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Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 8 months ago

Back to 1900s


In 1903 the Superintendent of Documents developed a classification system to deal the with the increasing number of documents created by the federal government. This system, known as SuDoc, is based on the theory of provenance, which dictates that documents are grouped by their producing government agencies. This differs greatly from Dewey's classification system and that of the Library of Congress, which group materials based on the subjects covered by each information package.


Each agency within the United States government has been assigned an alphabetical designation, such as "A" for Agriculture, "C" for Commerce, and "D" for Defense ("X" and "Y" have been reserved for publications of the Senate and the House of Representatives). Within each agency, each bureau, office and subdivision is also assigned a numerical designator and a decimal number can even futher narrow the production responsibility of a document to a specific office or working group.


An exampleof this notation is C 55.100. This number can be found on all documents produced by the National Weather Service (NWS) and reflects the fact that the NWS falls under the responsibility of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration which ultimately falls under the reponsibility of the Department of Commerce. In addition to designating provenance, SuDoc notation also includes references to publication numbers and the date of publication for every document it classifies.


See also, Federal Depository Library Program


Anne Rauh


Back to 1900s Libraries and government

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