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United States Government Publications Collection

C. Dwyer, Subject Librarian

I. General Purpose

The United States Government Information collection provides a primary current and historical record of the working of the federal government. It also serves as a primary source for federal laws, codes, regulations and statistical information. In addition, the collection serves as a secondary resource, covering a broad spectrum of topics of interest to the federal government, both political and non?political. The collection is developed with a primary focus on the faculty, staff and students of the University at Albany, and the government information needs of the 21st Congressional District. Depository documents are available for free access by the public.

The University at Albany Libraries has been designated a selective depository library for United States government publications since 1964. The Libraries abide by the laws governing depository collections as set forth in the United States Code, Title 44, "Public Printing and Documents."

II. General Collection Guidelines

Materials are acquired and the collection is maintained in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Instructions to Depository Libraries and the collection development policies of the University Libraries which govern the selection of materials to support the present and anticipated curricular and research needs of University Libraries' users.

Selection policy is influenced by the nature of the Federal Depository Library Program. Depository items are offered according to item numbers. Under this system, an item number my include publications on a variety of topics, some of which are out of scope for the University Libraries. In these cases, the decision to select that item depends on considerations such as number of titles in that scope, the extent of publishing, and format. The U.S. Government Documents Librarian is responsible for making collection decisions for federal depository documents, in consultation with subject librarians as appropriate.

Selection is done in cooperation with depository librarians from other Capital District selective depositories and in recognition of the proximity of the regional depository, the New York State Library, which maintains a complete retrospective and current collection of depository materials.

III. Subject and Language Modifiers

Subjects: Concentrations include business, congressional and legislative information, climatological data, criminal justice, demographics and other statistical resources, and education.

Languages: The primary language is English.

Geographical Areas: No limitation.

Chronological Periods: A complete retrospective collection of depository and non?depository United States government publications is maintained from 1960?1980 in Readex Microprint. Retrospective documents are retained based on content, format, and availability at the regional depository.

IV. Description of Materials Collected

Types of material collected: Items offered through the depository program encompass the full range of formats and types. Monographs, monographic sets, periodicals, serials, and maps in hard copy, microform, and electronic media are available and are selected. Formats include bibliographies, congressional reports and documents, annual and statistical reports, and directories. Considerations of ease of use, availability of space, availability of software and documentation may determine whether an item is chosen or in what format. New formats are accommodated as feasible.

The University Libraries is also a depository for U.S. Geological Survey maps, since 1974. Non?depository and deselected depository item publications are acquired selectively based on demand or as identified by subject librarians.

Access: From 1976 forward there are bibliographic records for depository materials in the University Libraries' online catalog. The United States Federal Depository collection is segregated and classified using the Superintendent of Documents (SUDOCS) system. Exceptions may be made for certain titles deemed by the U.S. Government Documents Librarian, in consultation with subject librarians or curators of other collections, to be more appropriately classified using the Library of Congress scheme (e.g. Reference and Law Collections).

The unit increasingly depends on Internet access to government information and in-house access to government information is available to the University community and the general public. Item numbers for electronic formats are selected based on appropriate subject matter and format. Whenever possible urls or purls are included in online catalog records for web based depository items. The University Libraries meet the 2001 Recommended Specifications for Public Access Workstations in Federal Depositories as set forth by the U.S. Government Printing Office.

V. Other Factors

Secondary reference and selection tools (including guides, catalogs, indexes and bibliographies published by government or commercial sources), both retrospective and current, which are considered essential to the effective use of the collection are acquired. Selection of these tools is the responsibility of the U.S. Government Documents Librarian in consultation with subject librarians. Superseded materials are withdrawn and discarded at the discretion of the U.S. Government Documents Librarian in accordance with Instructions to Depository Libraries. Other materials are withdrawn and discarded from the United States government publications collection at the discretion of the U.S. Government Documents Librarian (in consultation with subject librarians when appropriate) and in accordance with Instructions to Depository Libraries.

revised 1/92 CMD
revised 1/02 CMD
page updated 10/03

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