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.