The University of Michigan Library
FEDERAL DOCUMENTS COLLECTION
The University of Michigan Library was designated a federal depository library on
March 18, 1884. It became a selective depository under a reorganization of the depository
library system in 1962.
The Documents Center in the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library serves as a central
reference point and maintains the Library's liaison with the Government Printing Office.
The Serials Records unit in Technical Services is the initial point of depository receipt
The Documents Center will ensure the selection of materials for the University of
Michigan Library system which support the teaching and research needs of University of
Michigan students, faculty, staff and administrative units as well as citizens of the 13th
Congressional District of Michigan (15th Congressional District of Michigan beginning
Founded in 1817, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is one of the premier
institutions of higher education in the nation. Enrollment during 2000 was 38,103 with a
graduate student population of 35%. The University’s nineteen colleges include:
Architecture & Urban Planning, Art & Design, Business, Dentistry, Education,
Engineering, Graduate Studies, Information, Kinesiology, Law, Literature, Science and
the Arts, Medicine, Music, Natural Resources and Environment, Nursing, Pharmacy,
Public Health, Public Policy, and Social Work. Among its top-ranked programs are law,
public policy, engineering, natural resources, dentistry, political science, public health,
and social work.
There are 4300 faculty (including regular, clinical and supplemental). Faculty
routinely serve as advisors to the federal government and return to the University after
their tenure. This is especially true in the fields of economics, public health and foreign
relations. As a result, numerous academic and professional departments offer courses on
the legislative process.
The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research was located in
Ann Arbor after World War II. ICPSR is an archive for numeric data tapes, including
those being produced by the federal government. ICPSR attracts faculty to the University
with joint appointments in ICPSR and a subject field, such as sociology, political science,
and economics. An echo is seen in graduate and undergraduate classes requiring pre-
tabulated statistical data.
The City of Ann Arbor is primarily an academic community with a growing
research component. The 2000 Census reports a population of 114,024 with a median
age of 28.1 years. The population is approximately 75% white, 9% black and 12% Asian
(the largest groups being Chinese and Asian Indian.) Major employers outside the
University include Pfizer (pharmaceuticals), Borders (bookstore headquarters), Edwards
Brothers (publishing), Proquest (formerly University Microfilms and Bell and Howell,
book publishing), and computer services.
The 13th Congressional District (through 2002) incorporates Eastern Washtenaw
County and Western Wayne County. Outside the City of Ann Arbor, the region is heavily
influenced by the automotive parts industry. The 13th District has included three
depository libraries: The University of Michigan Graduate Library (84%), The University
of Michigan Law Library (9% ), and Eastern Michigan University Library (48% ).
The newly-drawn 15th Congressional District (beginning 2003) has a population
of 662,563. It represents a significant departure from the current district, adding
Dearborn (Wayne County) and all of Monroe County to the existing district. Within its
fold are Ford Motor Company World Headquarters and Detroit Edison’s nuclear power
plant. Relationships have already been established between the Library and these two
businesses so redistricting should have minimal impact on library clientele. The addition
of the Monroe County Library System (27%) and Henry Ford Community College (15%)
to the 13th District’s academic libraries brings diversity and new opportunities for
Depository Selection Levels
The University of Michigan Library collects 75-85% of materials distributed in
tangible formats through the federal depository library program and 100% of those made
available via the Internet.
Location of Depository Documents
Depository materials in all formats are generally housed by broad subject into
nodal libraries within the University of Michigan system:
Graduate Library (social sciences)
Map Library (maps, related national park materials)
Media Union (engineering, patents, transportation, energy, most EPA
Public Health (prevention of disease, health statistics, hospital administration)
Science (geology, forestry, fisheries)
Serial publications cataloged for non-nodal libraries prior to the establishment of
the nodal system in the mid-1980's continue to be recorded for that location. Occasional
publications directly relevant to the collection of a non-nodal library (e.g. art catalog) may
be cataloged for that library following a routine offering procedure.
Item Number Selection
New depository item numbers are initially selected through surveys
conducted by the U.S. Government Printing Office. The documents librarian
reviews the survey, chooses or rejects item numbers for the Graduate Library, and
refers other item numbers to the appropriate nodal library for a decision. Since
most surveys are currently conducted via the web, the documents librarian will
copy the description and send it to the appropriate nodal selector via e-mail. It is
the policy of the Documents Center to accept the decision of a nodal library but
the Graduate Library may accept for itself an item number rejected by a divisional
if interdisciplinary use is anticipated.
Basis for Selection
The broadest range of curricular and research needs is considered in item
number selection as well as requests from members of the local community (e.g.
community requests for foreign trade opportunities information).
When applicable, decisions between depository formats are based on
factors unique to the individual title, including:
1. Usability of format.
2. Anticipated need for circulation.
3. Shelf space of the paper copy.
4. Timeliness of the various formats.
5. Anticipated physical longevity of the formats.
6. Existence and/or quality of electronic software.
7. Alternative formats already held by the library.
Although the Government Printing Office permits depository libraries to
substitute tangible products for those available through GPO Access, the long-
term future of the internet, GPO Access, and pdf format cannot be assured. The
documents librarian will review those titles available through GPO Access and
seek an alternative tangible format for titles with short-term popularity or long-
term value. Alternatives include: purchase (within budget constraints), free
copies, printouts on acid-free paper, silver halide microform, or digital copies.
Rejection of Item Numbers
Item numbers are usually rejected for one of four reasons:
1. Federal depository patent and trademark materials duplicate
the Media Union's Patent Depository Program.
2. Subject is Out-of-Scope
Crop science, animal husbandry, home economics, police and fire
administration, and many administrative law rulings are outside the
scope of the University of Michigan Library system and seldom
requested by the local community.
3. Material Not for Academic Use
Programmed texts at an 8th Grade level and periodicals meant
solely for employees of a particular government agency are usually
Posters, which are difficult to store. Exceptions are made for
posters of special public interest (e.g. NASA, Census)
Looseleafs which require extensive interfiling. Often the subjects
are pertinent to the collection and are re-selected when they
become available on CD-ROM.
Diazo microfiche when a commercial silver-halide version already
exists within the Library (e.g. ERIC, ASI and CIS microfiche).
Braille publications when contents are duplicated by
Forms, except those frequently used by the local community (tax
forms) or those needed to interpret statistical data, such as the
Current Population Survey. Many of these forms are now available
on the Internet.
Selection of item numbers for marginal materials is coordinated with local
depository libraries, usually via e-mail.
Eastern Michigan University - educational curricular materials
University of Michigan Law Library - administrative law and
purchase of networked licenses for commercial web products
which support the depository collections
Michigan State University - crop science, animal husbandry, police
and fire administration
The University of Michigan Library relies on the two regional libraries,
Detroit Public and Library of Michigan, for those items rarely used at the
University of Michigan. Patrons may be referred through Inter-Library Loan, a
check of their respective on-line catalogs, or a phone call.
Review of Item Number Selections
Item numbers may be deselected throughout the year upon request of a nodal
library or by the documents librarian on behalf of the Graduate Library. Item numbers
may be added during the annual selection cycle in June/July of each year.
Given the size of the University of Michigan collection and the number of federal
depository item numbers (approximately 8000), a zero-based review during the annual
selection cycle is not always feasible. Instead, the documents librarian notifies the
divisional libraries of the selection cycle and tools (List of Classes, Item Lister,
Documents Data Miner) which can be used to review a certain portion of their
collections. Divisionals often do this based on a particular interest (e.g. geological survey
maps, Forest Service offerings). The Documents librarian maintains collection notes
throughout the year for item numbers to be selected, reviews the Technical Supplement
for new item numbers added throughout the year, and verifies that the previous year's
selection changes were made in the GPO data base.
All claimable publications missing from depository shipments and selected by the
Library are claimed from GPO in a timely manner by Serials Records.
Non-claimable paper publications missing from depository shipments and selected
by the Library are selectively claimed from the Documents Expediting Project while
microfiche is selectively claimed from the Detroit Public Library.
Periodical issues discovered missing during bindery collation are claimed from
the Documents Expediting Project unless they are of marginal quality and are available
on American Statistics Index microfiche.
Missing federal documents are difficult to replace due to their short in-
print status. Paper replacements are seldom sought if the item is duplicated in
another campus library or available on silver-halide microfiche (American
Statistics Index or Congressional Information Service collections).
Replacements for missing items may be sought through the Documents
Expediting Project, Government Printing Office, an individual government agency, Needs
and Offers List, out-of-print dealers, microform publishers, or in-house photocopies of
non-copyrighted publications borrowed through Inter-Library Loan.
Replacements are sought for brittle or damaged material if the item is unique,
popular, or historically valuable. The Preservation Department consults with the
Documents Center staff and inaugurates replacements, whether through purchase, original
microfilming, or original digitization for federal documents located in the Graduate
Because the University of Michigan is a research institution, most tangible
depository materials are considered permanent additions to the collection.
Depository materials may be weeded following guidelines set forth by the
Guidelines for Michigan Federal Depository Libraries <http://www.libraryofmichigan
1. Collection managers may consult with Documents Records or the
Documents Center to determine whether titles in question appear
on the List of Superseded Titles <http://www.access.gpo.gov/
su_docs/fdlp/pubs/suplist/index.html>and may be discarded without
offering to other depository libraries. Not all superseded titles are
discarded, particular CD-ROMS with monthly data which cumulates
throughout the year.
2. Publications intended for withdrawal are forwarded to the documents
librarian, who determines whether they should be withdrawn or
transferred to another location.
3. Publications withdrawn from the collection are housed in the Reference
offices by year and SUDOCS number until they are eligible for
submission on a discard list.
4. Duplicated non-depository publications or publications replaced by
another format may be discarded, according to the Michigan
guidelines, provided that those documents of possible significance to
another depository library are handled through the discard lists.
5. The Reference secretary prepares discard lists according to the
Guidelines for Michigan Federal Depository Libraries <http://www.
Federal government documents which are considered permanent additions to the
collection shall be bound. Periodicals and census reports will be bound prior to their
transfer to the stacks. Annuals, monographic titles, and monographic series with paper
covers will be bound through library-wide stacks maintenance or circulation procedures
when the binding integrity is compromised.
Second copy of a title when the first copy has been bound
Incomplete looseleaf services
Titles which exceed the 2" limit and cannot be split
Titles with narrow margins
Pamphlets of a temporary value
When a title cannot be bound for physical reasons, it will be placed in an acid-free
Missing issues of serial titles are claimed through the Documents Expediting
Project before being sent to the bindery. If a missing issue cannot be replaced, any
microform equivalent to the issue is noted in the printed volume.
The Documents Center has participated in library-wide disaster planning since its
inception in 2000. The most valuable segments of the Graduate Library's government
documents collection are duplicated on archival quality microfiche, covered by insurance,
and replaceable. The Documents Center's primary focus is preserving unique catalog
records until they can be converted to the on-line catalog, a reference collection of older
printed materials, the 1990 printed Decennial Census and CD-ROM monographs.
Federal Collection Development
The Documents Center supports the Graduate Library depository collection with a
broad range of non-depository indexes, microform collections, and electronic materials to
improve access and to preserve federal government information.
Special attention is given to:
1. Rare historical materials (19th Century executive branch publications,
20th Century declassified documents)
2. Congressional publications, both depository and non-depository, on
silver halide microfiche
3. Statistical publications, both depository and non-depository, in various
4. Networked web products (e.g. Congressional and statistical indexes,
declassified materials, World News Connection)
The Documents Center maintains deposit accounts with the Government Printing
Office, the National Technical Information Service and the Census Bureau.
The University Library retains membership in the Documents Expediting Project
to facilitate claims for non-depository materials. The divisional libraries are encouraged
to seek free copies of federal monographs or serials that are not included in the federal
depository library program. The Media Union Library has been designated a patent
All GPO depository collections and corresponding reference
services are available to the public regardless of residency and free of charge. All
tangible documents may be read and photocopied within the library. Persons
off-campus should contact the Documents Desk by telephone (734-764-
` 0410) or e-mail (Documents.Center@umich.edu) in advance to determine
whether the publication is available in the building, in circulation, or in
remote storage. The Documents Center will order material for off-campus
users from remote storage if they are planning weekend visits when the
storage facility is closed. Special arrangements can be made at the
Reserve Desk for consulting federal depository documents on class
Unless specifically designated as reference material, documents may be
circulated to University of Michigan students, faculty, and staff according to non-
document circulation policies (time limits, recalls, etc.) in the various campus
libraries. CD-ROMS located in the Documents Center circulate by special
permission of the librarian if the Documents Center does not have the appropriate
software or large quantities of data are needed.
Circulation and inter-library loan policies for federal depository documents
to the public are consistent with those for non-documents. Federal documents
which normally circulate to University of Michigan affiliates and CD-ROMS for
which the Documents Center does not have software may be circulated to those
who purchase library cards and or sent on Inter-Library Loan to the requester's
The four-year cycle of public workstations enables the University Library
to meet GPO's Minimal Technical Guidelines for at least one workstation in
every nodal library. As of 2002, computer workstations for federally-produced 3-
1/2" diskettes, CD-ROMs, DVDs, and web sites, as well as telnet and ftp, are
readily available to the public, although use may be limited to research materials
pertinent to an individual library unit's collection. The Media Union maintains
equipment to read 5-1/4" diskettes, although material previously distributed on
this medium is available for ftp from the Indiana University Floppy Disk Project
Should authentication be required to access library workstations in the
future, guest passwords will be available to the public. The library will attempt to
negotiate contracts which permit public walk-in use of commercial web sites
providing supplementary access to federal depository information.
Tangible Electronic Products
Software for diskettes and CD-ROMS will be loaded upon receipt for
those titles of anticipated use. Software will be loaded upon request within one
workday for tangible electronic products which are not currently installed.
Documents Center staff provide basic access services (locating the CD and the
computer on which software is mounted, opening the program) and may
specialize in the details of the most frequently-used programs. CD-ROMS for
which the Documents Center does not have software may be circulated to those
who purchase library cards and or sent on Inter-Library Loan to the requester's
The suggested printing limit from a Documents Center workstation is 20
pages. Users may copy a section of a lengthier document to Wordpad for printing
purposes or download larger files to a floppy disk or zip disk. Floppy disks are
available for purchase on the third floor of the Science Library, just inside the
Documents Center Web Site
The Documents Center web site <http://www.lib.umich.edu/
govdocs/> is a gateway to government information and available to Internet users
worldwide. It provides a combination of agency and subject access to government
and non-government web sources of government information. Whenever
possible, public access sources are listed as alternatives to campus-licensed web
The Documents Center provides reference service regardless of
University affiliation or residency. Every attempt is made to provide the correct
answer for the user's level of need. When an inquiry cannot be answered by the
Documents Center staff, it will be referred to a person, library, or government
agency with specific contact information given. Advance phone calls or e-mail to
the referred organization will be made whenever feasible.
Questions may be submitted to the Documents Center in-person,
via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), via telephone (734-764-0410) or via letter
(Documents Center, 203 Hatcher Library, The University of Michigan, Ann
Arbor, Michigan 48109). Although every attempt is made to answer a question
within 48 hours, priority is given to University of Michigan affiliates and
Michigan residents. Remote users whose questions cannot be answered via the
internet will be referred to a specific depository library in their region which is
known or is likely to have the information they need.