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    U.S. Government Documents Depository Policy

    U.S. Government Document Collection Development Policy

    Colorado College, Tutt Library has been a selective U.S. Government Documents Depository since 1880. Over the years the library has maintained one of the best historical collections of U.S. Government Documents in the surrounding region, with some publications dating from 1774.


    The physical collection numbers about 300,000 items (paper, microfiche, micro-cards, maps, CD-ROMs, DVDs and videos). The library catalog contains links to full text documents. Government Document Web pages provide many links to online indexes, branches of government including state, federal, and international links under specific topics. The library makes available U.S. government and privately published indexes to the physical collection and online indexes with full text access to some publications.


    The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), which is administered by the US Government Printing Office (GPO), was established by Congress to ensure that the American people have access to government information. The Depository Library Program is authorized by Title 44 United States Code, Chapter 19. The collection is managed and accessible according to rules and regulations established by the Library Programs Service of the GPO (Instructions to Depository Libraries (mandatory rules and regulations), Federal Depository Library Manual (supplementary guidance), Guidelines for the Federal Depository Library System, (recommended conduct)).

    Location and Call Numbers

    The bulk of the Document Collection is located in Tutt South Basement. It is organized by the Superintendent of Documents Classification System (SuDoc). This system is different from the Library of Congress call numbers used in the rest of the library. It begins with a letter(s) that indicates the department (E = Education), and then is followed by numbers. Please see the Documents staff or Research Librarian if you have trouble locating items with this system. If the document is available electronically, click on the link in the Tiger record. Exceptions and other locations are noted in the Tiger online catalog.

    USGS topographic maps are shelved in alphabetical or map series number order in the map room in Tutt South 1st Floor. Oversized maps stored in the map case in the atrium in Tutt North 2nd Floor.

    Some historical document series are shelved in the Documents Enclosed Area. You will need the help of Documents or Research staff to access these publications.

    Microfiche are located in the microforms area in Tutt North 2nd Floor.

    Access Policy


    Guides to the government documents collection are available on the Government Information Web Page. Approximately a half of the physical materials in the Government Documents Collection are reflected in the library’s online catalog (TIGER). Additional online documents are also found via the Tiger and Government Information Web pages.

    Physical access to the government documents collection is available to members of the general public and CC community. Most of the items in the collection, including CD-ROMS, are available to check out according to library circulation policy. Some documents, including maps and those shelved in the Documents Enclosed Area, do not check out. Maps may be used in the library.

    Documents Enclosed Area

    These materials may be checked out by the Government Documents staff or Research Desk staff for use in the library only. These items do not circulate.


    TIGER (catalog) and Government Information web pages may be searched from any computer with internet access. Two stations near the Research Desk are designated for members of the general public. Users are limited to 1 hour at a computer station. Public users may print five pages free. Please pay 10 cents per page thereafter at the Circulation Desk. Government CD-ROM software may be checked out for use.

    Reference Service Policy

    Reference services offered to the general public using the depository are comparable to the reference services given to the library’s primary patrons. Indexes, databases, and other tools to locate government information in the library and on the Internet are available to all depository patrons.

    Reference service is provided by the Reference Librarian on duty at the main Research Desk. If documents in the Enclosed Area are requested, they are checked out of the Enclosed Area for use in the library only.

    Reference service for documents available on the Tiger (online catalog), CD-ROMs, or on the government documents Web pages consists of guidance in locating specific titles and general introductory instructions on use of the resource. Some computer literacy is required of the user.

    Telephone reference calls will be addressed after patrons in the library are served. Specific brief information requested by telephone will be located and left at the Circulation Desk for patrons to check out or use in the library. If the telephone question requires more extensive research, the patron will be asked to come to the library when the Government Documents staff is on duty for help in conducting the research. Email questions are handled in the same way.

    Circulation Policy

    Most of the items in the collection, including CD-ROMS are available for check out according to library circulation policy. Some documents, including maps and those shelved in the Documents Enclosed Area do not check out. (See Access Policy.)

    Interlibrary Loan Policy

    Documents in Colorado College, Tutt Library, except those designated in the Tiger or by the government documents staff for in library use only, are available to all libraries on Interlibrary Loan.

    Colorado College students, staff, and faculty may request government publications that Tutt Library does not own via Interlibrary Loan or Prospector through Tutt Library. Public patrons must make their requests through their own public library.

    Collection Development Policy

    Selection of Items

    1. The focus of this collection continues to be consistent with the emphasis of the historical holdings including: Political Science, Public Policy, U.S. History, Economics and Business, Anthropology, Education, Sociology, General Science, Geology, and Environmental Science.
    2. Depository item numbers are selected in departmental series based upon the above areas of interest. However, annual reports and most of the statistical series from all of the departments are selected to give an overview of departmental activities. Almost all of the publications in the Congressional series are currently selected.
    3. The Government Documents Librarian reviews titles within item numbers not selected in order to select those titles, which should be purchased for the collection. The librarian takes note of current important titles in the new media, professional literature and online listserves. Many titles are available in only electronic form. New Electronic Titles located on the FDLP Website should be noted on a weekly or monthly basis to pick up important electronic titles. Duplicate paper titles are purchased for major reference works (Statistical Abstract, Government Manual, and Economic Report of the President) so that copies can be shelved in the Reference collection, Research Desk, and Government Documents Desk, or in the Documents collection when appropriate. In general, duplicate titles are not added because of limited space. These are usually available via Web links on the Tiger record as well.
    4. Item numbers may be dropped at any time, but additions are possible only once a year. The Documents Librarian in consultation with the departmental liaison librarians (Science, Social Science, Humanities, and Interdisciplinary) does item selection. Faculty members are consulted when appropriate.
    5. New Survey Items, as noted in the Technical Supplement (available on the FDLP Web page or in paper in the depository shipments) are considered by the Documents Librarian, and if appropriate the Liaison Librarian for that discipline.
    6. Superseded titles are weeded on a regular basis in accordance with the Superseded List (available on the FDLP Web site.)
    7. Titles not generally selected for our library are highly technical reports, rules and regulations, handbooks, manuals and guides (except when deemed necessary), posters, ephemeral material, and titles where frequency or size cannot be determined.
    8. A title missing and presumed lost, that is identified through inventory or other means, is replaced if deemed important. Titles claimed and not received are also acquired if possible. Sources for replacement are GPO, Interlibrary Loan from which a copy is made if the document isn’t copyrighted, a private publisher, or printed from an online source if available. Damaged documents are replaced in the same manner.
    9. The choice of format of a title (paper, microfiche, CD-ROM, etc.), will be determined by the nature of the publication, the amount of space it will need (on the shelf or cabinet or in the on-line system), and its expected use. Increasingly, the online version is all that is available.
    10. Withdrawal of documents older than the current five years (allowable under GPO rules) will be considered on the basis of this collection development policy and will be carried out in accordance with the policy outlined in the Instructions to Depository Libraries.

    Care and Maintenance

    1. Weeding – Documents may be weeded from the collection according to the rules in the Instructions to Depository Libraries. Some series have been retained for historical reasons.
    2. Binding – Documents receiving heavy and long term use are sent to the bindery or bound in-house. The Documents Librarian identifies those documents. Several document series are bound because they are identified as having historical value (e.g. USGS Professional Papers and Bulletins, Colorado volumes of decennial census). Documents that are loose-leaf and sent without binders are bound together with metal fasteners or placed in three ring notebooks.
    3. Preservation – A preservation project for some of the historical series (Serial Set, early titles in the Congressional Record, Labor Dept., Smithsonian, War Department, and Treasury Department) has been ongoing since 1981. Twenty volumes per year are sent to the bindery to be rebound with instructions to maintain the appearance of the original volume, including special labels. The Documents Librarian directs this project.
    • Folded maps from early Serial Set volumes are being preserved by being removed from the volume, humidified, flattened, repaired, de-acidified, encapsulated, and shelved in a map case with links to and from the original location.
    • The Serial Set has been oiled twice in the past twenty years. Oiling is no longer recommended for old leather volumes.

    Indexes and Bibliographies

    The library has a strong commitment to providing printed and on-line access to government documents. Because most of the documents received earlier than 1991 are not cataloged in the public catalog, access is dependent upon indexes and bibliographies.

    Important examples of those indexes we have available are:

    Monthly Catalog (GPO) 1895 – current, (paper and microfiche)
    Cumulative Subject Index to the Monthly Catalog, 1895-1971 (paper)
    Cumulative Title Index to U.S. Public Documents, 1789-1976 (paper)
    Congressional Indexes, 1789 – 1969 (online)
    CIS Serial Set Index, 1789-1903 (paper)
    Congressional Universe 1970 – (online)
    CIS U.S. Executive Branch Documents, 1789-1909
    Personal Author Index, 1941-1975
    Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS): Index, 1977 – 1996 (online through World News Connection)