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Government Information 2e: Citations: Reading and Creating

The SuDoc Classification System

Items in the MU Libraries published by the US Government in King Library are organized using the Superintendent of Documents Call Number system, or 'SuDoc' for short. Rather than organizing items by subject, the SuDoc system organizes items by the parent agency of the agency that published them. For instance publications from the National Park Service are given SuDoc numbers beginning with 'I' for the NPS's parent agency, the Department of the Interior.

The most recognizable feature of a SuDoc call number is the colon. The basic principle of the SuDoc system is that numbers are divided into Stems (located before the colon), that describe the source and type of publication, and Book Numbers (located after the colon), that describe the specific item.  SuDoc stems consist of a letter, usually the first letter of an agency name ('I' for Interior, 'E' for Energy) and a number that designates the , while book numbers identify specific items. 

SuDoc call number; section before colon is the SuDoc stem; section after colon is the book number

This example shows the SuDoc number for "Ford's Theatre and the House Where Lincoln Died," a guide book to the Ford's Theatre National Historic Site.  Published by the National Park Service, under the Department of the Interior.

Michigan State University Libraries Government Documents Department has created an interactive tutorial for teaching the SuDoc system to librarians and staff.

Citation Styles. 

Most style manuals contain basic formats for citing documents in research. However, because of the variety of types of documents, it can be difficult to figure out how to create a citation. The standard guide is the Blue Book: A Uniform System of Citation, in print. [A short and limited guide is online.] Some samples below, but you may have to adapt the format of your citation to reflect the spirit of the structure if you cannot find an exact match. In general, the idea of citation is that you can find a source again, and that your citations are reasonably standardized and consistent. Some of the databases will supply citations for each document. 

 Samples of Citations
(From the The Bluebook: a Uniform System of Citation): note there are many variations and it is best to check with the Bluebook for specific details for each kind of document).

  • Code of Federal Regulations:  FCC Broadcast Radio Services, 47 C.F.R. § 73.609 (2009). [Title of Rule or Regulation, Title # C.F.R. specific section (year enacted).  For FCC Broadcast Radio Services: Zones.  (The symbol (§) is preferred and can be found under the symbol font, likely under the insert menu.) 
  • US Code17 U.S.C. § 107 (2012) 
  • Hearings: Background and HIstory of Impeachment; Hearing Before the Subcomm. on the Constitution of the H. Comm on the Judiciary, 105th Cong. 22-23 (1998) (statement of Rep. Hutchinson, Member, H. Comm. on the Judiciary. [Title of Hearing, hearing, Subcommittee and Committee name, session of Congress, dates]
  • Agency DocumentTribal Water Quality Accomplishments. [Electronic Resource]. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Pacific Southwest Region 9, Water Division, Water Pollution Control Program, 2006. [Chicago Manual of Style]
  • Bills and Resolutions (several ways)
    • Unenacted: S. 516, 105th Cong. § 2 (1997); H.R. 422, 106th Cong. (1990); Clear Skies Act, S. 485, 108th Cong. (2003); Protection form Personal Intrusion Act, H.R. 2448, 105th Cong. § 2(a) (1997). 
    • Enacted: the same form as above, but with (enacted) at the end of the citation.
  • Law Review: Bushle, Corey. The Exclusionary Rule, and the Problem with Search and Seizure Law under the Ohio Constitution. 89 U.CIN. L. REV. 530–51 (2021).
  • Cases: Jackson v. Metro. Edison Co., 348 F.Supp.954, 956-58 (M.D. Pa. 1972), aff'd 483 F.2d 754 (3d Cir. 1973), aff'd 419 U.S. 345 (1974).

Other Useful Guides

Other Citation Styles