Federal documents are arranged by the U.S. Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) Classification System based on the issuing government agency.
For example, the SuDocs number for the Department of Justice begins with "J" and "ED" identifies documents from the Department of Education.
Federally produced documents are classified by a SuDocs--or Superintendent of Documents--call number. This number can be short and sweet, or long and meandering. You will find the call numbers depicted horizontally (in the above examples) in the library's online catalog and depicted vertically (as you will see in the quiz below) on the actual item's call number label. Taking the call number one step at a time, they are categorized and filed alphabetically by the agency that produces the document. This differs from the Dewey Decimal system or the Library of Congress / LC system (both used by Booth Library) which are both subject-oriented classification systems. Another characteristic of SuDocs call numbers is that they include punctuation marks not seen in Dewey or LC.
[1.] the class stem includes all letters and numbers before the :colon. The class stem tells you who published the document, for example, 'A' for the Department of Agriculture, 'C' for the Commerce Department or 'D' for Defense Department.
[2.] the book number includes everything after the :colon. The book number details information about whether it is a monograph (a one-time publication) or part of a series, and the publication date or the year of congress it was developed.
For the title Obamacare Implementation: Sticker Shock of Increased Premiums for Healthcare Coverage with a call number of Y 4 .G74/7:113-78.
Before the colon
Y 4 is the issuing agency--the House and Senate Committee hearings
.G74/7: is a subcommittee, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
After the colon, the publication date is expressed as a year (or the number of the Congressional session under which it was created); and a series number.
113 denotes the one hundred thirteenth Congress during which the hearing originated
-78 is the series number (which would be followed by 113-79, 113-80, etc., if more hearings in the same series were published during the 113th congress).*