Daily Archives: September 5, 2011

Introduction to Government Documents

The following blog post is part of an ongoing series on the government documents collection.

Introduction to Government Documents

The government documents and law librarian at WKU is Rosemary Meszaros. Her office can be found in the basement of Helm Library, on the same level as the government documents and law collection.

Government documents can be searched for using the library’s new OneSearch search interface. Simply type your topic into the search box and click “Search.” Once your results have been listed, you can refine your search to only government documents by choosing the options which contain “Government” in the location refinement options.

When clicking on a listing for a government document, you will notice that the location is not formatted using the Library of Congress Classification System. Instead, it uses the Superintendent of Documents classification system, developed by the Government Printing Office (GPO). In it, documents are grouped by the government agency or department that published the materials. Major agencies are identified by an assigned letter and then further broken down by number into the subordinate offices. These are further broken down into series.

For example:

D is the Department of Defense.
D 101 is the Army
D 201 is the Navy
D 214 is the Marine Corps
D 301 is the Air Force
These are all sub-departments of the Department of Defense.

HS is the Department of Homeland Security
HS 7 is the U.S. Coast Guard, now under the control of the Department of Homeland Security

In the next installment, we will begin exploring the materials WKU’s Government Documents collection has to offer.

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