Shipping Lists

  • Last Updated: April 01, 2024
  • Published: October 15, 2012

FDLP Data Manager (FDM) is available to download and query shipping lists back to 1997. Libraries may filter shipping list content by various parameters, including the library’s current item selection profile.

Shipping lists are an itemized list of publications mailed to libraries in their depository distribution boxes.  GPO staff members arrange the lists by item number. They include the Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) call number and titles for each entry on the list. Shipping lists are available online in .pdf, .csv, and in MS Word format (USGS Topographic Maps) going back to 1997 on  The .csv file has extra value in that data can be imported into a database or spreadsheet. Archived shipping lists are available for download from the file repository in .zip format by year and type.

Note: GPO does not tailor or customize shipping lists based on individual libraries' selection profiles. As a result, libraries receiving tangible publications will receive shipping lists that include titles of publications not shipped to their library and not selected by a library.

Each depository shipment box coming from GPO may include several shipping lists.

Using Shipping Lists

Use shipping lists to:

  • Determine that you received all selected publications
  • Identify any publications that were received in error
  • Identify any publications that you should have received but are missing and that require submission of a claim
  • Review any new item numbers on the shipping list and investigate if it is of value for your depository collection so that you can add it to your library’s item selection profile
  • Review any new individual titles that you may want for your collection that you may want to purchase
  • Find the online versions for tangible publications in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications or GovInfo

Please note that shipping lists may not be used in lieu of piece level accounting.

Types of Shipping Lists

There are five types of shipping lists:

Electronic (E) - Tangible electronic formats such as CD-ROMs and DVDs.

Microfiche (MF) - Tangible format of flat film.

Paper (P) - Tangible format such as books, pamphlets, and magazines.

Separates (S) - Separates material is usually large bound or unbound volumes, maps or posters in tubes, and oversized publications. Found in the boxes with regular shipments. However, the material on a separates shipping list is mailed in individual containers or envelopes. The shipping list number is printed on the mailing label of each package for identification.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) - USGS shipments of maps are sent in separate map shipments or boxes. A specific USGS shipping list accompany map shipments to selecting libraries.

Paper, electronic and separates shipments are mailed to your library directly from GPO. Microfiche and USGS shipments are mailed from a contractor.

Information Conveyed on Shipping Lists

Important information found on shipping lists include the:

  • Shipping list date and number.
  • A list of all the publications in a complete shipment.
  • Titles and series numbers of the publications.
  • SuDocs classification numbers.
  • “Ship short” information.
  • Item numbers.
  • Occasional notes, e.g., ‘error on publication’.

If a percent symbol (%) is found next to the title it means that the publication was shipped short and GPO cannot fulfill a claim for that item. Do not claim any publication with a % symbol.

Shipping List Numbers

The shipping list numbering sequence is based on fiscal year (October 1-September 30) and re-starts each October. A shipping list number includes the year, number, and format. For example, 2011-0463-P, with “p” standing for the paper items.


Claims should be made promptly (within 60 days) for any missing material. You can check Shipping Lists This Week to see which shipping lists are en route. You are not required to retain material received in error and should offer the material to your regional library or to GPO.

For more information on claiming materials, see Claims

Retention of Shipping Lists

Your library need not retain or maintain shipping lists after you have processed them and you have compared the contents of the shipment to the library's selection profile. Many depository libraries find it useful to retain shipping lists for approximately six months to ensure proper accounting of receipts.

GPO does not necessarily send shipping lists in exact order. As a result, many libraries maintain a shipping list log to ensure they have received all shipping lists. If you determined that you are missing a shipment you should claim it as soon as possible. For more information please see the instructions on Claiming Federal Publications.

WEBTech Notes

Libraries use WEBTech Notes in conjunction with shipping lists to identify changes in SuDocs call number, item numbers, new item numbers, and more.  If you have questions about the publications in your box or call numbers, please check WEBTech Notes first.

Note: If you are a library that does not select tangible publications or if you do not have any item numbers on your item selection profile, you can request to stop receiving shipping lists in printed format. Contact the Federal Depository Support Services to stop receiving shipping lists.