Skip to Main Content

Political Science Resources

Find primary and secondary sources for public policy, statistics, and more.

Government Documents

Government documents have their own specialized classification system that makes it easier to find information about bills, legislation, and reports. Use the information below to search for specific information. 

Glossary of Legislative Publications

These are the basic publications of the United States government. You can find the print and/or electronic versions of these resources in the databases ProQuest Congressional, Hein Online, The HathiTrust, and the government website,

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR): Codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the Executive departments and agencies of the Federal government.

Congressional Hearings: Primarily transcripts, including statements and discussion, of hearings before House and Senate committees.   

Congressional Record: Official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress.  It is published daily when Congress is in session.

Congressional Reports: Include Senate, House, and Executive reports.  Includes the texts of reports submitted by individuals or committees, sometimes including dissenting views.  Generally relates to bills, resolutions, or treaties under consideration.  

Federal Register: The official daily publication for Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as Executive Orders and other Presidential documents.

Statutes at Large: Permanent collection of all laws and resolutions enacted during each session of Congress.

U.S. Code: “The law of the land.”  The general and permanent laws of the United Statesdivided by broad subjects into 50 titles. 

SuDoc Classification

While most of the library's collection is classified by Library of Congress (LC) call numbers, government documents have their own classification system, SuDoc (Superintendent of Documents). The letters at the beginning of the SuDoc determine how they are shelved and classified. Here's an example (courtesy of Boston College):

SuDoc breakdown

A  Agriculture Department

J 1.14  Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

AE  National Archives & Records (NARA)

L  Labor Department

B 1  Broadcasting Board of Governors

L 2 Bureau of Labor Statistics

C  Commerce Department

L 35 Occupational Safety & Health Admin.

C 3  Census Bureau

LC  Library of Congress

C 55  Nat’l Oceanic & Atmospheric (NOAA)

LR  National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

CC  Federal Communications Comm. (FCC)

MS  Merit Systems Protection Board

CR  Civil Rights Commission

NAS  Nat’l Aeronautics & Space (NASA)

D  Defense Department

NCU  Nat’l Credit Union Administration

D 103  Engineers Corp (Army)

NF  Nat’l Foundation - Arts & Humanities

E  Energy Department

NMB  National Mediation Board

ED  Education Department

PREX  Executive Office of the President

EP  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

PREX 3  Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

FEM  Federal Emergency Mgmt. (FEMA)

PRVP  Vice President of the United States

FHF  Federal Housing Financing Board

S  State Department

FMC  Federal Maritime Commission

SBA  Small Business Administration

FT  Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

SE  Securities & Exchange Comm. (SEC)

GA  General Accountability Office (GAO)

SI  Smithsonian Institute

GP  Government Printing Office (GPO)

T  Treasury Department

GS  General Services Administration (GSA)

T 22  Internal Revenue Service

HE  Health & Human Services Department

T 70  Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATFB)

HE 20.3000 Nat'l Institutes of Health (NIH)

TD  Transportation Department

HE 20.6200 Nat’l Center for Health Statistics

VA  Veterans Affairs Department

HE 20.7000 Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

X  Congressional Record, House & Senate Journal

HH  Housing & Urban Development Dept.

Y 1  House and Senate as a whole

HS  Department of Homeland Security

Y 1.1/3  Senate Documents

I  Interior Department

Y 1.1/4  Senate Treaty Documents

I 19  Geological Survey

Y 1.1/7  House Documents

IC  Interstate Commerce Comm. (ICC)

Y 1.1/8  House Reports

IT  Interstate Trade Comm. (ITC)

Y 3  Commissions & Boards

J  Justice Department

Y 4  Congressional Committees