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Collection Development Policies

United States | State of Georgia | International | Maps, atlases and related resources

United States Documents

I. Introduction VII. Non-depository Items
II. Mission Statement
VIII. Retrospective Sources
III. Selection Responsibility
IX. Resource Sharing
IV. Subject Areas & Collection Arrangement
X. Weeding & Maintenance
V. Formats
XI. Access
VI. Selection Tools XII. Miscellaneous

I. Introduction

The Federal Depository Library Program originated in the early 1800’s when a joint resolution of Congress directed that additional copies of the House and Senate Journals and other documents be printed and distributed to institutions outside the Federal establishment.

Chapter 19 of Title 44 of the United States Code is the authority for the establishment and operation of the Federal Depository Library Program. The legal responsibilities of Federal depository libraries fall into two broad categories:

  • Providing for free public access to Government information
  • Providing for the proper maintenance of the depository materials entrusted to the individual depository’s care (Instructions to Depository Libraries)

The University of Georgia Libraries was designated a selective depository as a land grant institution in 1907. It was designated as a U.S. Regional Depository in 1977 and is the only regional depository in the State of Georgia. The Regional Depository supports the general collecting activities of the Libraries, the constituency in the 10th U.S. Congressional District, the 23 selective depository libraries in Georgia, and all the citizens of the state. These activities are done in accordance with the requirements defined in the Instructions to Depository Libraries, Guidelines for the Depository Library System, and the Federal Depository Library Manual. As the Regional Depository, the University of Georgia Libraries is expected to have the most comprehensive collection of U.S. Government publications in the State along with the appropriate resources to support access to this collection.

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II. Mission Statement

The U.S. Regional Depository supports the mission of the University of Georgia Libraries through effective utilization of all available resources in order to meet users’ needs for U.S. Government information in a variety of formats. It supports the activities of the Libraries in its current and future instructional and research needs. It provides free and unimpeded access to U.S. Government information to the public and supports the activities of the selective depository libraries in the state.

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III. Selection Responsibility

The US Regional Depository Librarian is responsible for the collection management of the U.S. Government publications collection and oversees any necessary selection responsibilities with appropriate library and university faculty.

As a Regional Depository, the Libraries receive all U.S. Government publications that are distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program of the U.S. Government Printing Office. It is required to retain permanently in its collection all of these documents.

As a general rule, the Libraries will not keep or acquire duplicates of documents for its collection. However, consideration will be given to acquiring duplicate copies of heavily used materials and documents that contain information about Georgia or the Southeast. Government publications from federal agencies that are not distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program may be acquired to enhance the U.S. Government Documents Collection.

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IV. Subject Areas & Collection Arrangement

As a Regional Depository, the University of Georgia Libraries collect documents in all formats in all subject areas from all the federal government agencies.

The Superintendent of Documents Classification system is used for most U.S. Government documents in the collection. The documents are housed in separate collections in the Main and Science Libraries. Documents of a reference nature are shelved in designated reference areas in the Main and Science Libraries. Locations and holdings for documents are indicated in the U.S. Government Documents shelf list and in GIL, the Libraries on-line catalog.

The Science Library houses the documents published by agencies responsible for the science and technology areas. Some of these agencies are:

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • U.S. National Institutes of Health
  • U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, etc.

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V. Formats

U.S. Government publications in the Federal Depository Library Program are available in a variety of formats. These formats include paper, maps, microforms, and electronic -- all of which can be added to the collection.

There are very few opportunities when Regional Depositories may choose to receive items in more than one format. When this selection choice is presented, the Libraries choose to receive the item in all the available formats.

The Libraries comply with the current “Recommended Specifications for Public Access Workstations in Federal Depository Libraries” to ensure that the university community and the general public can access US. Government information provided in electronic formats.

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VI. Selection Tools for Documents

Selection tools for current items are not utilized since the University of Georgia Libraries are a Regional Depository.

Selection Tools for Bibliographic Access Tools/Reference Resources

The Regional Depository Librarian in consultation with the appropriate subject bibliographers will evaluate for purchase those bibliographic access tools/reference resources and databases available from private publishers, which would improve access to information in the U.S. Government Documents Collection. Some of the selection tools consulted would be:

  • Documents to the People (DttP)
  • Journal of Government Information
  • Government Information Quarterly
  • Publishers brochures and catalogs

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VII. Non-depository Items

The Libraries have subscribed to the Readex/Newsbank U.S. Non-Depository Collection in microprint and microfiche since 1953.

Documents that can be identified as not being in the Federal Depository Library Program but that should be acquired for the U.S. Government Documents Collection or Libraries general collections can be obtained by directly contacting the appropriate government agencies, or by purchase through the U.S. Government Printing Office Bookstore.

Non-depository documents received through mailing lists or as gifts may be added to the collection after appropriate review and evaluation.

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VIII. Retrospective Sources

The Regional Depository has an extensive retrospective collection of U.S. Government documents even though it was designated a depository in 1907. For example, the collection contains a complete bound set of the Congressional Record beginning in 1789 and a complete set of the War of the Rebellion. The Regional Depository will pursue acquisition of retrospective documents in order to complete sets or to acquire materials not presently owned. Attention will be given to acquiring publications from the “1909 Checklist” and from the retrospective editions of the Monthly Catalog that would enhance the collection. Some of the sources used to identify the availability of older documents would be offers lists from other depository libraries as well as gift and exchange programs. Microforms or reprints of U.S documents offered by private publishers would also be considered.

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IX. Resource Sharing

U.S. Government documents not available in the University of Georgia Libraries collection may be obtained from other libraries through the Interlibrary Loan Department.

Documents of a scientific or technical nature distributed through the depository program prior to 1977 may be available at the Georgia Institute of Technology located in Atlanta and may be requested from that institution.

Emory University in Atlanta subscribes to the Readex/Newsbank U.S. Depository Collection that provides access to U.S. depository documents that may not be available in the U.S. Government Documents Collection at University of Georgia Libraries.

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X. Weeding & Maintenance

Because Regional Depositories are required to retain permanently in their collections one copy of all documents received through GPO’s Federal Depository Library Program, traditional weeding practices are not followed. However, consideration may be given to some of the following:

  • If a document is received in two or more formats, a decision can be made to retain only one format
  • If a document is replaced by the same publication issued by a private publishers, the document may be weeded
  • superseded documents may be withdrawn after consulting the instructions for Regional Depositories included in the Superseded List
  • Loose-leaf services are maintained and pages discarded according to the instructions in the document or in the Superseded List

Binding for current U.S. Government periodicals is done on a regular basis whenever a volume is completed. Heavily used documents such as reference sources or Census publications may be bound when received or as needed. Retrospective binding of the collection is done when documents that need to be bound or rebound are identified through regular stack maintenance activities or when documents located for use in the stack area are in need of binding.

Preservation activities are conducted that include basic repair, rebinding and placing materials identified as brittle in protective enclosures to prevent further deterioration and damage.

Attempts can be made to replace badly worn or damaged or deteriorating documents by purchase, through depository offers lists or through reprint and/or microform publishers’ catalogs.

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XI. Access

The Regional Depository will provide free and unimpeded access to U.S. Government information to the university community as well as the general public.

The U.S. Government documents are housed in the Main Library building, the Science Library building, and at the Repository. The Superintendent of Documents classification number that is assigned to each publication determines its location in the Main, Science or Map Libraries. Documents to be housed in the Repository are selected by the staff of either the Main or Science Libraries. Location information is provided through the U.S. Government Documents shelf list and/or GIL, the Libraries on-line catalog.

Bibliographic access to the U.S. Government Documents Collection from 1976 to date is provided through GIL. In addition, supplementary bibliographic access tools in a variety of formats are available for current as well as retrospective documents.

Reference service for U.S. Government documents is provided for in-person, telephone or e-mail inquires by the Map and Government Information Library.

U.S. Government documents are included in the Libraries subject bibliographies and handouts, and pathfinders when appropriate. Information concerning the availability of U.S. Government publications is included in bibliographic instruction sessions given by library staff to classes and during general library orientation sessions.

Information about U.S. Government publications in the Libraries is included in the Government Documents Collections home page.

Most U.S. Government documents will circulate to persons with University of Georgia Libraries borrowing privileges. Documents on reference or in the Census Collection or those identified as being rare and endangered generally do not circulate outside of the Libraries. Most U.S. Government documents are available for lending through the standard interlibrary loan process.

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XII. Miscellaneous

Publications in the Library of Congress classifications of J 1-999 are shelved either as part of the Government Documents collection in the Main Library or at the Repository. Except for J84 (U.S. documents), these materials are added by bibliographers, not by Government Documents staff.

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State of Georgia Documents

While the University of Georgia Libraries have been collecting Georgia documents for many years, we were designated the official depository for Georgia government publications in 1993. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated 20-5-2 mandates agencies and departments within the executive branch of the Georgia state government deposit in the University of Georgia Libraries five print copies and one electronic copy of publications that are produced with the intent to distribute to the public. The Governor and all other officers who are required to make reports to the General Assembly are also required to submit copies.

The five print copies are distributed to the Georgia Documents Collection at the University of Georgia Libraries, the Digital Library of Georgia at the University of Georgia Libraries for digitization in the Georgia Government Publications database, Odum Library at Valdosta State University, Zach S. Henderson Library at Georgia Southern University, and the Georgia Archives. After digitization the Digital Library of Georgia copy is sent to the Library of Congress.

In addition to print and electronic copies, agencies are required to submit publications produced in any of the following formats: CD-ROM, DVD, DVD-ROM, maps, posters, video recordings, etc. Forms and internal agency publications are not included as required submissions. Although OCGA 20-5-2 specifies that reports of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, the journals of the House and Senate, and the session laws enacted by the General Assembly are not required for deposit, the UGA Libraries receives copies of these publications as part of the Georgia Documents Collection.

Publications by individual units of the University System of Georgia are not considered state documents in this collection. However, the Board of Regents is a state agency, and as such its publications are part of the Georgia Documents Collection. Although some publications of the Regional Development Centers are included in the Georgia Documents Collection, their legal counsel advised that these are not considered state agencies because the RDCs do not receive the state funding that state agencies receive; therefore, they are not required to comply.

The Georgia Government Publications database, a project of the Digital Library of Georgia, GALILEO, and the University of Georgia Libraries, provides online public access to the full text of public documents of departments and agencies within the Georgia state government published from 1994 to the present.

Print documents, including all folio copies and those of a scientific and technical nature, published by the State of Georgia from 1876 to date are located in the Georgia Documents Collection in the Main Library. Microform, CD-ROM, DVD, maps, etc. are housed together with U.S. and other government documents in the Main Library. Documents published prior to 1876 are located in the Hargrett Library's Georgiana Collection.

Audit reports produced by the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts published prior to 2000 and additional copies (c.2) of Georgia government publications, primarily published prior to 1993, are housed at the Libraries’ Repository.

No documents published by states other than Georgia are included in the Government Documents collection.

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International Documents


The UGA Libraries no longer collects African documents. Previously collected annual reports of government departments and the gazettes of the legislatures of selected countries are available either in microform at the Main Library or at the Libraries’ Repository.


The government publications of the United Kingdom are issued by the Stationery Office and are divided into two groups: non-Parliamentary (department or agency) and Parliamentary. The University of Georgia Libraries receive the Parliamentary publications in various formats which are housed in the Government Documents collection in the Main Library. Those Parliamentary documents include: the House of Lords and House of Commons papers; bills; command papers; debates (Hansard); acts; votes; proceedings; and some statistical publications. The majority of the British documents in the Libraries are non-Parliamentary and are purchased by bibliographers and classified in LC.


The University of Georgia Libraries are a selective depository for publications issued by the federal government of Canada through the Depository Services Program. Documents deemed to be of research interest are selected. Canadian publications not available through the Depository Services Program are added to the collection if they are free and of research interest. Documents of Canadian provinces are not included in the Canadian documents collection. Canadian documents are housed in the Main Library, Science Library, and Libraries’ Repository.


French documents are not currently collected as part of the Government Documents collection though they may be added to the Libraries’ collections at the discretion of bibliographers and classified in LC. The official gazettes and some legislative publications of the French government previously received are generally housed at the Libraries’ Repository, except for microforms housed in the Main Library.

United Nations

The University of Georgia Libraries has an overall standing order for United Nations Sales Publications in all available subject categories. In addition, subscriptions are maintained for Official Records from the principal organs of the United Nations, as well as for the United Nations Treaty Series and selected periodicals.

Not included in the United Nations documents print collection are mimeographed documents, most International Court of Justice documents, and documents from specialized agencies and other autonomous organizations within the United Nations system, e.g., International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, etc.

A standing order for the Readex microprint/microfiche edition of the United Nations publications is maintained. This includes a complete collection of the mimeographed and printed documents as well as the Official Records of the principal organs of the United Nations. Also included are the documents of every committee, commission, conference and seminar of the principal organs. Sales publications are not all included in the microform collection.

All United Nations documents in various formats are housed in the Government Documents collection in the Main Library regardless of subject matter.

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Maps, Atlases and Related Resources

The Map and Government Information Library develops and maintains a modern, research-oriented collection of cartographic materials. Its staff is responsible for collecting cartographic material in all formats (paper, microform and digital) for the University of Georgia Libraries, including maps, atlases, aerial photography, gazetteers, journals and cartographic reference materials. The Map and Government Information Library’s holdings include:

  • Sheet maps - current and historical U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps; topographic map sets for most countries in various scales; worldwide nautical and aeronautical charts; select thematic, country and city maps from around the world with an emphasis on the United States and the State of Georgia
  • Atlases - general reference, national, historical and thematic
  • Aerial photography and remoted sensed imagery, primarily of the State of Georgia
  • Journals related to map collections and map librarianship
  • Gazetteers and place name guides
  • Cartographic reference materials

Duplication of cartographic material between the Map and Government Information Library and other UGA Libraries is usually limited to general reference atlases; however, exceptions can be made to meet user needs.

All cartographic materials are housed in the Map and Government Information Library with the following exceptions:

  • Select pre-20th century cartographic materials for which the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library has primary responsibility
  • Select general reference atlases and other items described above

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