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Government Information - Canada: Find Documents

Use these resources to locate books about governments and government policies, and publications from governents about their policies.

Finding Books & Documents in the Library

Search the Library Catalogue:

Finding the documents in the Library Stacks

Once you find publications, check what the branch location and call numbers are.  Most government publications in the Murray Library are on the second floor and are filed by an unique call number system (CODOC) which supports browsing departmental information.  Find out how to read CODOC call numbers.

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CODOC Call Numbers

CODOC call numbers are designed to organize government publications on the shelves by keeping all the material published by a single corporate author (i.e. government department or agency) together. Subjects which are similar may be under different call numbers because they come from different corporate authors. For example, a publication on Aboriginal health could be found under Indian Affairs (CA1 IA) or Health Canada (CA1 HE).

The Elements of CODOC Call Numbers

Each separate element follows in this order: 

  • Country (ex: CA for Canada, US for United States, or UN for United Nations)
  • Level of government (1 = federal, 2 = provincial, 3 = county, 4 = city, etc…)
  • Province or state (ex: SA for Saskatchewan, AL for Alberta)
  • Corporate body / Department (ex: IA for Indian Affairs or BS for Statistics Canada)
  • Organization subdivision / branch of the department (a number)
  • : [colon]
  • Year of publication (If it is a single item)
  • Series number (If it is a series)
  • Title (A letter and numbers representing the title) 

Usually the code used for a department is an acronym of its name (Indian Affairs = IA), but sometimes it does not appear to make sense. For example, CA1 BS represents Statistics Canada. This is because at one time it was known as the Dominion Bureau of Statistics. Since there are various series still being published that originate from that time, the old department code is still used.

How to Read a CODOC Number

CA1 IA :1988R23 would be broken down in the following way:

  • CA1 identifies this as a Canadian federal document
  • There is a space between the level of government code and the corporate body code, because there is no province in this case
  • IA identifies the Department of Indian Affairs
  • There is another space to show that there is no subdivision in this case
  • 1988 is the year of publication
  • R23 is taken from the publication's title: "Response of the Government to the Report of the Special Committee on Indian Self-Government"

CA2SADA 108: D16

  • CA2 identifies it as a Canadian provincial document
  • SA is the province of Saskatchewan
  • DA stands for the Department of Agriculture
  • 108 is the Animal Industry Branch within the Saskatchewan Department of Agriculture
  • There is no year, because it is an ongoing series, so there is a space after the colon
  • D16 is taken from the title: “Dairy Production Report” 

Finding Items in the Stacks

Publications issued by a government department as a whole come before those issued by a branch within that department on the shelves. For example, CA1 FR :1998F51 (issued by the Canadian Forest Services) would be shelved before CA1 FR 101:1973R90 (issued by the Newfoundland Forest Research Centre – represented by the 101 – which is a branch of the Canadian Forest Services).

Works that are published on a continuing basis under the same title (serials) do not have a date of publication in the CODOC number and are shelved before single works that have a date of publication. So all of the issues of CA2SADA 185: A56 (Annual Report of the Saskatchewan Sheep and Wool Marketing Commission) come before CA2SADA 185:1977S36 (A single document put out by the same commission).

To find out more about CODOC and the creation of this cataloguing call number system, check out the book, The Bibliographic control of official publications edited by John E. Pemberton.


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