Western Libraries

How to Locate/Request a U. S. Government Publications Microform

U. S. Government Publications in Microform 1970-1993

American government documents (1970 to 1980) are in Microprint format, located in Storage.  Ask staff for assistance if you wish to reproduce a microprint document. More recent documents are on Microfiche (1981 to early 1994), a format which can be scanned on the main floor microscanners.  Here are step-by-step instructions how to retrieve these microprints.

Microprint (1970-1980)

  • First go to the Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications, DBW govt Z1223.A18x. This is a large set of indexes bound in green.  Each year brings together twelve monthly catalogues, usually with Subject, Author, and Title indexes at the end (note: the volume may also include monthly indexes at the end of each of the first eleven parts).  Choose the appropriate index for your desired item; the index entry may look something like:

Japan - United States friendship act, 09202 (title index)   OR
Japan - United States friendship act – hearings, 09202 (subject index)

  • Note the monthly catalog number 09202. This an entry number is NOT a page number.
  • Turn to the monthly catalog entry which may appear as:

09202   Japan-United States friendship act, hearings, 93d Congress, 2d session on
S. 649, May 1-2, 1974. 1974. iii+115 p.    +    ●  Item 1039 
L.C. card 601953                                       Y 4.F 76/2 : J 27/4

Three important bits of information you need to retrieve the document are::

  • the date of the monthly catalog for this entry, e.g.: September 1974 
  • the entry number 09202 (the Monthly Catalog MC number)
  • the large black dot next to the Item number indicates this document is “Depository”, one which would be sent to all institutions designated as depository libraries in the United States. If you look up a document with no black dot that document is “Non-depository”, one which would not automatically sent to U.S. depository libraries.

Hearings from May of 1974 do not show up in the Monthly Catalog until September of that year.  If you don’t find a reference to a document in the year you think it should appear, check the following year or two. Serial publications are always printed the following year, so if you are looking for 1977 statistics from an annual or monthly publication, check the 1978 Monthly Catalogue

  • Ask staff for assistance. They will use the large black binder, located on the Quick Reference shelves at the far lower right, labelled Microprint Set Content Info.
  • Turn to the set tabbed "US Government Publications - Readex  US1 GP D26".
    In this binder are photocopies of the spines of all the boxes in this set.  Using the above information you’ll find the correct box label, which looks like this:


September 1974

Cat. Nos.

  • Also on the photocopy is a handwritten number which Staff require to locate the specific box of microprint.  The number in this example is 2626
  • Staff will send an email to Archives and Special Collections requesting the proper Readex box. The box will be retrieved from storage within 2 working days and held for you at the Service Desk in The D. B. Weldon Library.
  • The machine for reading microprint is located in the Microcopying area.  Ask staff for assistance.

There is the possibility that the correct box is brought out of storage, yet the document you want is listed as “Not Printed”.  In this case you will need to initiate an inter-library loan request for the document.

In 1976 the Monthly Catalog switched from listing numbers with the year in brackets following the number (e.g. 01543(75) to listing numbers with the year before the number (e.g. 78-12433).  January to June MC numbers are listed the old way (e.g. 01205(76)) and the July to December numbers are listed the new way (e.g. 76-1205).  Thus there may be two documents with the same number; the only difference is whether the year is in brackets or before a dash!

Microfiche (1981-[1994]):

Follow the same steps to determine the Monthly Catalog number and whether the document is Depository or Non-depository.
Staff will email Archives and Special Collections requesting the “Readex Microfiche” with the following information:

Using the CIS Indexes and Annuals:

The CIS, comprising a CIS Index Annual (or a CIS Five-Year Cumulative Index) and a CIS Annual (Part One: Abstracts), located at DBW govt KF49.C62x provide detailed indexing to hearings of U.S. congressional committees by subject, witness, and bill number.  (The acronym CIS stands for Congressional Information Service)

Using the same example as above:

  • Go to the CIS Five Year Cumulative Index, 1970-1974; the entry may look like:

Japan - US Friendship Fund, estab,
74 S381-22,  74 S383-19,  74 S383-20

  • Go to the  CIS Annual 1974 (Part One: Abstracts) (the bold 74 gives you the year of the Annual to use) and look up the CIS numbers from the Cumulative Index: S381-22, S383-19, or  S383-20.  The entry in the Annual looks like this:

May 1, 2, 1974.   93-2
iii+115 p.   †   CIS/MF/4
●  Item 1039     Y4.F76/2:J27/4
74-601953                09202(74)

Notice the black dot denoting the document is Depository.  The Monthly Catalog number is 09202(74) .

Some entries in the CIS Annual will not have the Monthly Catalog number in which case you will need to  look for the document in the Monthly Catalog.

  • Staff will assist in determining the box number to request.

The CIS microfiche collection for the years 1993 to the present is located at US7 CI C31, DBW govt mfiche .  If you need to use these documents use the Indexes and Annuals to get the CIS number and the year of the fiche.  The microfiche are located on the ground floor.