Federal Government Documents
As a member of the Federal Depository Library program, the Henderson Library contains a large collection of the publications of the United States Government. Titles in the bulk of this collection can be located using the Henderson Library online catalog. This collection, which may be considered "a library within a library," is a valuable resource for the academic community and for the general public throughout the Georgia Southern University service region.
"Government Publications... are among the oldest written records, and if measured by their influence on civilization, are probably the most important of all living records," according to Boyd and Rips in U.S. Government Publications. Distribution of government information to libraries is one of the nation's oldest traditions, first established by statute in 1813. Beginning in 1858, members of Congress were authorized to designate individual libraries to receive government publications, and the Federal Depository Library Program was created. Since 1895, the Federal Depository Library Program has been administered by the Government Printing Office.
Georgia Senator Richard B. Russell designated our library as a member of the Federal Depository Library Program effective 1939. The Henderson Library's Depository collection is one of over 1,200 collections that serve the American public by providing local, no-fee access to Federal government information. This collection provides government information that supports: public policy development and decision-making; citizens in fulfilling their civic responsibilities; business and economic development; local community concerns such as health, safety, security, and the environment; and education and historical research. We are fortunate to have a large collection of Federal documents numbering over 750,000 volumes. The collection contains documents from the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of government, in formats including paper, microfiche, video, CD-ROM, and online access to Federal agencies data resources via the World Wide Web.
The Federal Documents and Georgia Documents collections are located on the 1st floor of Henderson Library. In addition to the Library online
catalog, other research tools in the collection including specialized indexes aid in the location of government information resources that may
not be found using the online catalog. Quick processing of incoming materials allows the most advantageous use of the most current
statistical and legislative information contained in or accessible from the Federal Documents collection. Henderson Library also catalogs online
government data that meets the selection criteria for our federal depository, and catalogs all Georgia documents. For assistance accessing
any of these government resources, please ask at the Learning Commons Desk on the 2nd floor.
Hours: Service for the Federal Documents collection by the Government Documents staff is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. by calling 478-5117 or by asking at the general Reference Desk. During nights and weekends, requests should be made at the general Reference Desk on the second floor. The Reference Desk is staffed Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. - 12 a.m.; Friday 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.; and Sunday 12 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Service By Appointment: Faculty may make arrangements with the Government Documents Librarian for bibliographic instruction for any class they teach. We are happy to make arrangements to meet with classes for instruction about research methods with government information resources. Please call the Government Documents office if you wish to make an appointment. The telephone number of the Government Documents office is (912) 478-5117. The email address of the Government Documents Librarian is email@example.com.
Access to Federal Government Information Resources available on the World Wide Web is provided by the Research by Subject guide on the Library home page at http://library.georgiasouthern.edu/documents/. Federal documents in the Henderson Library can be located on the Henderson Library online catalog. Catalog records for documents published from 1976-2000 were loaded into the Library catalog in January, 2001. As a selective depository library, the Henderson Library currently receives approximately 76% of those publications available for distribution. Current catalog records are loaded for new receipts. Indexes within the Government Documents collection also aid in locating research materials suitable to your needs. The primary indexes to current information include MarciveWeb Docs, a commercially published, Web-based, catalog of U.S. government publications from July 1976 to the present, which is updated weekly and is equivalent to the traditional printed source, the Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications; the CIS Index to Congressional Publications (1970-date)(paper); and the American Statistics Index (1973-date)(paper). Among other indexes used for historical research are the Cumulative Title Index to United States Public Documents, 1789-1976 (paper); the CIS U.S. Serial Set Index (1789 to 1969) (paper); and the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (1895 to date) (paper). Other indexes, both online and printed, fulfill the needs for more specialized areas of research. The Government Documents Librarian and Government Documents Assistants are available to provide additional assistance. Check with the Government Documents staff before assuming that any Federal document is not available in the Henderson Library.
The Federal Documents collection is organized by the Superintendent of Documents Classification System (SuDocs), which is arranged differently from the Library of Congress call numbers. The beginning letters are derived from the name of the issuing government agency, i.e., “A” for Agriculture, “C” for Commerce Department, and “E” for Energy Department. Call numbers beginning with “X” or “Y” are exceptions; they are not derived from the issuing agency name. All such numbers represent Congressional publications, such as the Congressional Record, Congressional committee hearings, documents, prints, and reports.
Examples of Federal Document call numbers follow:
D 1.2:B 63
|HE 20.2:H 34/3/976|
Y 4.Ap 6/2:Ag 8/5/976/ Pt.3
The colon, “:” near the middle of the number is unique to a SuDocs call number. All letters and numbers to the left of the colon are associated with the issuing agency. All letters and/or numbers to the right of the colon are associated with the individual book, serial, or periodical. There are no decimal points in the call numbers. Rather, all punctuation marks are simply stop points. The enumeration or alphabetization begins anew after each stop point. These techniques simplify the reading of call numbers.
Circulation of Documents: Most Federal documents can be checked out for the same period of time as other library books. Documents are checked out at the Circulation Desk on the second floor.
Local depository libraries work in partnership with the Federal Government to carry out the following mission of the Federal Depository Library Program: