324

Responsibilities: General Reference, Information Literacy and Library Instruction, Reference Collection Management, Academic Liaison for Social Work
Subjects:Social Work