The Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications, 1895-1976 was established by the Printing Act of January 12, 1895. It is issued each month by the Superintendent of Documents for the Government Printing Office, and catalogs all publications of the United States government, including those of the Congress and all executive departments (with the exception of administrative and confidential or restricted documents). The government prints thousands of documents each year, and many of these are sent to depository libraries.
Records for all publications since July 1976 have been available online at the GPO's website, but earlier issues have generally only been available in print or on microfilm. This online version will make all issues of the Monthly Catalog from 1895 to June 1976 available online, both as keyed full text records and as page images of the original printed catalog.
Issues of the Monthly Catalog up to June 1976 are arranged alphabetically by department or issuing agency. Publications sent to depository libraries are identified, and the record for each publication includes two or more identification numbers. The entry number for each item (together with the year) allows it to be located within the catalog. These are a simple numeric series with the first item appearing in the January catalog each year being number 1. Each item is also given a Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) classification number. This is a unique identifier for each publication which begins with an alphabetic identifier for the issuing department. More information about SuDoc classification can be found on the GPO website.
Where relevant, Library of Congress card numbers or other identifiers are also included in the record.
Each issue also includes an index, and these indexes are also reproduced in the online Monthly Catalog both as keyed text and as scanned page images. From 1974 separate title, author and subject indexes were included.
The online Monthly Catalog makes it much easier to locate government documents. Researchers can search for keywords across all issues or during a specific period, find documents by individual or corporate author, or search any of the other fields included in the records. Each issue can be browsed chronologically from the Browse tab, and many of the fields including Title, Author and SuDoc number can be browsed from the Search screen.
The Monthly Catalog is a finding aid only, and does not include full text for any of the publications included. However, it is intended that in future links will be included to digitized government documents elsewhere.
The Monthly Catalog list of results can now be sorted by Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) classification number. Sorting by SuDoc number will group search results by government author and present them in the order in which documents will be shelved in most depository libraries.
In addition, a new option has been added to the search page to facilitate searching for, or limiting searches to, a specified range of SuDoc numbers.
September 13, 2010