StaffGuide: Cataloging and Acquisitions

Access Points - Government Document Numbers



It is important to remember that government document numbers are indexed in InfoLinks and that patrons may search with a document number. International, federal (United States agencies) and state documents all have numbering systems. The InfoLinks index for these numbers is called Gov Docs Numbers in the WebPAC and GOVT DOC # in the text version of InfoLinks. Therefore, when cataloging government documents, be aware that these numbers should be added to the bibliographic records if the government document number field is not present. Although the cataloging department is not now responsible for cataloging federal documents, there are some titles which have been removed from the usdoc collection into one of the Library of Congress call number collections and it may be necessary to edit or add the document number to the bibliographic record. Examples include some serials and analytics for the United States Dept. of Agriculture titles published by the forestry divisions. In addition, the department should soon assume responsibility for cataloging the Arkansas state documents.


To search a document number in the database maintenance module, use “g” followed by the document number. To retrieve the matching record, spaces and punctuation should be exactly typed; for example:

  What BIBLIOGRAPHIC record do you want to update? (RETURN if done)

    Record: gLC 1.2:B 64/9

If you do not have the exact number, the system will retrieve the nearest match and present a menu screen.


Use either the full screen edit or insert mode to add the government document number field.

To insert, type the “i” command and at the: Tag of new field? _ prompt, type “g”
The system will respond with this prompt: GOVT. DOC# MARC tag 086
If the document is federal (US), the first indicator should be 0 (zero), type over the 086 and add another zero before pressing the enter key: 0860
If the document is from any other government agency, simply press the enter key (first indicator is a blank). At the GOVT. DOC# Key new data prompt, type in the document number using exact spacing and punctuation. If the document number is not federal (US), add |2 and give the agency code.
[NOTE: The source of classification code list is online at:]

In full screen edit, simply use the control n command to add a new field and type the 086 and either blank or 0 (zero) and the correct document number and |2, if needed.

Finally, when finishing the edit session, use the appropriate commands to quit and make the change permanent.

Examples of document number fields:

086 0   Y 4.L 61/2:C 76/ (US federal document)

086      HI.F 3/25-7: m 5/no.|2ardocs (Arkansas document)

086      E/CN.5/379|2undocs (United Nations document)


The type of call number used is determined by the location. Locations which will have a usdoc call number are: usdoc, usdfc, usdma, usdod, and usdov. Because the location should have been assigned before the materials are brought to cataloging for retrospective work or for cataloging, it should be apparent when the call number is a government document number. If the document also has a usdoc call number (the number on the spine label) identical to the government document number, the call number must be entered using the insert method to edit bibliographic records. If this procedure is not followed, the system will not index the call number in the correct call number index.

To insert a call number which is identical to the government document number, type the “i” command at the prompt; and, at the: Tag of new field? _ prompt, type “c”
The system will respond with this prompt: CALL # MARC tag 090
Type 086 over the 090 field. This is very important. If you omit this step, the call number will not be indexed correctly.

After changing the MARC tag to 086, press the enter key.
At the CALL # Key new data prompt, type in the document number using exact spacing and punctuation.
Finally, when finishing the edit session, use the quit command and make the change permanent.

If the call number (spine label number) is in any other classification, simply add or edit according to other cataloging procedures.


1/10/02 clc