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Government Information: Home

Guide to Government Information and Drew University's Federal Documents Library

The Collection - Overview

Drew University Library has been a depository for U.S. Government publications since 1939. As a selective depository, Drew selects over one-third of all documents distributed by the Government Printing Office (GPO). With the passing of Public Law 103-40, known as the Government Printing Office Electronic Information Enhancement Act of 1993, items selected by the Drew depository are increasingly online, with access to documents via links. Currently, Drew receives few print/microfiche/CD-ROM documents. Drew does have a very nice archival print government documents collection dating from the 18th century. These include 19th century census material, documents related to Native American affairs, material from the Bureau of Education and the Labor Department as well as records from the first Congress (1789) onward.

Government documents are received in paper, microfiche, video, electronic (e.g. CD-ROM, DVD) and increasingly through online access (e.g. URLs, PURLs) format. Most tangible documents circulate. Documents labeled or stamped with "US DOCS REF," "DO NOT CIRCULATE," or "LIBRARY USE ONLY" cannot be checked out. Anyone, whether associated with Drew or not, can check out circulating U.S. government documents.

Reference assistance is available for accessing U.S. Government Documents. Contact Irina Radeva (; 973 408-3480) or ask for help at the Reference Desk.

Using the Collection

Locating older documents:

Step One: Find the SuDoc number for a particular document.

  • The following indexes and databases are good starting points:
    • The Drew Library Catalog contains entries for most documents received by Drew since January 1990. Drew Library provides a shelf list of all government documents in the collection. This shelf list is located on A-level in the Rose portion of the library (map).
    • Catalog of U.S. Government Publications indexes documents dating from 1976 to the present. The index links to some full text documents.
    • Worldcat (accessed from Electronic Resources by Title) includes entries from the Monthly Catalog since 1976. Searching is possible by keyword, personal or corporate author, title, report number or SuDoc #
    • The print Monthly Catalog, and its predecessor volumes, indexes documents from 1789 to the present. The Monthly Catalog is located in compact shelving on A-level (Learning Center) under the following SuDoc numbers, GP 3.6: and GP 3.8:. The following resources, located on A-level (Rose) are also helpful in locating older government documents:
      • US DOCS REF 015.73 P823d - A Descriptive Catalogue of Government Publications of the United States, Sept. 5 1774-March 4, 1881
      • US DOCS REF 015.73 U58c - Comprehensive Index to the Publications of the United States Government, 1881-1893.
      • US DOCS REF 015.73 U.S. Subject Index - Cumulative Subject Index to the Monthly Catalog of the United States Government Publications, 1900-1971.
      • US DOCS REF 015.73 L642c - Cumulative Index to United States Public Documents, 1789-1976.
      • The Drew depository collection includes other indexes. Please check the library Catalog.
    • ProQuest Congressional (accessed from Electronic Resources by Title uses the CIS Index and contains many full text documents listed in the index. A print version of the CIS Index is located in the US DOCS REF section on A-level (Rose): US DOCS REF 328.7303 C749 as is its predecessor US DOCS REF 328.73 C749c US Serial Set Index (1789-1969).
    • A print version of the ASI (American Statistical Index) can be found in the US DOCS REF section on A-level Rose:  016.3173 A512a
  • Online access to selected older full text documents.
    • FDsys, a free service of the US Government Printing Office, provides electronic access for many government documents.
    • A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation, from the Library of Congress. Access to selected legislated 18th and 19th century documents.
    • Government Information- How to Find It provides links to archival and current government information hosted by Universities and other non-governmental entities.

Step Two: Find the document on the shelf/draw using the SuDoc #.

Use the SuDoc number to check the government documents shelf list to see whether Drew owns the documents. Cards are organized by SuDoc number. Cards in the shelf list refer to documents shelved on

  • M-fiche - documents in microfiche format, housed in the documents microfiche cabinets located on C-Level
  • Periodicals - documents housed in the main Drew periodicals collection
  • Oversize - unwieldy documents shelved on A-Level at the end of the main collection.
  • Dewey Decimal numbers - Shelf list cards that list Dewey Decimal numbers along with the SuDoc numbers indicate that these documents are housed in the main book collection.
  • Catalog Department - some Library of Congress documents are routed to the Drew catalog department, for use by the library's catalogers, as well as the public.


  • Letters reflect the agencies issuing the document. Most letters correspond to the actual name of the agency: ED for Department of Education, S for the State Department, LC for Library of Congress, EP for Environmental Protection agency, HS for Department of Homeland Security, etc. Congressional documents are an exception to this rule. They begin with either X or Y designation (e.g. Y 4. for Congressional Hearings).
  • Numbers following punctuation (e.g. periods or semicolons) in SuDoc classification are always read as whole numbers, not as decimal numbers as in the Dewey Decimal Classification.
    For example: A 1.16: is shelved before A 1.102: 

Locating current/near current documents online:

  • FDsys - Federal Digital System (FDsys) provides public access to Government information submitted by Congress and Federal agencies and preserved as technology changes. FDsys is the official archive for full text government documents. Collections are searchable, or browseable. Current collections are listed below. New collections are being added constantly.  
    • * Budget of the United States Government (Fiscal Year) 
    • * Compilation of Presidential Documents (1993 to Present) 
    • * Congressional Bills (103rd Congress to Present) 
    • * Congressional Calendars (104th Congress to Present) 
    • * Congressional Committee Prints (105th Congress to Present) 
    • * Congressional Documents (104th Congress to Present)
    • * Congressional Hearings (105th Congress to Present) 
    • * Congressional Record (1994 to Present) 
    • * Congressional Reports (104th Congress to Present) 
    • * Economic Indicators (1995 to Present) 
    • * Federal Register (1994 to Present) 
    • * List of CFR Sections Affected (1997 to Present) 
    • * Public and Private Laws (104th Congress to Present)

Guide to Government Information at Drew University

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