The Catholic University of America

Government Documents at DuFour Law Library

Frequently Asked Questions

    Gov Docs Finder   

Locating Microfiche

How do I locate microfiche/microfilm?

If you are looking for Congressional Hearings, Reports, or the Serial Set, use the Locating CIS Congressional Microfiche Guide to help you find the information you need to locate microfiche.  For the drawer location of microfilm or microfiche, use the Microform Finding Aid Binder found on the table as you walk in the door or on the brown stand.  This finding aid will show you what cabinet and drawer contains the microfiche or microfilm you need.

How do I use the Finding Aid?

It's easy!  The types of documents we have are listed alphabetically.  Simply look up the kind of document you want in the finding aid.  For example, if you are looking for a 2002 entry in the Congressional Record, you would look up Congressional Record in the Finding Aid.  The entry for Congressional Record, 2002 is followed by the number 3k.  This means that all 2002 Congressional Record fiche is located in cabinet 3, drawer K.  All cabinets and drawers are clearly marked for your convenience.

How is the microfiche organized in the drawers?

Different collections of microfiche are organized in different ways.  The best way to understand how items are filed is to look in the drawer.  Congressional microfiche from the 96th Congress to the present is arranged by SuDoc number.  Pre-1979 congressional materials are organized by CIS Assession number. 



Using Microform Readers

What if I don't know how to use the microform readers?

The Microfiche Reader Instructions are located in the binder next to the machines.  If you have additional questions, library staff will be happy to assist. 

Can I save or print information from microfiche?

Yes.  Both microfiche machines are attached to printers where you can print out fiche images.  The microfiche machines are also attached to computers which will allow you to save documents for later use.  Bring a USB drive to save your information.  You will not be able to email files to yourself.  Do not save anything to these computers; it will be erased when they are shut down.

How do I use the microfiche reader/computer set up to save images electronically?

Both microform reader/printers are connected to a computer that will allow you to save files to a USB drive.  Turn on the fiche viewer FIRST, then the computer. 

 The PC/Viewer/Printer Guide provides step-by-step instructions for scanning, printing, and saving copies of materials.  Print copies of this guide are also available in the drawer under the computer.


What do I do with the fiche or film I have finished using?

Please place film/fiche in the Used Fiche container located on the table on the far right of the microform reader-printers.  There is no need to refile the fiche yourself.



Using Computers and Online Resources

 How can I use the government documents computer?

The government documents computer is available to anyone using the depository collection.  The computer will allow you to access government websites only.  We ask that you restrict your computer use to 20 minutes if someone else is waiting.

How do I use ProQuest Congressional?

Access to the subscription-based LexisNexis Congressional database is available to CUA law students remotely or in the Law Library.  Members of the public may access ProQuest Congressional on the computer in the Government Documents Microfiche Room.  Refer to the ProQuest Congressional  Guide for additional instruction for this database. 

Why can't I access some of the online resources from home?

The Judge Kathryn J. DuFour Law Library subscribes to many databases; some of which require a username and password for off-campus access.  Non-students will be unable to access these databases from off-campus. As a federal depository, the library provides access to users from the GovDocs computer in room 330.  

Why can't I surf the internet on the GovDocs computer?

The GovDocs computer is meant to be used only for government information research.  Access on this computer is limited to educational, government and government-related websites.   If you require access to a .com website that includes legitimate government information, please contact library staff for assistance.



 Classification Systems

What is SuDoc Classification?

The Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) number is the call number scheme used in depository libraries for their Federal documents collections. Because this classification scheme arranges materials by the authoring agency and type of publication, a SuDoc number fielded search allows one to locate similar resources by an agency. At least up to the stem of the SuDoc number must be entered for the search to be executed properly. The stem includes the initial letters and numbers up to and including the colon (:). Be sure to insert a space between letters and numbers unless there is intervening punctuation. No spaces precede or follow symbols. Do not use quotation marks (" ") in a SuDoc field search. For example:

EP 1.2:B 74/2 retrieves the specific document: Read this if you plan to breathe this summer : advisory for those with asthma breathing problems and for children, older adults, and people who work outdoors.

EP 1.2: retrieves other general publications from the Environmental Protection Agency.


For a more information about the SuDoc classification system see An Explanation of the Superintendent of Documents Classification System and the GPO Classification Manual.


What are CIS Accession Numbers?

Congressional Information Service (CIS) uses this numbering system to organize congressional microfiche. Within each calendar year, accession numbers are assigned to publications according to the issuing body, and  by publication type within that body. 

Pre-1980 Hearings and Reports are organized by this classification system. Fiche are filed by year of publication then by CIS Accession number. 


What are Serial Set Idenficiation Numbers?

Serial Set ID numbers are assigned by CIS to organize all documents in the Serial Set. Pre-1970 serial set microfiche is organized by this numbering system. Drawers are arranged by Congress number. Fiche are filed by Congressional session then by Serial Set ID number.




For additional questions or concerns, contact Mary Strouse at 202-319-5547 or