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Serial and Government Publications Division





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Federal Depository Collection
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Corra la voz acerca de los Mamogramas y la prueba de papanicolaou o prueba pap: un recurso educativo para los profesionales de la salud [Spread the word about mammograms and the Pap test: an educational resource for health care professionals] (Washington: National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, 1999; SuDoc no. HE 20.3152:P 19/7/DISPLAY). Serial and Government Publications Division.

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As the largest publisher in the world, the U.S. Government Printing Office issues monographs, serials, maps, posters, and online databases on behalf of federal government agencies. Data gathered through federal government-sponsored research is a primary source for many public policy debates and analyses.

The Government Printing Office (GPO) publishes technical reports, treatises, and histories, as well as popular, consumer-oriented information to educate and notify the American public about questions affecting large segments of the population, such as the importance of the census, child safety, or nutrition issues. The federal government is one of the largest research and analysis organizations in the world. Federal agencies conduct their own investigations and sponsor research through advisory commissions and contracts.

The amount of information about women in government publications is vast and includes a broad range of data and a great variety of information in great detail, such as the number of Navajo women who are heads of household (that is, no spouse is present in the home) (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population, Characteristics of American Indians by Tribe and Language, C 3.286:CD 90 SSTF 13) and how many women suffer from migraine headaches each year (U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, Vital and Health Statistics, Series 10, HE 20.6209:10/ ). Special programs available for women are made known in publications like the annual Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (PREX 2.20: ) where women can find out how to benefit from programs such as the Women's Special Employment Assistance or Women's Business Ownership Assistance.

U.S. government publications are arranged according to a classification system developed by the Office of the Superintendent of Documents of the GPO. The SuDoc classification system groups print, electronic, and microfiche publications by issuing agency. Therefore, all publications issued by the Women's Bureau (such as the Women's Newsletter) are grouped together under the SuDoc L 36.102 to L 36.116 range. The annual Census Bureau publication Fertility of American Women: Current Population Reports (C 3.186/10) is housed with other Census publications such as Households, Families, Marital Status, and Living Arrangements (C 3.186/9) and Household and Family Characteristics (C 3.186/17). The series Women-Owned Businesses (C 3.250) is found with the Census series for the Construction Industry and Retail Trade. The annual Data on Female Veterans (VA 1.2 /12) is one of many publications issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs' Statistical Policy and Research Service. This grouping may help researchers determine how an agency considers women in the context of its larger mission and gives researchers access to some of the primary data on which publications concerning women are based.

In 1979, the Serial & Government Publications Division became a selective federal government depository for the Library of Congress, receiving specified categories of material issued by federal agencies and published by the GPO. Like the General Collections, the depository collection excludes most publications in agriculture and technical medicine. As a selective depository, the Serial & Government Publications Division keeps the latest ten years of federal depository publications. Material issued in print and micro format is kept in a closed stacks collection arranged by SuDoc classification number. Publications issued on CD-ROM or disk are also housed in the Division. By receiving publications directly from the GPO and arranging them by SuDoc number, the division provides timely access to U.S. government materials, because they, unlike those destined for the General Collections, are not cataloged before they are made available to the public. The SuDoc collection contains many documents available elsewhere in the Library, but its value lies in the immediacy of its public access and in its organizing principles, which group together materials from each government agency for comparative research.

Using Federal Depository Publications

Access to the depository material is available through numerous sources. Like the other 1,400 depository libraries in the United States, the Library of Congress has access to government databases such as StatUSA, an economic and commercial database issued by the Commerce Department (<>), and GPO Access (<>), a Web site containing databases and textual documents of congressional and executive agencies. The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications is available in several formats (in print or on CD-ROM) from several sources (among them OCLC FirstSearch, Dialog, and Marcive) and can be searched on the Web from January 1994 to the present at <>. Printed resources are best for older government publications (housed in the General Collections) that have not yet been added to computer databases. Electronic resources offer the easiest and most effective access to current government publications housed in the division (see Serial and Government Publications External Sites).

Increasingly the GPO and individual federal agencies are making government material available through the Web. With the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and the Re-Inventing Government policy of the 1990s, it is more cost-effective for agencies and the GPO to publish directly to the Web. Nearly every agency and bureau has a Web site, and all utilize the Web to promote agency activities. The Bureau of the Census and the Internal Revenue Service were early pioneers in using the Web to connect with the public, and others have followed suit. Search engines tailored to federal government Web material can help locate frequently sought and hard-to-find government information: the U.S. Government's Official Web Portal (< >) provides gateways to federal information
Uncle Sam <> is Google's specific search engine for the federal government (< >) is a specialized search engine for U.S. military Web sites
Thomas (< >) is the gateway to federal legislative information

For links to the public Web sites mentioned here, see Serial and Government Publications External Sites.

SEARCH TIPS: In addition to the Library's online catalog, many resources are available for subject, title, and author access to older government publications. The Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1896-present; Z1223.A18 N&CPR) has annual indexes. A number of cumulative subject, title, and author indexes have been published both by the GPO and by private publishers. Congressional hearings are available in many divisions of the Library (see Congressional Documents in the General Collections), and have specialized indexes of their own.

SAMPLE LCSH: To locate indexes to U.S. government publications, search under:
Government publications—United States—Indexes
Government publications—United States—Bibliography—Union lists

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