Understanding Call Numbers

Superintendent of Documents Classification System

SuDocs call numbers are issued by the United States Government Printing Office, for items published by the U. S. Government. The SuDocs Classification System is not a subject based system, rather, items are arranged by the department or the agency issuing the publication, such as the FBI or the Department of Health. As a Regional Depository for Government Documents, LSU Libraries uses the SuDocs Classification System for all government documents.

  • SuDocs call numbers begin with letters which stand for the issuing government agency
  • For a list of SuDoc department classification system, click HERE.
  • After the department, other codes are added which represent agencies, the specific item, and date.

For example, the call number C 3.134/2 : C 83/2/994 can then be broken down as follows:

SuDocs Call Number
Issuing Department C Commerce Department
Subagency 3 Bureau of the Census
Series 134/2 : Statistical Abstract Supplement
Title and date C 83/2/994 County and City Data Book, 1994

Note the COLON in the center of the call number. No other call number has a colon, so this is a quick and easy way to tell if the number is a SuDocs number.

Review Question:

Which classification system is subject based?


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