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US Government Documents at Wesleyan's Libraries

Wesleyan University libraries contain United States Government publications (also called "government documents") from the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the United States government, in several formats: paper, microfiche, CD-ROM, diskette, videocassette, and online. Government documents cover many topics. Our collection emphasizes the social sciences, and is strongest in Congressional publications, statistics, and government policy.

We were designated a Depository library by a Connecticut Senator in 1906. We receive, free of charge, about 35% of the publications offered in pre-selected categories by the Government Printing Office (GPO), and are required by Federal law to make them available to the general public as well as to our regular users.

Publications we have received since 1976 appear in the CTW online catalog. Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, an online version of the Government Printing Office's catalog of U.S. Government documents, indexes all federal government publications from 1976 to the present, including publications which we do not select but which may be available in other Depositories. Printed indexes for earlier publications are available; consult a Reference librarian.

The main documents collection is housed on the Ground Floor of the Olin Library stacks. The Documents Reference collection is on the Main Floor of Olin, near the Campbell Reference Center. Congressional hearings are on Ground Floor A; the Congressional Serial Set is on the Basement Level. Microfiche are in the Microforms Room. CD-ROMs and diskettes are in the Documents Office on the Main Floor. Online databases are available through the campus network or through Netscape. See Documents librarian or a Reference librarian for assistance.

Most U.S. publications are classified in the Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) classification. The call number is not based on subject, but on the Federal agency that issued the publication and the type of publication. The most important thing to note is that the dot in the call number is NOT A DECIMAL, but a whole number. For example: call numbers beginning with HE 20.2: come before HE 20.11. HE 20.11, in turn, precedes HE 20.101: which precedes HE 20.1001: Alphanumeric combinations, however, are decimals, though they have no decimal point, e.g., A76 precedes A8. For clarification, see a reference librarian.

Some U.S. government monographs and serials are in the general collection or the Science library, and are classified in the regular Library of Congress classification. They appear in the CTW online catalog.

The Government Documents Librarian and Reference Librarians can assist readers in using the U.S. Government publications Depository library collection at Wesleyan.