The University of San Francisco: Gleeson Library
Library with Yellow Flowers
Center for Research Libraries
Ask A Librarian

About the Collection


USF's Collection

The majority of government documents in the library are U.S. Government documents received through the Federal Depository Library Program.  Gleeson Library | Geschke Center is a selective depository and one of about 1,250 federal depository libraries throughout the nation.  The library was designated a Federal Depository Library in 1963. The Government Documents depository collection serves California's 8th Congressional District.

Local, regional, state, federal, international intergovernmental organization, and foreign government documents are cataloged and shelved throughout the library.  Many federal documents that are legal in nature are cataloged and housed at the USF School of Law Library

What is a Government Document?

A government document is informational matter issued, published, or financed by a government agency. Government produced information comes in many formats -- printed paper, microfiche, audiovisual materials, CD-ROMs, diskettes, and electronic only via the Internet.


As a Federal Depository Library, the Government Documents collection is open to the USF community and the general public. See Hours at Gleeson Library | Geschke Center and the School of Law Library.

Arrangement in the Government Documents Room

A Documents Reference section comprised of major indexes and bibliographies is located at the front of the stacks in the Government Documents room.  Many other major government documents of a reference nature are cataloged and shelved in the Reference Department stacks. 

Federal documents in the Government Documents room are arranged and classified with the Superintendent of Documents, or SuDocs, classification system. This is different from the rest of the library.  Examples of SuDocs are: A 1.68:341 and C 61.28/2:991.  The letters and numbers represent government departments or agencies, types of publications, and individual titles and allow for systematic arrangement of federal documents by government department or agency.   This allows, therefore, for browsing by issuing department or agency but not usually by subject. (For prefixes of some of the agencies that might interest you, see this chart from California State University, Los Angeles.)

Locating Government Documents and Information

Documents located outside of the Documents room in shelving locations such as Reference, Periodicals, and Law Stacks are cataloged in Ignacio, USF Libraries online catalog. Among the publications housed in the Government Documents room, documents in paper format received since 1997, almost all CD-ROMs and diskettes, and microfiche received since 1999 are cataloged for Ignacio. Previously uncataloged documents, such as maps and older documents, are gradually being cataloged for Ignacio.

Several catalogs and specialized indexes exist for government documents research. Several are shelved in Government Documents Reference and Government Documents Stacks. For more detailed information, refer to Locating government documents.

Circulation Policy

Most documents may be borrowed by authorized library borrowers. For check out, please take selections to the Circulation Desk.

Documents which are Library Use Only include: Documents stamped LIB USE ONLY, Documents Reference, selected CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs, and microfiche.


A map cabinet in the Government Documents room contains maps from the Government Documents collection, including California topographic maps, and from the Reference and Research Services Department.


Most government documents on CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, or diskette are available at the library Circulation Desk.  Search in Ignacio for location Documents Media Circ Desk.  Some recent reference sources on CD-ROM or DVD-ROM are in the Reference and Research Services Department and are library use only.

Tax Forms and Information

Every January through April, the Government Documents Department provides tax forms, instructions, and publications to the USF and neighboring communities.  The forms are available immediately inside the door to the library. 

Tax information is also available on the Internet.

Citing Government Information

For a list of resources to assist you in citing information found in government publications or online, see the following resource guide: Citing Government Information

Collection Development Policy

For more information about the scope of the collection and the services provided, please refer to the Collection Development Policy.


If you need assistance, please ask the Reference and Research Services Department staff in the library, call (415) 422-2039 for the library Reference Desk, or email

If we do not have the document you are looking for, we would be happy to help you search to see which other depository libraries have it or if it is available on the Internet.