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Government Documents

Library resource guide for U.S. Federal Government Documents

What are Government Documents?

Government Documents are official publications produced by U.S. Government agencies (materials such as guides, statistical data, books, congressional documents/reports, etc.), in any format (print, electronic, websites, microform). The Government Publishing Office (GPO) distributes these materials to designated libraries, Federal Depository Libraries, throughout the United States and its territories (*Colorado Federal Depository Libraries*).

Federal Depository Library Program

FDLP "The United States Government is the largest publisher in the world. Every day the U.S. Government issues congressional bills, laws, regulations, presidential documents, studies, and more on a variety of topics. The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) was established by Congress to ensure that the American public has access to its Government's information. The FDLP is administered by the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO)." 

Government Documents at McDermott Library

McDermott Library has been a designated selective depository library since 1956.  Most of the collection has been received through the Federal Depository Library Program.  Publications not owned by the library may be borrowed from other depository libraries through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).
• Our collection is organized using the Superintendent of Documents Classification Scheme (SuDocs)
• Location of documents:
          4th floor, compact shelving (print) 
          3rd floor, (microfiche)
• Documents received since 1992 are included in the library's online catalog
Most government information received today is in electronic form
Government departments and agencies provide much of their information on the Internet
Reference service for the depository library collection is always available to the faculty, staff, and cadets of the Air Force Academy, from the library's service desk, phone, or e-mail. Reference service is also available to the general public via telephone or e-mail.
The SuDoc system groups publications by government author, which are U.S. federal departments, bureaus or agencies.
The first letter/letters of a SuDoc number represents a government department or agency (parent organization).
For example, the SuDoc number:    D 301.82/7:
D = Department of Defense
The letters are followed by a number representing the agency or a subordinate office. 
301 = Department of the Air Force (agency in the DoD)
This number is followed by a period which is not read as a decimal point. The numbers following the period represent the type of document.
82/7 = Air Force History and Museums Program Publications
SuDoc classes are arranged alphabetically based on the leading letter(s). The number between the period and colon is a whole number
D 301.8: would be filed before D 301.13:
Michigan State University's SuDocs Basics provides further explanation and additional examples of the SuDocs system with an interactive quiz. Also, visit University of Minnesota's SuDoc Tutorial video.
Contact the Library Services Desk if you need assistance in locating a document on the shelf, 333-4406/4664.

Branches of U.S. Government

image 3 branches of U.S. Government

Government Documents


Documents on Display

Government Information - Notable Government Documents List

The Notable Documents List originally compiled by the Notable Documents Committee of the American Library Association's Government Documents Round Table (GODORT) in the early 1980s, was created to promote awareness of government publications. Since 1986, the list has been published in the May issue of Library Journal.

To review complete notable lists, please see the May 15th issues of Library Journal


A few examples are noted below:


2023 list - 50 Years of Solar System Exploration: Historical Perspectives
Edited by Linda Billings
National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 2021


2019 list - Artificial Intelligence, China, Russia, and the Global Order: Technological, Political, Global, and Creative Perspectives
By Ahmed, Shazeda
Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama : Air University Press, 2019


2007 list- National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza: Implementation Plan
Washington, D.C. : Homeland Security Council, 2007


1993 list - Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces: Report to the President, November 15, 1992
U.S., Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, 1992


1984 list – Integration of the Armed Forces 1940-1965
By Morris MacGregor
Washington, D.C. : Center of Military History, United States Army, 1981


  Search the U.S. Catalog of Government Publications to find many other full-text official publications from the three branches of government. 

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