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Government Documents Policy and Procedure Guide: SuDocs

SuDoc Classification System

In the Superintendent of Documents (or SuDocs) classification system, the call number is divided into two parts: the class number appears before the colon, and the individual book number appears after the colon.

Example:  L 2.3:264   (L 2.3: is the class number, 264 is the individual book number.)

In the class number, the first letter or letters denote the executive department or agency.  The following number up to the dot represents the issuing bureau, and the number after the dot is that assigned to a particular series of publications issued by that bureau.

Therefore, the call number shown above can be broken down as follows:

                        L= Labor Department

                        2.= Labor Statistics Bureau

                        3:= Bulletins

                        264= No. 264

making this issue #264 from the Bulletin Series of the Labor Statistics Bureau.

1) Use punctuation marks in document call numbers to break them up into small sections.  Compare the numbers section by section until you come to something that differs between them, then decide which number comes first:

                        Y 4.     J 89/     1:     AN 8/     10

                        Y 4.     J 89/     2:     AN 8/     10


2) Read numbers as whole numbers.  The period or “dot” is NOT a decimal point.  It is just a space holder:

D 101.22:27-25 -- Reads:  D one hundred one, dot,  twenty-two (NOT twenty-two hundredths), colon, twenty-seven, hyphen, twenty-five.

Y 4.AP 6/1:D 36/950 -- Reads: Y, four, dot, AP, six, slash, one, colon, D, thirty-six, slash, 950 (year as in 1950).

Y 4.AP 6/1:D 36/2 -- Reads: Y, four, dot, AP, six, slash, one, colon, D, thirty-six, slash, two.

3) Nothing comes before something.  Single letters are always shelved before multiple letters (but multiple letters are shelved alphabetically then, regardless of the number of letters).

                        Y 4.AG 8/1:C 68      files before

                        Y 4.AG 8/1:C 68/2


                        L 2.3:               files before

                        LC 4.7:


                        N 11.5:            files before

                        NAS 1.21:       files before

                        NS 1.2:

The number is often followed by a slash and then a number or numbers.  The additional numbers with no dash come before the same number with a dash (followed by another number thus adhering to the general principle that nothing comes before something in SuDocs numbers.

                        Y 4.J 89/1:98-100                   reads as                       Y 4.J 89/1:                   98-100

                        Y 4.J 89/1-12:984                                                       Y 4.J 89/1-12:             984

                        Y 4.J 89/2:99-10                                                         Y 4.J 89/2:                   99-10

                        Y 4.J 89/2-10:984                                                       Y 4.J 89/2-10:             984

                        Y 4.J 89/2-11:979                                                       Y 4.J 89/2-11:             979


4) Letters come before numbers:

                        Y 4.SCI 2:F 76

                        Y 4.SCI 2:95-A

                        Y 4.SCI 2:95-31

Exception to this rule is in the Y 4’s. Letters before numbers; then Senate Hearings (S.Hrg.) then Senate Reports (S.Prt.):

                        Y 4 En 2:M 31

                        Y 4 En 2:95-14

                        Y 4 En 2:S.Hrg.98-730

                        Y 4 En 2:S.Prt.98-266


5)  When multiple alphabets are given, fill all the single alphabet, then all the double alphabet, etc:

                        Y 4.SCI 2:95-A

                        Y 4.SCI 2:95-W

                        Y 4.SCI 2:95-AA

                               Y 4.SCI 2:95-CC

                        Y 4.SCI 2:95-AAA


6) The book number, the alphanumeric stuff,  after the colon are often followed by a slash and another number or series of these.  Often one of the following numbers is the date of a certain edition of the document (dates before the 21st century appear without the initial 1: ie. 879=1879 and 989=1989.  Shelve the revised document (with a year) after the original document, but before the next cutter.

                        A 13.28:C 42

                        A 13.28:C 42/981

                        A 13.28:C 42/2000

                        A 13.28:C 42/3

                        A 13.28:C 42/3/999

7) Learning SuDocs is a gradual process (there is always some new weird number you have never seen before).  ASK QUESTIONS rather than guessing and risk “losing” a document by misfiling it. 

Publication Types

The following numbers are assigned for the types of publications common to most Government offices:

  1. Annual reports
  2. General publications (unnumbered publications of a miscellaneous nature)
  3. Bulletin
  4. Circulars
  5. Laws (administered by the agency and published by it)
  6. Regulations, rules, and instructions
  7. Releases
  8. Handbooks, manuals, guides
  9. Bibliographies and lists of publications
  10. Directories
  11. Maps and charts
  12. Posters
  13. Forms
  14. Addresses, lectures, etc.


Senate Documents                                   

Y 1.1/3:

Senate Treaty Documents                       

Y 1.1/4:

Senate Reports                                         

Y 1.1/5:

Senate Executive Reports                        

Y 1.1/6:

House Documents                                    

Y 1.1/7:

House Reports                                          

Y 1.1/8:

Senate Bills                                              

Y 1.4/1:

Senate Resolutions                                   

Y 1.4/2:

Senate Joint Resolutions                          

Y 1.4/3:

Senate Concurrent Resolutions               

Y 1.4/4:

House Bills                                               

Y 1.4/6:

House Resolutions                                    

Y 1.4/7:

House Joint Resolutions                           

Y 1.4/8:

House Concurrent Resolutions                

Y 1.4/9:

Congressional Record    (bound)


Congressional Record (daily)

X/a.96/1 (96th, session 1)

Congress as a whole

Y 1.1:

House of Representatives publications

Y 1.2:

Senate publications

Y 1.3:

Congressional Committee publications

Y 4.

Boards, Commissions, and Committees