Superintendent of Documents Classification System

History of the Government Printing Office.

Superintendent of Documents

SuDocs Classification

Alphanumeric notation based on provenance (place of origin) in which the publications of each department, bureau, agency, and office are grouped together under the same letter/number code. In this way all publications by a specific government department would be grouped together regardless of subject matter.

Class stem:

C 1 = Commerce Department (level 1)

C 55 = National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (level 2)

C 55.100 = National Weather Service (level 3)

A 13 = Forest Service

A 13.40/1: = Southern Forest Experiment Station (Annual Report)

.1 Annual Report

.2 General Publications (a ‘last resort’ category)

.3 Bulletins (title must contain this word)

.4 Circulars (title must contain this word)

.5 Laws (reserved for agencies with the right to issue laws)

.6 Regulations, rules and instructions

.7 Press releases (announcements issued to the news)

.8 Handbooks, manuals, and guides (title must contain one of these words)

.9 Bibliographies and lists of publications

.10 Directories (title must contain this word)

.11 Maps and charts

.12 Posters

.13 Forms (only for forms and instructions for filling them out)

.14 Addresses


Book Number


Some Examples:

GP 3.2:El 2/2 Electronic Capabilities of Federal Depository Libraries

J 1.14/7: 983 Uniform Crime Reports

L 2.3:264 Bulletin #264

Differences in classification systems:

Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) = subject arrangement (browsable)

Very hierarchical and depends on "number" building

Library of Congress (LC) = subject arrangement (browsable)

Less hierarchical

SuDocs = provenance arrangement (limited browsing)

Depends on issuing agency

Some Examples:

Title: Federal firearms regulations reference guide : (formerly "Your guide to" federal firearms regulations).

Published: <Washington, D.C.> : Dept. of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms : <For sale by the U.S. G.P.O., Supt. of Docs., 1995>

Alternate title(s): Your guide to federal firearms regulations

Subjects, general (s=):

Firearms--Law and legislation--United States--Handbooks, manuals, etc.

Firearms--Taxation--Law and legislation--United States Handbooks, manuals, etc.

Other author(s), etc.:

United States. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):


Library of Congress (LC):


Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs)

T 70.8:

Author: Wolanin, Barbara A. (Barbara Ann)

Title: Constantino Brumidi : artist of the Capitol / prepared under the direction of the Architect of the Capitol by Barbara A. Wolanin.

Published: Washington : U.S. G.P.O., c 1998.

Subjects, general (s=):

Brumidi, Constantino, 1805-1880--Criticism and interpretation.

Mural painting and decoration, American--Washington (D.C.)

Mural painting and decoration--19th century--Washington (D.C.)

Mural painting and decoration --Conservation and restoration--Washington (D.C.)

United States Capitol (Washington, D.C.)

Painters--United States--Biography.






Y 1.1/3:103-27

This sits on the shelf between an appropriations request for the Department of Defense and a publication about the United States Capitol.

Page was created by Jane Anne Carey in 11-98 and updated on 08-06-02

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