U.S. Government Documents Collection Development Policy

The University of Georgia Libraries was first designated Federal Depository Library as a land grant institution in 1907 and designated as the regional Federal Depository Library for the State of Georgia in 1977. As a regional Federal Depository Library, the UGA Libraries is expected to ensure the comprehensiveness and integrity of a tangible federal documents collection in the state along with appropriate resources to support access to the collection. Collection development activities for the federal documents collection are done in accordance with the Legal Requirements and Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program and the Georgia State Plan for Federal Depository Libraries.

Collection Scope

As a regional Federal Depository Library, the Libraries collects and retains all federal government publications that are distributed through the U.S. Government Publishing Office’s Federal Depository Library Program. The Libraries works to ensure the comprehensiveness of its regional federal documents collection by filling in gaps in the collection with materials received from discard lists from the state’s selective Federal Depository Libraries and elsewhere.

The Libraries collects federal government information in all formats (print, microform, tangible electronic, and digital). As a regional Federal Depository Library, the Libraries is only required to retain a single format of all tangible publications (i.e. if a title is published in both paper and microfiche, the Libraries only has to keep it in one format). In general, the Libraries does not keep or acquire duplicates of federal government documents for its collection. However, consideration will be given to acquiring and retaining duplicate copies of heavily used federal documents that contain information about Georgia or the Southeast.

As a regional Federal Depository Library, the Libraries cannot substitute digital publications for tangible publications unless they meet the criteria described under the U.S. Government Publishing Office’s Regional Discard Policy.

Government publications from federal agencies that were not distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program may be added to enhance the federal documents collection.

Collection Arrangement

Federal government documents are housed in the Map and Government Information Library, the Science Library, the Repository, and the Special Collections Libraries. Most federal documents are shelved using the Superintendent of Documents Classification system; U.S. government maps are either filed alphabetically or classified and filed by Library of Congress call number with non-depository maps.

Collection Access

Locations and holdings information for federal documents published from 1976 to present as well as select older documents are indicated in the UGA Libraries' catalog. Holdings information for federal documents published prior to 1976 is listed in the Map and Government Information Library’s federal documents shelflist. Work to add holdings information to the catalog for federal documents published prior to 1976 is ongoing.

Access to government information – particularly Congressional documents – is also available through a variety of free and subscription databases; however, these resources are intended to supplement rather than replace the tangible federal documents collection.

Most federal government documents circulate for standard loan periods. Items and material types that do not circulate are listed on our Borrowing Policies page.

Collection Maintenance

While regional Federal Depository Libraries are required to permanently retain one copy of all publications distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program in their collections, the Libraries does a limited amount of weeding under certain circumstances:

Duplicate and certain superseded items (e.g. maps and older materials) may be offered to other depository libraries using the ASERL Disposition DatabaseFDLP eXchange, or other appropriate venues. However, per the Legal Requirements and Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program the Libraries is not allowed to sell federal depository publications it does not need.

Binding for current federal 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 stacks maintenance activities.

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

Attempts are made to replace badly worn, damaged, or deteriorating documents by purchase, through discard lists received from the state’s selective Federal Depository Libraries, from the ASERL Disposition DatabaseFDLP eXchange, and other appropriate venues.


Last updated: November 4, 2021