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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to questions about using the Government Documents collection:

What materials can I find in Government Documents?

The Government Documents collection consists of federal, state of Ohio, and United Nations publications, as well as state and Canadian geological publications. The department has been a member of the Federal Depository Library Program since 1962 and a State of Ohio Depository since 1958.

How is the Government Documents collection arranged?

Federal publications are arranged by their Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) classification numbers. This classification scheme groups publications together by the government department or agency that publishes them. State of Ohio documents are similarly grouped, but begin with the letter "O." United Nations documents are classified with series symbols which indicate the council, body or committee whose proceedings are recorded therein.

How do I find the SuDocs number?

Most government documents can be found on KentLINK. The SuDocs number is listed in the KentLINK record. You can also check Marcive WebDocs, which is an index of all government documents published from 1976 to the present. Kent is currently selecting about 70% of all items that are available from the government.

Some documents do not appear in KentLINK or WebDocs. There are many other printed indexes and electronic products available in the Government Documents Reference Collection in the Information Commons with which the Reference staff will be happy to assist you.

How do I find my document on the shelf?

Once you have found the SuDocs number on KentLINK or Marcive WebDocs, refer to the signs on the ends of the shelves to locate the correct letter area. SuDocs numbers are written on the spine or in the upper left corner of the front cover of most documents. After having found the general area, use each element of the SuDocs number, one at a time, to locate the document. The period is not used as a decimal point, but rather to separate the elements from each other.

Numbers after the period are whole, or counting numbers, not decimal places.

My SuDocs number begins with "O." Where is it?

Most documents with numbers beginning with "O" are state of Ohio documents. General Ohio documents are shelved just beyond the computer terminal area, past the first "A" aisle (look for the hanging sign). Ohio geological documents are shelved at the end of the federal depository collection in the Geology section (the very last row). Canadian geological documents are also located there.

What if my SuDocs number begins with "Micro-4?"

"Micro-4" indicates that your document is on microfiche. "Micro-4" is not part of the SuDocs number, so disregard it when searching for your fiche. Fiche are found on the 2nd floor. While microfiche documents do not circulate, Periodical Services does offer a duplication service.

What if my SuDocs number begins with "CD-ROM?"

This indicates that the document is on CD-ROM. All government documents on CD-ROM do circulate. They are located behind the Circulation Desk.

I still can't find my document!

If you have not been successful in locating a document, and KentLINK indicates that it is available, try the sorting range (return shelf). The range is located against the wall (look for the sign). The documents are not in SuDocs order, but are filed by the first letter of their numbers. Ohio documents are at the end of the alphabet in the sorting range. Consult the Circulation staff for further assistance.

Am I free to copy government documents?

Yes. There are few copyright restrictions for government documents, especially when used for educational purposes. Photocopiers are located on the 10th and 1st through 3rd floors.

Can I check out a document?

Most documents do circulate; those that do not are stamped "This Book Does Not Circulate" on the cover or first page. Those documents that do circulate can be checked out at the Circulation Desk on the 1st floor with a valid I.D. While microfiche documents do not circulate, Periodical Services does offer fiche duplication.

When I am finished with a document, what do I do with it?

Staff will reshelve material after it is used. You may return it to the Circulation Desk or leave it on any table. There are trays for microfiche near the microfiche cabinets.

How do I find non-depository items?

The Readex collection (1965-1994) is a microform collection of all non-depository government publications that are listed in the Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications. They are stored in an offsite storage facility and shelved by the Monthly Catalog entry number. You can find the entry number by using Marcive WebDocs (1976-1994) or the Monthly Catalog for pre-1976 publications. Since none of these publications are listed in KentLINK, you can consult the Government Documents librarian to help you retrieve them.

How do I find United Nations publications?

U.N. documents are classified under the council, body, or committee whose proceedings are recorded in the document. Most of the document numbers consist of an alphabetical symbol for the body, followed by letters and/or numbers which symbolize the session or meeting. When you have located a number for the document you need (for example, E/1985/18), you can find the document in the cabinets just past the microfiche cabinets, marked "United Nations." The cabinets are organized by year, so it is essential to know the year if it is not a part of the document number.

Access UN indexes publications from 1998 to the present. It is available online through the library's subscription. The UN CD-ROM database idexes publications from 1946-1997. It is available on networked terminals on the 1st floor. Documents from 1946-1981 are kept in the library's basement storage facility and are available by request through the 2nd floor Periodical Services Desk.