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How to Read Call Numbers

Perplexed about how to find the books and other material you need after you get the call number? This guide can help!

Where are SuDoc Call Numbers Located?

SuDoc call numbers appear in many different locations in the WSU Pullman campus libraries. Many of them are on the 3rd floor of Holland and Terrell Library, as well in the Holland Microforms room in the form of microfiche and microfilm.

They also appear on the 3rd floor of the Owen Science libraries. Many maps issued by the Army or other agencies have government document call numbers.

SuDoc Numbers on the Shelf

How to Read SuDoc Call Numbers

SuDoc stands for "Superintendant of Documents." This type of call number is applied to federal (government-produced) documents. Instead of being arranged by subject (like LC and Dewey call numbers), SuDoc numbers arrange documents by the agencies that produce them. For example, A stands for Agriculture, while T stands for Treasury.

Here is an example of a SuDoc call number:

SuDoc call number

Agency classification.
When you locate a SuDoc number in Holmes, documents are first filed by the agency classification letter. The periods between numbers are not decimal points.  Numbers to the left and to the right of the period are treated as whole numbers. For example, the following documents are arranged in the correct order:

D 1.2:
D 1.13:
D 1.33:
D 1.105:

Years, Letters and Numbers to the right of the colon.
If the call number is the same up until the colon and then varies, the correct order  after the colon is Years, Letters, then Numbers. For example, the following documents are arranged in the correct order:

EP 1.23: 998 ("998" represents the year 1998; after 2000 years include the full four digits.)
EP 1.23: A-62 (The letter "A" comes after the year 1998.)
EP 1.23: 91-44 ("91" is a number so it is filed last.)

If call numbers are the same up until the colon except for a slash, the correct order is un-slashed then slashed. In other words, numbers without slashes come before numbers with slashes.  For example, the following are listed in the correct order:

C 51. 11: EN 8/995 (Letters before Numbers)
C 51. 11: 23 (Numbers after Letters)
C 51. 11/8: 995-96 ("Slashes" after "No Slashes")

Shelf Order
The following are also listed in the correct order:

HE 20.6520: P92 (After the colon, Letters before Numbers)
HE 20.6520: 3 (After the colon, Numbers after Letters)
HE 20.6520/2: AC9/2 (Slashed numbers after Unslashed)
HE 20.6520/2: 17 (Numbers after Letters)

(The above text was taken from a Boston College library page)

SuDoc Classification

Government Documents are arranged by the producing government agencies. For example, if a SuDoc number begins with an ED, you know that the document is produced by the Department of Education.

A (Agriculture)
AE (Archives)
C (Commerce)
C3 (Census Bureau)
C 13 - C 63 (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
CC (Communications Commission)
CR (Civil Rights)
D (Defense)
E (Energy)
ED (Education)
EP (Environment)
FCA (Farm Credit)
FM (Mediation and Conciliatory Service)
FMC (Maritime)
FR (Federal Reserve)
GA (General Accountability Office)
GP (Government Printing Office)
GS (General Services Admin)
HE (Health and Human Services)
HH (Housing and Urban Development)
HS (Homeland Security)
I (Interior)
J (Justice)
JU (Federal Courts)
L (Labor)
LC (Library of Congress
LR (Labor Relations Board)
MS (Merit System Protection)
NC (National Capital Planning)
NCU (National Credit Union)
NF (National Foundation Arts and Humanities)
NMB (National Mediation Board)
NS (National Science Foundation)
OP (Overseas Private Investment)
P (Postal Service)
PE (Peace Corps)
PM (Personnel Management)
PR (White House)
PREX (Executive Office)
PRVP (Office of VP)
S (State Department)
SBA (Small Business Admin)
SI (Smithsonian)
SSA (Social Securtiy)
T (Treasury)
TD (Transportation)
VA (Veterans Affairs)
XY (Congressional Publications)
Y 3 - Y 10 (Independent Commissions)|

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