About Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, 1895-1976

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 here:


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.

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What's New [March 2010]

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.

Numerous corrections to the data have also been incorporated in this update. Many thanks to the users who have assisted in this by identifying and reporting errors. Although the accuracy of the data has been significantly improved in this release, there are likely to be some remaining errors: if you come across any, please get in contact with us via the "Contact Us" link.

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What's New [December 2008]

The Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, 1895-1976 is now complete. In the latest release all remaining content for the years 1895 to 1955 was completed, adding 800,000 new entries and scanned catalog images for over 700 monthly issues.

In addition, the Monthly Catalog now supports inbound and outbound OpenURL linking. If your institution employs a link resolver, you can enable outbound OpenURL linking from records in the Monthly Catalog on the Search Results and Full Record pages. This will allow users to follow links from entries to a link resolver such as Article LinkerTM in order to locate full text or physical holdings for the item. The Monthly Catalog link resolver provides support to enable third-parties to link into the product at the item level. The product performs a search based on the meta-data provided in OpenURL format. (This is sometimes known as "fuzzy inbound" linking). The link resolver supports selected syntax from both versions 0.1 and 1.0 of the OpenURL standard.

Information about enabling linking is available to library administrators under Information Resources.

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Status and Known Issues [December 2008]

ProQuest's online edition of the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, 1895-1976 launched in June of 2008. The database currently contains all issues from January 1895 to June 1976, including scanned images from catalog numbers 1-977 and over 1.2M entries.

While all of the planned content for this digital edition of the Monthly Catalog is now complete, the complexity of the Monthly Catalog presented a number of challenges in the digitization process and is still a work in progress. From time to time you may encounter data issues such as the following:

  1. Some entries which are not perfectly fielded, such as a publication date which also contains the place of publication.
  2. Incorrect zoning of entries when viewed on screen. On the Monthly Catalog Image Page the user can mouse over any entry. A box around the entry will appear and link to the keyed record for that entry. In a few cases the zoning around an entry was mistakenly extended to an adjoining entry, making it difficult to link to a corresponding entry. Any of these entries can be found by searching by Monthly Catalog number and Entry number.
  3. While every page of the Monthly Catalog has been keyed to an accuracy rate of 99.95%, there will be some typographical errors, particularly in entries that are cramped or otherwise difficult to read.
  4. Sometimes information that was prefaced at the beginning of a series entry ("The following entries ...") will be missing from the individual entries themselves. For example, an entry may reference a volume but miss the corresponding series title that would have appeared at the top of the list, or specific information about availability, or date of publication.

We intend to address all of these issues over time, and begin providing links to online full text documents. However, if you have concerns or wish to notify us about any issues you may encounter, please get in contact with us via the "Contact Us" link.

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