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Category Classes

Category classes are reserved for those types of publications most commonly issued by Federal agencies. Use the following numbers when establishing new classes.

Category classes most frequently used:

.1 Annual reports 
.2 General publications
.8 Handbooks, manuals, and guides
.11 Maps and charts
.12 Posters

Category classes less frequently used:

.3 Bulletins
.4 Circulars
.5 Laws
.6 Regulations, rules, and instructions
.7 Press releases
.9 Bibliographies and lists of publications
.10 Directories
.13 Forms
.14 Addresses

Most Frequently Used Category Classes

.1 - Annual reports

The Annual reports category is reserved for the annual report of the department, agency, bureau, or office as a whole. Do not include annual reports on projects or on specific subjects; these should have separate classes elsewhere:

Annual reports may be issued by subordinate offices for which classification numbers have not been assigned. In that case, a new class should be established using the .1 reserved class for the parent agency:

.2 - General publications

The General publications category includes unnumbered publications of a miscellaneous nature. The publications are typically one-time publications that do not fit into any established series or into any of the other categories, and there is no indication that the publications will be issued on a regular basis.

The General Publications category should be the last consideration for a publication, rather than the starting point for determining a class number.

.8 - Handbooks, manuals, and guides

Handbooks, manuals, and guides differ from regulations, rules, and instructions in that they do not have the force of law. They may include helpful information on any subject:

To qualify for the Handbooks, manuals, and guides category, the words ‘handbook’, ‘manual’, ‘guide’, or ‘how to’ are generally part of the document title.

Historically, these publications were included in the Regulations, rules, and instructions class. Beginning in the 1950s, new classes were established and handbooks, manuals, and guides were no longer included in the Regulations, rules, and instructions class. 

A basic manual or other publication may be issued infrequently, but if the publication has continuing transmittals, revised plates, or frequent change sheets, the manual should have a separate class. This class should be established when a new edition of such a publication is received for classifying. When the issuing agency changes before a new basic manual is issued, do not reclass the changes. 

A manual which was formerly printed and distributed in paper may now be online only, and updates may be made continuously as needed. In those cases, the manual is catalogued and classified as a continuing resource. See Continuing Resources for more detailed guidance.

.11 - Maps and Charts

The Maps and Charts category is for cartographic materials, e.g. those that represent a planetary surface in a two-dimensional form.

I 53.11:AR 4 I/4/2016    Arizona Strip visitor map

See the article on Cartographic Resources for more detailed classification guidance.

.12 - Posters

A poster is a single sheet with material printed on one side only. It may include photographs and announcements and is usually intended to be hung for display.

Less Frequent Category Classes

The following category classes are used infrequently or found on older publications.

.3 - Bulletins

Bulletins are usually named and numbered by the offices issuing them. Assign this class only if the word 'Bulletin' appears on the title page, cover, etc.

.4 - Circulars

Circulars are usually numbered by the offices issuing them. Assign this class only if the word 'Circular' appears on the title page, cover, etc.

.5 - Laws

The Laws category is reserved for publications which contain the text of Federal law that is administered by the agencies issuing the publications. A publication which explains only parts of law or discusses the contents of laws should not be included in the Laws class; those publications may be classified as regulations under the law (Regulations, rules, and instructions class) or as guides to understanding a law (Handbooks, manuals, and guides class). An overall description of a law or a compilation of laws may be classified under General publications (.2).

.6 - Regulations, rules, and instructions

The Regulations, rules, and instructions category contains information on agency requirements which have the force of law. The information may refer to the operation of an agency or to outside activities under an agency’s jurisdiction. There is no separate category class for decisions and orders; those should be assigned their own separate classes. Some decisions and orders were previously classed with Regulations, rules, and instructions, and with laws.

.7 - Press releases

The Press releases category includes agency announcements issued for news media. The publications may or may not have the word release or news on them. Press interviews, statements to the press, and news conferences with reporters should be included in the Press releases class, together with the usual releases on various subjects.

Speeches, remarks, and addresses given before audiences are often issued as news releases; these should be classified individually in the Addresses class (.14) for the agencies releasing the information.

.9 - Bibliographies and Lists of Publications

The Bibliographies and Lists of Publications category includes all bibliographies without regard to subject or coverage, as well as lists of publications issued by an agency or bureau. Annual or other periodic lists of publications with consistent titles should be classed in separate classes and not be included in a category class.

.10 - Directories

The Directories category is restricted to those publications that include the word 'directory' in the title.

.13 - Forms

The Forms category is reserved for publications that contain forms or instructions on how to complete forms. If the publications include other textual material also, they should be classed somewhere else, most likely in General publications. Do not use the Forms class when the publication includes other textual material, even if a form number is printed on the title page. Before this category class was established in the latter part of 1985, forms were treated differently. The department, bureau letters, and numbers were assigned in the regular manner, and were followed by the word ‘form’, a colon, the identification numbers and/or letters printed on the form. When classifying revisions or new editions of these forms, follow current practice.

.14 - Addresses

The Addresses category includes addresses, lectures, speeches, remarks, statements, papers, etc., which were delivered before groups of people. This category may have different titles in classes for different agencies, but the content of the category is the same, regardless of the title. Though addresses may be issued as news releases, they are classified as Addresses, not as press releases. However, do not include statements to the press, press conferences, or interviews in the Addresses class.


Superintendent of Documents Classification Guidelines

Introduction to the Classification Guidelines
The Classification System: A Brief History
Structure of the Classification Number
Sorting in SuDocs Order
Example of a SuDocs Sort
Class Stems
Letter Author Symbols
New Agency Classes
Joint Publications from Different Agencies
Publications Prepared by One Agency for Another
Serials with Changing Publishers
Joint Publications Issued in Series
Subordinate Offices
First and Second Levels
Assignment of Classes
Third and Fourth Levels
Joint Publications from Different Subagencies
Name Changes and Reorganizations
Category Classes
Most Frequently Used Category Classes
.1 - Annual reports
.2 - General publications
.8 - Handbooks, manuals, and guides
.11 - Maps and Charts
.12 - Posters
Less Frequent Category Classes
.3 - Bulletins
.4 - Circulars
.5 - Laws
.6 - Regulations, rules, and instructions
.7 - Press releases
.9 - Bibliographies and Lists of Publications
.10 - Directories
.13 - Forms
.14 - Addresses
Cutter Numbers
Cutter Table and Its Use
Filing Order for Cutter Numbers
Slash Numbers
Selecting Cutter Words
Words to Avoid when Cuttering
Sets With a Collective Title
Foreign Language Editions
Numbers in Titles
Cuttering Acronyms and Initialisms
Cuttering: Geographic Topics
Cuttering Related Documents Covering the Same Subject but Different
General Subjects and Geographic Terms
Cuttering Geographic Terms Using Personal Names
Cuttering Multi-Part Geographic Names
State Cutter Numbers
State Cutter Numbers Table
Additions to Book Numbers
Year Format
Dates for Revised Editions
Punctuation in Dates or Date Ranges
Volume, Part, Chapter, and Section Numbers
Volume Number and Date: Which Comes First?
Volume Number Followed by Date
Date Followed by Volume Number
Words and Abbreviations
Foreign-language Publications
Multiple Word Phrases in a Suffix
Multiple Versions of a Publication
Corrected Copies of Numbered Volumes
Standard Abbreviations and Words
State Abbreviations
Classes by Publication Type
Preliminary, Initial, Draft, and Final Reports
Preprints and Separates
Summaries and Executive Summaries
Electronic Products
Sets with Multiple Publication Types
Monographic Series
Identifying a Monographic Series
Assigning New Series Classes
Series Related to Existing Classes by Subject
Structure of the Series Class
Departmental Series vs. Bureau Series
Series Book Numbers
Series Numbering
Unusual Series Numbering
Series Numbering and Revised Editions
Numbering system changes
Two series on one publication
Series number vs. Agency control number
Letters and Phrases Appearing on Publications
Volumes, Parts, or Sections
Publications Which Are Not Serials or Series
Multipart Monographs versus Series
Other Situations
Continuing Resources
Identifying a Continuing Resource
Integrating Resources
Assigning New Continuing Resource Classes
Works Related to Category Classes
Works Related to Existing Classes by Subject
New Classes to Reflect Changes for Existing Serials
Serials within Series: Separate Class Approach
Serials with a Constant Series Number
Cuttering a Serial or, When Not to Establish a New Class Stem for a Serial
Serials within Series: Cuttering Approach
Publications of Short Duration
Other cases for Cuttering
Serials Designation
Number 1 for First Month Appears Annually
Date incorporated in Series Number
Volume and Number
Annual Publications
Semiannual Publications
Publications Issued Three or More Times a Year
Variations in Publication Cycles
Release Date vs. Coverage Date
Special Issues of Serials
Frequently Revised Monographs Cataloged as Serials
Presidential Publications
Presidential Committees and Commissions
Presidential Commissions vs Presidential Initiatives
Permanent Agencies Reporting to the President
Vice President of the United States
Congressional and Legislative Branch Publications
Y 4. - Congressional Committee Publications
Constructing the Committee Designation
Reorganized Committees and Name Changes
Y 4. Committee Print or Y 1. Report?
Joint Hearings
Publications Prepared by One Committee for the Use of Another
Individual Book Numbers
House Book Numbers
Numbered and Unnumbered Documents in One Class
Senate Book Numbers
Cutter Numbers
Multipart Works
Errors in Numbering on Publications
Y 1.-: - Congress as a Whole, House and Senate as a Whole
Individual Book Numbers
House and Senate Documents and Reports
Y 1.1/2: - U. S. Congressional Serial Set
Y 1.2/5: - United States Code
Boards, Commissions, and Independent or Temporary Committees Established by Congress
Boards, Commissions, and Committees Established within the Executive Branch
Executive Branch Independent Agencies with Limited Duration or Publishing Output
Y 3. - Boards, Commissions, and Independent or Temporary Committees
Agency Designations
Category and Series Designations
Related Series or Subjects
Individual Book Numbers
Y 3.2: - Limited Boards, Commissions, and Independent Committees
Y 4.2: and Y 4.3: - Select and Special Committees (As Appointed)
Y 7.1: - Memorial Addresses
Y 9. - Speeches
Y 10: and Y 11: - Subordinate Offices
X 1.1: - Congressional Record
XJH: and XJS: - House and Senate Journals
Y and X General Issues
Serial Publications
Star Prints
U.S. Participation in International Organizations
Cartographic Resources
Category Classes for Maps and Charts
General Rules
U.S. Geological Survey Maps
Map Reference Numbers
Northwest (NW) Quadrant
Northeast (NE) Quadrant
Southwest (SW) Quadrant
Southeast (SE) Quadrant
Edition Date
Bureau of Land Management Maps
U.S. Forest Service Maps
Revision Dates
National Ocean Service Nautical Charts
Map Types
Classification Guidelines for Digital Reproductions
Classification by Type of Digital Reproduction

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