Superintendent of Documents Classification Guidelines
Background and General Instructions
The SuDoc (Superintendent of Documents) classification system is designed specifically for Federal documents. It has been used by GPO to classify documents for over a century and continues to be developed as the Federal Government grows and changes. The unique feature of this system is the grouping together of publications of any Federal Government author, the various departments, bureaus, and agencies being considered authors. In the grouping, the organizational structure of the Federal Government is followed: subordinate bureaus and divisions are grouped with the parent organization. The class number consists of the class stem (representing the issuing agency) and the individual numbers, letters, characters, etc. following the class stem which represent individual publications. Each publication must have its own unique SuDoc number. (Different formats of the same publication may have the same SuDoc number.) SuDoc classes are recorded in the 086 field: subfield “a” is for the SuDoc number, used by GPO, and subfield “z” is for canceled/invalid/incorrect SuDoc numbers.
When entering or modifying SuDoc numbers in the 086 field, follow the General Number Spacing Policies as described in Bibliographic Cataloging: Monographs Overview. In the past, lower case letters were used in SuDocs. When updating a record which follows this old practice, always capitalize the letters in the SuDoc as well as correcting any spacing issues.
Subfield “z” is used when making class corrections. This subfield should be used when the SuDoc number was incorrectly assigned (e.g. the wrong agency stem was used) or incorrectly recorded (e.g. a transcription error was made by the cataloger). The incorrect class is entered in the ǂz and the new, correct class is entered in ǂa. A WebTech Note will also be published for class corrections made to tangibly distributed publications (i.e., to those on a shipping list). WebTech Notes are not published for class corrections made to online (remote electronic) records (i.e., for publications on a web site). WebTech Notes are not published for class corrections made to tangible publications that are not distributed (i.e., to those not on a shipping list, also known as C&I or “Format not distributed to depository libraries”). Subfield ǂz is repeated for multiple canceled or invalid classification numbers. Subfield “z” is used for classes that were assigned/recorded in error; it is not used for class changes that result from agency reorganizations.
When the SuDoc number for a title has changed due to agency reorganizations, each correct SuDoc number is listed in a separate 086 ǂa. The 086 fields are recorded in the order of oldest number to the most current.
Examples of a serial record (OCLC *1640226) containing three correct SuDoc numbers:
The SuDoc number for an open multipart should end with a slash in the catalog record. The volume or part numbers are not included in the 086 field. However, for a complete or closed multipart record, the volume information may be added to the SuDoc number if known (example: A 45.3:A 56/V.1-15). Multiparts which contain multiple 086 fields, one for each part (as part of a numbered series, etc.) are an exception to these rules.
Serials and Integrating Resources
In most cases for serials and integrating resources, only the SuDoc class stem is recorded. This means recording the class up to the colon. In certain cases, such as in the Y 3 classes or with discontinued serials, additional elements, such as a number or cutter, are recorded after the colon. A cuttered SuDoc number for a serial should end with a slash in the catalog record.
Examples of SuDoc numbers for serials:
For more details on SuDoc numbers in serials, see: Bibliographic Cataloging: Serials: 086 – SuDoc Number, and: Bibliographic Cataloging: Serials: Replacement of Monograph Records with a Serial Record..