It took man thousands of years to put words down on paper, and his lawyers still wish he wouldn't. -- Mignon McLaughlin
Search The Library
Washburn University School of Law Library - Rev. 9/94
[edited/excerpted by The 'Lectric Law Library Staff 8/95]
FINDING GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS - SU DOC NUMBERS
Most depository documents retained by the Washburn Law Library are shelved or filed according to the Superintendent of Documents (Su Doc) classification scheme.
The Su Doc classification number is composed of three major elements: (1) the issuing agency symbol, (2) the series designation before the colon, and (3) the identifying numbers and letters after the colon which give the publication its unique identification. The first letter or letters designate the issuing agency. The letter(s) are followed by a number representing the agency as a whole or a sub-agency. The number after the period designates the series or type, for example:
.1 annual report .5 laws
.2 general publication .6 regulations, rules & instructions
.3 bulletins .7 press releases
.4 circulars .8 handbooks, manuals, guides
The letters and/or numbers after the colon identify the individual document.
L 2.3:1902 is read:
L Department of Labor
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics (a sub-agency)
.3 a bulletin
:1902 bulletin number 1902
This particular document is titled Analysis of Work Stoppages.
The documents are shelved in alpha-numeric order, beginning with A (Agriculture Department) in the Government Documents area on second floor and in the microforms room, depending on format. Thus, the arrangement on the shelves and in the microfiche files is by issuing agency.
Many current administrative decisions can be located in the looseleaf reporters. Government publications not received through the depository program may be integrated into the general collection and can be accessed in the card catalog.
INDEXES AND FINDING AIDS
Several indexes are available to assist you in finding the Su Doc number for the desired agency or title. These are shelved directly before the depository collection unless otherwise noted.
MONTHLY CATALOG - Su Doc no. GP 3.8:-
The Monthly Catalog is issued by the Superintendent of Documents and is the most comprehensive catalog of government publications available. Entries in the Monthly Catalog are indexed for access by author, title, subject, series/report number, and title keyword. Cumulative indexes are published semi-annually and annually. Titles in all indexes are followed by the text entry number where more detailed information is available. Cataloging may lag a year or more behind publication date, hence this is not a good source for the most current documents.
Locating Su Doc numbers in the Monthly Catalog:
1. Use the appropriate index (author, title, subject, keyword) to identify publications of interest.
2. Record the entry number for each pertinent document listed in the index. For example: 91-0123 is the entry number for the 123rd document described in the 1991 catalog.
3. Using the entry number, locate the detailed entry within the appropriate monthly issue. A sample entry is reproduced on page 3. Entry numbers begin with the year number in January and are printed on the spine of the Monthly Catalog. For example: January 1989 contains entries 89-1509 to 89-3967.
4. In the detailed entry, find and record the Su Doc number of the document.
5. Locate the document on the shelves or in the microfiche cabinet in the Documents area.
6. If the document you need is not on the shelf or in the microfiche cabinet, ask the Reference Librarian for help. She will see if it has been checked out, is located at Mabee, or will help you obtain it on interlibrary loan.
CUMULATIVE TITLE INDEX TO U.S. PUBLIC DOCUMENTS, 1789-1976 This 16-volume set is the largest and most comprehensive cumulative title index of U.S. government documents available at this time. It consists of a single-alphabet listing of the titles of publications contained in the Public Documents Library of the Government Printing Office. Each citation contains a title, publication date and Su Doc number. Since many document titles are descriptive, the Cumulative Title Index may be useful in doing subject searches, as well as in finding the Su Doc number when the title of a document is known. Record the Su Doc number and look for the publication in the documents collection. Ask for help from a Reference Librarian if you need it.
INDEXES AND FINDING AIDS - RECENT DOCUMENTS (after 1970)
A. MARCIVE GPO CAT/PAC -
MARCIVE GPO CAT/PAC is a user friendly CD-ROM index providing ready access to that otherwise elusive government document. All information included in the Monthly Catalog for a publication entry can be accessed by key word, title, classification number, and/or one of the other field searching capabilities available for use with this system. Subject bibliographies for a 12 year span may be easily generated by using MARCIVE'S searching capabilities. The software is menu driven and user friendly. A reference librarian will be happy to help you if more assistance is needed. The inclusive dates available for searching are displayed on the initial MARCIVE screen. These dates reflect the issuing dates for the Monthly Catalog rather than the document publication dates. There may be a lag of 6 - 12 months or more between the publication date of a document and the time it is included in the monthly catalog. Therefore, the most current documents cannot be located on MARCIVE.
C. CIS INDEX/ABSTRACTS
The CIS INDEX/ABSTRACTS, published by Congressional Information Service, Inc., is the most comprehensive index for the working papers of Congress from 1970 to date. It covers hearings, committee prints, documents, reports, and special publications, and is published in 2 parts: Index and Abstracts. See the attached CIS/Index Search Guide for use instructions.
Overview of Search Procedures using CIS: 1. Search the Index volume to identify publications of interest.
2. Record the CIS accession numbers of relevant items.
3. Using the CIS accession numbers, locate and review the abstracts in the Abstracts volume to evaluate the contents of the publications.
4. Record the Su Doc number of a document (given in the abstract) and look for the publication in the Documents collection.
5. If the publication is unavailable in hard copy and the abstract year is between 1970 - 1981, search for the CIS accession number in the abstract year located in the CIS microfiche collection in the Microforms Room.
D. INDEX TO U.S. GOVERNMENT PERIODICALS
The Index to U.S. Government Periodicals indexes over 170 major government periodicals by subject and author. A list of periodicals indexed and Su Doc classification numbers appear in the front of the annual bound volumes. Unfortunately there have been no updates since 1987.
1. Search the Index for relevant citations.
2. Look up the title abbreviation in the list of periodicals to find the Su Doc number and record it.
3. Check for the Su Doc number in the Documents Shelflist to see if it is received by the Law Library and, if so, where it is located. If it is unavailable, check with a Reference Librarian.
E. PUBLICATIONS REFERENCE FILE
The Publications Reference File indexes all documents for sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office. The microfiche are arranged in three sequences: stock number, Su Doc classification, and alphabetical. The alphabetical sequence is a dictionary arrangement of all titles, series, keywords, key phrases, subjects and personal authors. There is no listing for corporate authors. Ordering information and current bibliographic information are available in this file.
Many government documents are now being input into OCLC. We are doing this on a limited basis. Even if it states "no holdings KWL", locate the Su Doc number and check our documents collection or ask a Reference Librarian for assistance in locating the document.
G. OTHER FINDING AIDS
Other aids for locating information on government documents include the Subject Bibliographies (GP 3.22/2:) which include prices and ordering information on available government publications on over 250 topics. At the front of the looseleaf binder is an index to the subject bibliographies. Some of the bibliographies are sent to Mabee Library. Examples of subject bibliographies include:
Child Abuse and Neglect
Occupational Safety and Health
Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity
Courts and Correctional Institutions
Social Welfare and Services
Patents and Trademarks
U.S. Government Subscriptions (GP 3.9:), formerly Price list 36, lists prices and ordering information of all available government periodicals.
SIGCAT CD-ROM Compendium (GP 3.22/6:994) is a good source for identifying all the different Government CD-ROMS. It includes description of the CD-ROMS, vendor/supplier information, availability of the data, frequency of publication and technical specifications.
ONLINE SYSTEMS: LEXIS AND WESTLAW
Many federal documents are available in sources other than the depository collection. LEXIS and WESTLAW include the Federal Register, CFR, Congressional record, U.S. Code, bills, major reports, rulings of major administrative agencies, court decisions, and U.S. Supreme Court briefs.
GPO Access WAIS system
The Government Printing Office has recently launched several new Internet resources as a result of the Government Printing Office Electronic Information Access Enhancement Act of 1993. The first stage of GPO's project consists of a Wide Area Information System (WAIS) searching. This search software provides for full text searching capabilities. Some of the files on the WAIS system are the Federal Register 1994-, Congressional Record 1994-, Congressional Record Index 102d Congress, 2d session-, Enrolled Bills for the 103rd Congress-, the Unified Agenda 1994- etc. The list of resources will grow as time and budget will allow. The
DOC-LAW is just one segment of the WASHLAW gateway. It attempts to collect all information disseminated by the Federal Government via the Internet. The Internet is a world wide network of computers and is the fore runner to the Information Super Highway. To access DOC-LAW just type law at your email $ sign. Then select Federal Government Information and press enter. There you will have a choice of browsing the files by subject or by agency. There is also a list of Internet resources that are very popular and useful. The following resources below can be found there.
Another popular source is a gateway called FEDWORLD. It is produced by the National Technical Information Service, of the Department of Commerce. It provides Internet connections to over 150 federal agency bulletin boards. Agency bulletin boards can contain some very valuable and useful information but they can be difficult to search. FEDWORLD is truly a place of one stop shopping. This gateway can be accessed by typing law at your email $ sign. Then select Federal Government Information. At the main menu, under popular sources is FEDWORLD, highlight it and press enter.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS ONLINE SYSTEM (LOCIS)
This Internet resource is very good for legislative tracking. It is produced by the Library of Congress Congressional Legislative Research division. It has the digest of current bills and bills going back to the 97th congress 1981-82. LOCIS also has copyright registration and ownership information since 1978. It also has foreign publications mainly from Latin America. It also has an Organization Index which lists all of the organizations that the Library of Congress uses for referral purposes. These organizations are qualified to answer questions in the areas of science and social sciences. The last file is the library of Congress catalog. This is a place to go to find out if a document even exists.
This is another Internet resource produced by the Library of Congress. It is similar to Doc-Law only it is much more extensive and comprehensive. It truly tries to get everything that is on the Internet relating to Federal government information.
There is a database created and maintained by UNIPUB. UNIPUB is a book seller that specializes in Federal and International publications. They have a file that lists all the government documents that are for sale by UNIPUB. This file can be accessed by typing law at your email $ sign. Then select Federal Government Information. At the main menu, under popular sources is UNIPUB highlight it and press enter. Follow the directions of the system once your in. It is currently not a very user friendly system.
Listservs are email lists that form on a given subject. People can send an email message to the entire list or to just one member if they know his/her Internet address. If you are a subscribed member get email from the other members automatically.
CNI-LEGISLATION@cni.org (Coalition for Networked Information's Working Group on Legislation, Codes, Policies, and Practices). Send the following message to firstname.lastname@example.org subscribe cni-legislation Yourfirstname Yourlastname
CNI-PUBINFO@cni.org (Coalition for Networked Information's Access to Public Information Working Group; includes discussion of access to information collected by the United States government via electronic networks) Send the following message to email@example.com subscribe cni-pubinfo Yourfirstname Yourlastname
EDUPAGE@educom.edu (twice-weekly summary of news items on information technology, including related federal government action; electronic newsletter of EDUCOM, a consortium of colleges and universities seeking to transform education through the use of information technology). Send the following message to firstname.lastname@example.org sub edupage yourfirstname yourlastname
GOVDOC-L@psuvm.psu.edu (Discussion of Government Document Issues; U.S. based) Send the following message to email@example.com subscribe govdoc-l Your Name
INT-LAW@vm1.spcs.umn.edu (Foreign and International Law Librarians list; includes discussion of foreign & international legal print, electronic, & "people" resources) Send the following message to firstname.lastname@example.org subscribe int-law Your Name
INDEXES TO RETROSPECTIVE CONGRESSIONAL MATERIALS (BEFORE 1970) The Law Library has developed a strong collection of indexes to Congressional working papers even though it does not have a strong supporting collection before 1970. Items found in these indexes will usually need to be obtained by interlibrary loan. All of these indexes can be found on the lower shelf in the Documents Area. Contact a Reference Librarian for assistance.
A. U. S. CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE HEARINGS INDEX, 23RD - 91ST
CONGRESS, 1833 - 1969.
This CIS index provides comprehensive index access to the subject matter and issues covered in all published hearings including bills and laws discussed, the federal agencies concerned, the witnesses who testified, and the organizations they represented.
B. CIS INDEX TO UNPUBLISHED U. S. SENATE COMMITTEE HEARINGS, 18th
- 99th CONGRESS, 1823 - 1986.
This index provides comprehensive index access to some 7,300 unpublished hearings transcripts dated 1823 through 1968. This collection will be supplemented as additional unpublished transcripts become available. Senate Resolution 474 restricts the availability of closed hearings until they are 20 years old and "investigative files" which relate to national security or individual privacy until they are 50 years old.
C. CIS INDEX TO UNPUBLISHED U. S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
COMMITTEE HEARINGS, 22ND - 79TH CONGRESS, 1833 - 1946.
This index provides access to approximately 1,400 House Committee hearings transcripts. Transcripts for the last 50 years are currently not available under rules of the House. CIS plans to supplement this collection as the hearings become available.
D. U.S. CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE PRINTS INDEX, FROM THE EARLIEST
PUBLICATIONS THROUGH 1969.
This CIS index to approximately 15,000 committee prints contains an annotated reference bibliography, an index by subject and names, and supplementary indexes that provide access to publications by title, Congress and Committee, by bill number, and by Superintendent of Documents classification number.
E. U.S. SERIAL SET INDEX (1789-1969)
The final printed form for reports and documents is in the Serial Set. Published reports and documents can be identified by using the numerical lists and schedule of volumes of the U. S. Congressional Serial Set.
F. U.S. SENATE EXECUTIVE DOCUMENTS AND REPORTS (1817 - 1969)
This index covers documents and reports not printed in the U. S. Serial Set. Senate Executive Documents and Reports trace the part played by committees in the Senate's exercise of its constitutional "Advice and Consent" role in the making of treaties and nominations.
The above CIS indexes complement the CIS INDEX/ABSTRACTS (1969 -)
and are organized similarly. Consult the User's Guide in the front of the first volume of each set. Publications issued before 1970 will sometimes need to be acquired by interlibrary loan. Ask a Reference Librarian to assist you.
G. LEGISLATIVE HISTORIES INDEXED (Selected Legislative Histories,
Volume I, part A, of Information Handling Service's Legislative Histories Indexed Guide is located at the Documents Index shelf. This volume selectively indexes from 1951 to 1974. The Law Library has all documents indexed through 1969 in microfiche. The microfiche is filed by public law number in the microfiche room before the CIS collection. These comprehensive legislative histories are an excellent source of pre-1970 congressional documents.
Brought to you by - The 'Lectric Law Library
The Net's Finest Legal Resource For Legal Pros & Laypeople Alike.