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Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County Maag Library

    Finding Government Information

Rules, Regulations,Reports, Research--government information affects our lives in many ways.  Health and safety issues, education, transportation, career choices, business and economic development, and environmental issues are just a few of the many areas in which government information can be useful. 

Since Maag Library and the Public Library are very different in terms of how their collections are arranged, refer  to the sections below for assistance in navigating through the information-seeking process. 

Internet information Public Library  Maag Library

Government Information on the Internet

Finding government information has never been easier!  There are thousands of official government agency web sites on the Internet.  Many agencies now publish reports directly to the Internet and no longer issue reports in print. 

This information is free and accessible to the public.  An Internet connection is required.  Both depository libraries provide Internet access. 

Due to the vast amount of information available on the Internet, it is recommended that you begin your search with a search engine that looks for information only on government web sites.  Some suggestions:

FDsys (Federal Digital System) (a search engine for government publications) (key agency web sites grouped by topics; sponsored by the Government Printing Office) (a new service provided by the government for one-stop web information access)

Using Maag Library's Government Documents Collection

Welcome to the world of government documents! Government publications can be a valuable resource for papers and research projects. They are timely, authoritative, and diverse--covering topics from business, energy, drug abuse, education and civil rights, to many other political, scientific, and social areas of study. Documents are published in ALL shapes and sizes as well as in a variety of formats--print, microfiche and electronic (CD-ROM and Internet).


About the Collection
A selective depository for federal documents since 1973, Maag Library currently receives about 48% of the publications available through the Federal Depository Library Program. Documents are selected which support YSU’s curricula, research, and programs as well as documents of general interest to residents of the 17th Congressional District.

Documents from the following departments and/or agencies are collected most heavily:

Commerce (especially Census Bureau) Energy
Labor Environmental Protection Agency
Congressional publications  Health and Human Services
Defense Justice
Education Interior

Our collection is located on the sixth floor and consists of over 300,000 documents in print, microfiche or CD-ROM. Maag Library is also a depository for selected Ohio documents. Public access is available to the latest information on the Internet such as federal regulations and census data.


Locating Government Documents

The best place to begin is by searching the library's online catalog--MaagNet.  Search by subject, author, title or keyword. MaagNet includes almost all of the documents currently held in our collection.  Many titles available on the Web now have a direct link in our online catalog. 

Finding older documents (those published prior to 1976) involves using print indexes such as the Monthly Catalog.    Our print holdings begin with 1948.  The Monthly Catalog is shelved in the Historical Research section of Government Documents.   This section is located after the Hearings (Y 4's).  For a complete listing of Maag's research resources, consult Finding Older (pre-1976) Documents.

The Monthly Catalog is also available in an electronic version:

HINT:  When searching any version of the Monthly Catalog, keep in mind the Maag Library is a 48% selective depository, which means that we may not have ALL the documents listed.  Be sure to check MaagNet to find out if Maag Library holds a specific title.


Finding Documents on the Shelf

Superintendent of Documents Classification System (SuDoc)
Government documents have their own unique identification system known as the Superintendent of Documents Classification System (SuDoc).

Helpful overviews of the SuDoc system:

The SuDoc system follows the organizational structure of the federal government. Publications are grouped according to departments or agencies (i.e. C for Commerce, L for Labor). Other letters and numbers are added to further identify bureaus, type of publication, series or title:

An actual SuDoc number may look something like this:

L 2.44:46/3

L = Department of Labor

L 2. = Bureau of Labor Statistics

L 2.44: = Compensation and Working Conditions

L 2.44:46/3 = Volume 46, issue no. 3 of Compensation and Working Conditions, a series
produced by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics

Resource lists for agency designations:

When using MaagNet, government documents in print are identified by the notation Govt Docs. Microfiche documents are identified by the term Micro Docs. Examples:

Govt Docs J 29.9/2:993 Criminal Victimization in the United States 1993

Maag Documents Floor 6 Govt Docs J 29.9/2:993 Check Shelves

Micro Docs A 93.21:1848 Estimating the Opportunity Cost of Unpaid Farm Labor

Maag Documents Floor 6 Micro Docs A 93:21 LIBRARY USE ONLY


OHIO Documents

Maag Library receives a variety of publications from state agencies such as the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

All of these documents are shelved at the very beginning of the collection on the 6th floor.  Ohio documents use a classification system beginning with O.  For example, OH is the designation for the Ohio Department of Health; OHS is Ohio Department of Human Services.

Many, but not all, Ohio documents are cataloged and can be found by searching MaagNet.   Most Ohio agencies are also publishing documents full text on their web sites.

For more information, consult Finding Ohio Documents.   Another helpful source is the Cumulative List of Ohio Publications issued by the Documents Department of the State Library.  A good place to begin is with the listing of departments and agencies on the State of Ohio web site.


Hours and Services

The collection is open for use during all Maag Library hours which includes Saturdays from 9:00 - 5:00 and Sundays from 1:00 - 9:00 during the regular academic sessions.  For current information regarding hours, see Maag's hours.

The documents librarian is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 - 5:00.   Contact Jan Schnall (330-742-3126) for more information.

Circulation policy

The collection is open for use by all residents of the 17th Congressional District, but borrowing material is limited to patrons who qualify for a library card or a Friends of Maag Library card.  Reference materials, such as Census data, must be used in the library.  The circulation policy of the Government Documents department reflects the general circulation policies of Maag Library.

Visit the Documents Collection on the sixth floor of Maag Library. For further information, consult Maag Library's Government Documents home page call (330)742-3126 or email the Documents Librarian.


Government Information at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County

Mission Statement

The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County seeks to educate the citizens of the 17th Congressional District, especially the residents of Mahoning County. Government documents provide part of the materials which the Public Library offers, including documents on health, the census, criminal justice, and government.

As a selective depository, the Public Library receives documents from the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), and it guarantees free access to these documents as required by law.  The library has been a depository since 1923, currently selecting approximately 28% of available documents.

The goal of the FDLP to have an informed citizenry is consistent with the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County's stated mission and Long Range Plan, 1999-2000.


About the Collection

A selective depository for federal documents since 1923, Youngstown Public Library currently receives about 28% of the publications available through the Federal Depository Library Program.  Documents are selected which will be of use to the residents of the 17th Congressional District.

Documents from the following departments and/or agencies are collected most heavily:

Commerce (especially Census Bureau) Justice
Health and Human Services Labor
Internal Revenue Service

Our collection is located in the Information Services Department on the second floor of the Main library.  The collection consists of documents in print, microfiche, and CD-ROM.  Youngstown Public Library is also a depository for selected Ohio documents.  In addition, our library offers an Internet terminal dedicated to government web sites as well as general Internet terminals that can be used to access government information.


Locating Government Documents 

Documents received by our library that are considered significant are cataloged for inclusion in the general Reference collection.  The library's online catalog may be checked for these titles.

The bulk of our government documents collection is not cataloged.  To find newer government documents when visiting the library, first search the Government Documents Catalog Service (GDCS), bookmarked as "GovDocs" on the personal toolbar of our Internet terminals.  GDCS is a subscription database of the Monthly Catalog with coverage from 1976 to the present.  (The Monthly Catalog  is a list of all government documents published.)

Once you have done a search, GDCS lists area holdings for each document, identifying the closest depository library that receives it.  GDCS is not available on the Internet; use the other government search engines listed above (see: Government Information on the Internet) to identify documents of interest when online.

Once you have identified pertinent documents, our librarians will check our collection to see if they are available.  For documents published prior to 1976, consult the Monthly Catalog in print, which our library has from 1899 to the present.

Please keep in mind that Youngstown Public Library is a 28% selective depository, which means we will not have all of the documents listed.  However, many newer documents are now available full text online and can be accessed through our Internet computers.


Finding Documents on the Shelf

Catalogued documents will be listed on Reuben, our online catalog, and shelved in the general Reference collection.  Uncataloged documents may be shelved in the Government Documents section on the second floor in SuDoc order. (For an explanation of the unique identification system known as SuDoc see: Understanding the Superintendent of Documents Classification System.

Some documents are only published as microfiche, shelved in our Periodical/Microform Center, or CD-ROMS, shelved in our Computer Center.  Due to space considerations, many of our documents are shelved in nonpublic areas but can be retrieved by staff.

Ohio documents are treated in the same manner as federal documents, with some being cataloged.  Those kept in the Government Documents section are shelved after the federal documents.  Federal and Ohio documents are reference only and must be used in the library.


Hours and Services

The collection is available for use from 9:00 - 9:00, Monday through Thursday, and from 9:00 - 5:30 on Friday and Saturday.  The library is closed on Sunday.  Internet computers close 15 minutes before the library closes.

All librarians in the Information Services Department can provide assistance with government documents.

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Questions or comments? E-mail  Kathy Richter (PLYMC), or Michele Mellor (PLYMC) .

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