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This guide to Government Documents at Fordham is intended to provide you with information about accessing government documents and to help you find governmental resources useful in your research.


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Fordham's Government Documents are located on the ground floor of Walsh Library at the Rose Hill Campus in the Bronx.

They are adjacent to the new Learning and Innovative Technology Environment (LITE) area. 

The papers of Presidents Andrew JohnsonChester Alan Arthur and William McKinley have been digitized and are now available online for the first time from the Library of Congress. These papers can be accessed both at the website and on the new LOC Collections mobile app. See link here. 

FDLP Libguides. Please click this link for FDLP Libguides

Welcome to the Government Documents Guide

Researching official United States government publications presents both challenges and opportunities for scholars and academic researchers.  Increasing digitization of open source materials being made available by the government has opened a plethora of gateways for anyone interested in civic affairs to find almost any non-classified government material with only a few mouse clicks. The challenge, however, is that this material is often located in disparate places, both physical and digital. 

Tangible sources are still published by the GPO (Government Printing Office) and made available to the public via the FDLP (Federal Depository Loan Program). However, most member libraries are selectives, meaning they pick and choose which materials they wish to hold and make available to the public. It might require trips to multiple libraries or the use of Interlibrary Loan services for the patron to locate a particular document. Regional FDLP libraries exist in every state and have a complete collection of GPO publications, but in the case of New York, the regional library is in Albany. In the case of Fordham University, only slightly over one-third of the GPO’s offerings are received as part of the library’s collection profile. An addition challenge is how much of the material is cataloged and can be located through a search of the library’s catalog. Only a portion of the collection is cataloged at the present time, primarily congressional hearings and notable items which have been integrated into the general collection. It is therefore best to consult the library’s FDLP coordinator directly regarding research needs.

Digital material however, is available to anyone with an internet connection. Again, consultation with the FDLP coordinator is recommended since the material is located across several government websites. USA.GOV is billed as the government’s official web portal and is an excellent starting point in a search for official information on a wide variety of topics. GOVINFO.GOV is a clearinghouse for government information. This website provides access to the Federal Register, the Congressional Record, compilations of presidential documents, and the calendar of the House of Representative and the Senate.  Apropos for school children, Ben’s Guide (BENSGUIDE.GPO.GOV) provides an excellent introduction to civics and the workings of the federal government.

For adult and more advanced researchers, CONGRESS.GOV is the definitive source for legislation, while WHITEHOUSE.GOV covers the executive branch. SUPREMECOURT.GOV is the official website of the high court, and contains biographies of the justices as well as opinions issued by the court, the docket of cases before the court, and oral arguments of cases in both audio and written format.

 Additionally, individual departments of government maintain their own websites. CENSUS.GOV provides both current and historical census data. IRS.GOV has current tax information, downloadable forms and the ability to e-file tax returns. GPO.GOV is the website of the Government Printing Office, which provides electronic access to materials available in tangible format at depository libraries and is highly recommend for both current information and as a treasure trove of historical materials.

 While all of these resources are readily available to the public, it may require some searching and it is best to consult the FDLP coordinator at a federal depository library for assistance in charting a course to your research needs.

Thomas C. Giangreco, Government Documents Clerk, Walsh Library, Fordham University        

About Depository Libraries

Depository Libraries make up the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) which is part of the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). Under the FDLP participating libraries receive free federal materials. Depository Libraries accept responsibility for providing these materials to the public at no charge.

Currently there are two types of Depository Libraries: selective (partial collections) and regional (receive all titles offered). Fordham has a selective depository library. There are 49 regional libraries and 1175 selectives. Both types provide free public access to a wide variety of federal government information in both print and electronic formats. All Depository Libraries are indicated by this symbol :

        Any library displaying this symbol must allow all patrons use of its depository collection.

What is a government document?

According to the United States Code, Title 44, Chapter 19, Sec 1901 : A government document is "informational matter which is published as an individual document at government expense, or as required by law"

A government document can exist in many different forms such as: Micro print, CD-ROMS, Books, floppy disks, journals and websites.  Government Publications can be found in many different places: published on a government agencies' website, in a Federal Depository Library (FDL), State Library, National Archives and  Presidential Libraries.

Federal Depository Libraries in the New York Region

Adelphi University (Garden City)
Depository Coordinator: Victor T. Olivia
Phone: 516-877-3587
Public Service: 516-877-3574

Dowling College (Oakdale)
Depository Coordinator: Judith Brink-Drescher
Phone: 631-244-3150
Public Service: 631-244-3282

Hofstra University (Hempstead)
Depository Coordinator: Georgina Martorella
Phone: 516-463-4980
Public Service: 516-463-5972

Hofstra University, Law Library (Hempstead)
Depository Coordinator: Patricia Kasting
Phone: 516-463-5905
Public Service: 516-463-5898

Long Island University
Depository Coordinator: Robert Battenfield
Phone: 516-299-2165
Public Service: 516-299-2142

Mercy College (Yorktown Heights)
Depository Coordinator: Julia Shiao
Phone: 914-245-6100 x2221
Public Service: 914-245-6100 x2218

Pace University, Law Library (White Plains)
Depository Coordinator: Gail Whittemore
Phone: 914-422-4357
Public Service: 914-422-4273

Sarah Lawrence College (Bronxville)
Depository Coordinator: Janet Alexander
Phone: 914-395-2475
Public Service: 914-395-2474

Stony Brook University
Depository Coordinator: Elaine Hoffman
Phone: 631-632-1151
Public Service: 631-632-7110

Suffolk Cooperative Library System (East Islip Public Library)
Depository Coordinator: Diane Eidelman
Phone: 631-286-1600 x1335
Public Service: 631-286-1600 x1335

SUNY-College at Brockport
Depository Coordinator: Lori Lampert
Phone: 585-395-5191
Public Service: 585-395-2760

SUNY-College of Technology (Delhi)
Depository Coordinator: Pam Peters
Phone: 607-746-4643
Public Service: 607-746-4635

Depository Coordinator: Jim Macinick
Phone: 631-420-2420
Public Service: 631-420-2184

Depository Coordinator: Andrew J. Pelle
Phone: 914-251-6405
Public Service: 914-251-6410

Touro College, Fuchsberg Law Center (Central Islip)
Depository Coordinator: Roy Sturgeon
Phone: 631-761-7156
Public Service: 631-761-7160

U.S. Military Academy (West Point)
Depository Coordinator: Paul T. Nergelovic
Phone: 845-938-8270
Public Service: 845-938-2230

U.S. Courts Library (Central Islip)
Depository Coordinator: Astrid Stalis
Phone: 631-712-6090
Public Service: 631-712-6090
Email: n/a

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (King’s Point)
Depository Coordinator: Marilyn Stern
Phone: 516-773-5505
Public Service: 516-773-5503

Vassar College (Poughkeepsie)
Depository Coordinator: Christine Fitchett
Phone: 845-437-7346
Public Service: 845-437-5766

Yonkers Public Library (Riverfront Branch)
Depository Coordinator: Norma Humphrey
Phone: 914-337-7966
Public Service: 914-337-1500
Email: n/a

Courtesy of METRO Government Documents Special Interest Group

Government Documents Clerk

Tom Giangreco


Walsh Library, Room  014A

Rose Hill Campus

718 817 3325

Fordham is a Selective Government Documents Depository and has over 380,000 documents in the collection. Government documents are located on the ground floor of Walsh Library and are open to the public during regular business hours. You should make an appointment with Tom or a Reference Librarian if you are not a Fordham student and wish to visit the Government Documents archive.


Profile Photo
Peter Patten
Walsh Library Room 131
Rose Hill Campus
718 817 3588

The Superintendent of Documents Classification System (Sudoc)

The SuDocs classification system is designed specifically for United States government documents and is assigned by the office of the Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) of the Government Printing Office.

Unlike most classification systems, SuDoc numbers are not based on subject. The system is straightforward, on the surface – A for AgricultureC for CommerceD for DefenseE for EnergyGP for Government Printing OfficeT for Treasury Department, and so on. The logic behind the SuDocs system is the grouping of subordinate units with the parent organization so that each full notation reveals the responsible issuing agency for the type of publication being classified. This type of system is called a provenance system – it organizes publications based upon issuing agency.

There are exceptions to the straightforward letters, of course: Y 1; call numbers are general publications of Congress – House and Senate Documents and Reports,Y 3; call numbers are independent boards and commissions, and Y 4 call numbers are House and Senate Committee hearings and publications.

Because the classification system is based on the current organizational status of the government author, it changes as the organizational structure of the federal government changes. Thus, publications of some issuing agencies may be located in as many as three different places in the system.

SuDoc numbers can be quite simple or very complex. For instance,

  • I 1.1:917 Reports of the Department of the Interior. 1918.
  • I 29.6/6:F 75/988 Ford’s Theatre and the House Where Lincoln Died. 1988.
  • I 53.11/4:43109-E1-TM-100/991 Ramshorn, Wyoming Surface Management Map. 1991.

   What you really need to know

However, before going into greater detail about SuDoc numbers we must focus on the three things you reallyneed to know:

SuDocs is NOT a decimal system

The number after the period is a WHOLE number. (There is always a space between letters and numbers in the SuDoc system — unless there is punctuation between them. Punctuation in a SuDoc number always acts as a divider, not as a decimal point.)

Remember: Years, Letters, Numbers!

If the call number is the same to a certain point, then varies, the order is: Years, Letters, Numbers. Until the year 2000, the first number was dropped from years, so those years have 3 digits. Beginning with the year 2000, years will be 4 digits.

Correct Call Number Order

Example 1
A 1.35:999 (year, 3-digit)
A 1.35:2004 (year, 4-digit)
A 1.35:R 42/995
A 1.35:R 42/2
A 1.35:321

Example 2
EP 1.23:998
EP 1.23:A 62
EP 1.23:91-44
EP 1.23:600/998-103
EP 1.23:600/R-98-23

Slashes and Dashes

If the class stem (the numbers before the colon) has numbers slashed onto the base number, the base number comes first, followed by the slashed numbers in order. The same rule applies to numbers dashed onto other numbers or letters.

Correct Call Number Order

Example 1
C 3.186:
C 3.186/2:
C 3.186/7:
C 3.186/7-3:
C 3.186/9:

Example 2
EP 1.23:998
EP 1.23/A:
EP 1.23/A-2:
EP 1.23/2:
EP 1.23/2-2:


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