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United States Government Documents

A guide to locating U.S. government documents at the Dickinson Law Library and online.

U.S. Government Documents in the Library

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As a designated Federal Depository Library, the Dickinson Law Library provides free access to Federal Depository Library Program content, including online. Most of the print materials selected by the Law Library through the depository program relates to law or general information about the federal government.

Government Documents Collection Development Policy

Depository History

Dickinson Law is located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Dickinson Law was founded in 1834, and is a pre-Revolutionary town of approximately 20,000 people that is home to the U.S. Army War College and Dickinson College. In July 1997, the law school merged with Pennsylvania State University and a second campus operation of the School of Law opened at University Park, the home of Penn State's main campus. The H. Laddie Montague, Jr. Law Library (formerly known as the Dickinson School of Law's Sheely-Lee Law Library) was designated as a selective federal depository in 1978.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Government Documents Section is to provide access to government information and to support the curricular offerings and research needs of the Dickinson Law community. The primary clientele are the students, faculty, and staff of Dickinson Law and the constituents of the 5th and 19th Congressional Districts.

The collection is maintained in accordance with the requirements of Title 44, Chapter 19 of the United States Code, Instructions to Depository Libraries, Guidelines for the Depository Library Program, and the Federal Depository Library Manual .

Selection Responsibility

Selection of government documents is made by the Government Documents manager. Recommendations from the professional and general library staff, government documents staff, faculty, students, and members of the public are considered by the Law Library when making decisions concerning collection development. The collection supports the curriculum and research interests of the students, faculty, and staff of Penn State Law and the federal government information needs of the 5th and 19th Congressional Districts.

Subject Areas and Collection Arrangement

A review of the items selected is conducted once a year in preparation for the Annual Update Cycle. Collection in certain subject areas may be expanded or limited based on changes in academic programs and community needs. The collection includes congressional, executive, and administrative primary legal materials and law-related publications in areas of curricular interest, such as Agriculture, Trade, Labor, or Civil Rights.

Moderate to comprehensive collection development includes the following agencies or commissions:

  • National Archives & Records Administration, Federal Register Office (AE) Commerce Department, Patent & Trademark Office (C)
  • Federal Communications Commission (CC)
  • Civil Rights Commission (CR)
  • Defense Department, Judge Advocate General's Office (Anny) (D)
  • Defense Department, Judge Advocate General (Navy) (D)
  • Energy Department, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (E)
  • Federal Maritime Commission (FMC)
  • Federal Trade Commission (FT)
  • General Accounting Office (GA)
  • Government Printing Office (GP),
  • Housing & Urban Development Department, Federal Housing Administration (HH)
  • Interior Department, Indian Affairs Bureau (I)
  • Justice Department (J)
  • Judiciary (JU)
  • President of the United States (PR)
  • Executive Office of the President,; Foreign Broadcast Information Service (PREX) Vice President of the United States (PRVP)
  • State Department (S)
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SE)
  • Congress (X), (Y1), (Y4)
  • Independent Agencies (Y3)


Limited collection development includes the following agencies or commissions:

  • Agriculture Department (A)
  • Defense Department (D)
  • Energy Department, Energy Information Administration (E)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EP)
  • Farm Credit Administration (FCA)
  • Health and Human Services Department (HE)
  • Interior Department (I)
  • U.S. Information Agency (IA)
  • International Trade Commission (ITC)
  • Labor Department (L)
  • Library of Congress (LC)
  • Executive Office of the President (PREX)
  • Small Business Administration (SBA)
  • Social Security Administration (SSA)
  • Treasury Department (T)
  • Transportation Department (TD)
  • Veterans Affairs Department (VA)


The Government Documents Collection is arranged in Superintendent of Document (SuDoc) classification number order. Most Government Document microfiche is filed in SuDoc number order. Selected Government Documents are located in other library collections, such as the Treatise Collection and Reference Collection which are arranged by Library of Congress classification number, Periodical Collection arranged alphabetically by title. Government Document titles are included in the on-line catalog which denotes location of Government Documents.

Formats

Government Documents are selected in all formats including paper, microfiche, and electronic materials. Selection of format is based on content and purpose of publication. Paper is preferred for its pictorial content or reference purposes. Microfiche is selected for ease in storage or preservation purposes. Electronic materials are selected for ease in searching and retrieving information and for storage purposes. Forms and posters are rarely selected. Those USGS maps that are selected are housed at Kutztown University, the Selective Housing site.

Selection Tools, Non-Depository Items, Retrospective Sources

The following resources are consulted for collection development:

  • DOCUMENTS TO THE PEOPLE
  • FEDERAL DEPOSITORY LIBRARY MANUAL, (SUGGESTED CORE COLLECTION ANNOTATED FOR SMALL TO MEDIUM PUBLIC AND ACADEMIC LIBRARIES AND FOR ALL LAW LIBRARIES)
  • GOVERNMENT INFORMATION QUARTERLY
  • GPO ACCESS (Core Documents of U.S. Democracy, and pages for the Federal Library Depository Program )
  • GPO SALES PRODUCT CATALOG GPO SUBJECT BIBLIOGRAPHIES
  • GUIDE TO U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS
  • INTRODUCTION TO UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SOURCES
  • JOURNAL OF GOVERNMENT INFORMATION
  • LIST OF CLASSES OF UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS AVAILABLE FOR SELECTION BY DEPOSITORY LIBRARIES
  • MONTHLY CATALOG OF UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS
  • NEEDS AND OFFERS LISTS

Additional bibliographic resources are used when appropriate. Agencies are contacted for documents that are not available through the Federal Library Depository Program. The library maintains a deposit account with GPO for purchase of materials that may not otherwise be available.

Resource Sharing

The library is a member of ACLCP (Associated of College Libraries of Central Pennsylvania) which includes reciprocal borrowing agreements and participation in a union list. Several libraries in ACLCP are government depositories. The Government Documents staff is a member of the Central Pennsylvania Documents Group. As part of the Pennsylvania State University, the library also has borrowing privileges with various libraries of the Penn State University campuses.

Government Documents materials which circulate are included in the Library's Interlibrary Loan Service.

Weeding and Maintenance

The Government Depository Collection is maintained according to the guidelines established in the INSTRUCTIONS TO DEPOSITORY LIBRARIES and other publications of the Federal Depository Library Program, and guidelines established by the State Library of Pennsylvania Regional Depository.

Since 2008, the Law Library significantly reduced its holdings of print Government Documents in favor of access to the growing number of Government Documents now made available electronically.  Most superseded documents are discarded according to the procedures referenced above.

Access

The Library's online catalog includes bibliographic information and location for many Government Documents titles. All library collections which contain government documents are available to all members of the public during public library hours. Professional staff offer reference service and assistance in locating documents not included in the online catalog during all public library hours.

Revised: August, 2013