Skip to main content
BGSU University Libraries

Government Information: Where Are the Documents?

Access to Government Documents

As a Federal Depository Library, the Bowling Green State University Libraries provide free access for the general public to the U.S. government publications collection, including through online resources. By using a community user accessible computer, the general public can view both online and locally held government information for free during all hours the Library is open.

Federal depository resources are available and usable for all library customers regardless of library affiliation, disability, age, residency, or other customer status.  Any member of the general public may use depository resources in all formats at a Federal depository library free of charge and without impediments.

For more information or assistance identifying and accessing government documents, contact the Research and Information  Desk on the first floor of Jerome Library. For contact information ,see the Ask Us! page.

Where Is the Print Collection?

Most government documents that are available in a tangible format, such as a book, pamphlet, CD, DVD, microfiche, microfilm, map, or poster, are found at the rear of the 1st floor in Jerome Library. A few are housed at the Northwest Ohio Regional Book Depository. See the Accessing Documents at the Depository box, on this page, for information about how to obtain those materials.

Accessing Documents From Our Off-Site Storage Facility

Some older, lesser-used government documents, or documents that are in poor condition, are housed at the Northwest Ohio Regional Book Depository in Perrysburg, Ohio. People with a BGSU ID, or who have a Courtesy Card, can request any of these items by clicking on the green Request Item button at the top of the BGSU Libraries catalog record for that document and then following the directions.

Everybody who wishes to use government documents that are housed at the Depository, including those who don't have a BGSU ID or a Courtesy Card, can use government documents in the Reading Room at the Northwest Ohio Regional Book Depository. The Depository is open Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm. Because safety regulations require that all materials at the Depository must be retrieved by Depository employees, anybody planning to go to the Depository is strongly advised to call first to arrange access to the desired government documents.

The Depository, which is located in the BGSU building at Levis Commons, may be contacted at:

1655 N. Wilkinson Way; Perrysburg, OH



Another option for people who don't have either a BGSU ID or a Courtesy Card, but still want to use government documents, is to request the documents through their public library's interlibrary loan service. The public library would be able to borrow the documents from either the BGSU Libraries or from another Federal Depository Library.

Call Numbers for Ohio Government Documents

Ohio publications are arranged by the Ohio Documents Classification Scheme, a system that was modeled after SuDocs. All Ohio publications began with the letter O followed by letters and numbers designating the publishing department or agency.

For Example:

  • OAT     Ohio Attorney General
  • OED     Ohio Department of Education
  • ONR     Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Accessing Online Government Documents

Most current government documents are available full text online. These are freely available from any computer with an Internet connection, whether it is on- or off-campus. To retrieve the full text, click on the Connect To Full Text link in the BGSU Libraries catalog record:

Using Online Documents In University Libraries for Those Not BGSU Students, Faculty, or Staff

The University Libraries provides many computers. Most require a BGSU logon, but the MACs immediately in front of the central staircase on the first floor are freely available to any library user and do not require a logon.

Guests who prefer to use their own device can register to use a limited time guest account or a sponsored guest account to access the BGSU wireless network on their laptop, tablet, or other mobile device. For more information about these accounts and how to register for them, see

Call Numbers for U.S. Government Documents

sudoc breakdown

(Image courtesy of Boston College)

Federal publications are arranged on the shelf by an alphanumeric system called the Superintendent of Documents Classification Scheme (SuDocs). Letters stand for the publishing agency, for instance

  • A for Agriculture
  • C for Commerce
  • L for Labor
  • Pr for President
  • and so forth

The numbers on the top line of the call number file differently than the Dewey or LC collections. The number following the period is a whole number NOT A DECIMAL.

C 3.9 nine files before
C 3.44 .forty-four, which files before
C 3.223 .two hundred-twenty-three

For more details about the numbering system, click on: