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Government Information: Government Publications Collection Development Policy

Provides an overview of the FDLP and GPO. Also links to other government information sources/portals for librarians and the public.

Library Policy Nunber E:28



This policy serves as a guide to assist the Library staff in developing and maintaining the government documents collection.

The Watson Library at Northwestern State University (NSU) was designated a selective federal depository library in 1887. The Library selects approximately 35% of available items.

The Library's primary users are students, faculty, and staff of Northwestern State University. NSU’s student body is approximately 10,000 and includes many distance education students.  NSU is primarily an undergraduate institution focusing on degree programs in Education, Nursing, and Business. In addition to NSU faculty, staff, and students, the library serves the Natchitoches community and the surrounding area.

As a selective depository, NSU Watson Library’s mission is to provide free and open access to government information to faculty, staff, students, Friends of the Library, and members of the community in accordance regulations established by the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and distributed in Instructions to Depository Libraries.

Selection Responsibility and Methods

The Government Information/Reference Librarian is solely responsible for selecting materials for the collection; however, input from library patrons and staff is taken into consideration. The Government Information/Reference Librarian reviews the Library's list of item number selections annually to ensure that the library is receiving materials it needs and not those which are of little or no use to our primary patrons. Sources to be consulted in this review process include the List of Classes, U.S. Government Subscriptions, and the suggested core collections listed in the Federal Depository Library Manual. Other materials which may provide ideas include Subject Bibliographies, Documents to the People, Census and You, advertisements, book reviews, interlibrary loan requests, reference questions, government documents shelving statistics, and sources mentioned on GOVDOC-L or the Internet.

Collection Focus

Selection centers on the curriculum, and focuses on, but is not limited to, business, education, and health. Also included are Census publications, publications from the Office of the President, Office of the Vice President, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian and other materials of general research value. As part of the library’s mission to serve the general public, the government documents collection includes publications from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, and NASA.

Collection Arrangement

The majority of the government documents collection (approximately 85%) is shelved on the first floor of Watson Library in the Government Documents Reading Room (Room 111). These documents are shelved or filed in SuDocs number order. Maps, CD-ROMs, and other Audio Visual materials are filed by SuDocs number in appropriate cabinets in the reference room. Some documents (approximately 15%) have been reclassed and are now shelved in the reference, general circulating, serials, or branch library collections.

Collection Evaluation

Circulation figures for government publications can be obtained from the Library's ILMS (integrated library management system). A zero-based collection review is practiced so that only relevant material is selected and so government funds are not wasted. Core collections in the Federal Depository Library Manual are also checked.