Government Publications Collection Development Policy

Federal Publications Collection


Southern Oregon University Hannon Library has been a selective depository for Federal publications for the Second Congressional District of Oregon since approximately 1953. The Library is depository number 0507 in the Federal Depository Library Program of the Government Printing Office. Consistent with Title 44, Chapter 19 of the United States Code and Hannon Library's general collection development policy statement, the priorities of the Government Publications Department are to provide quality reference service and free and easy access to government information in all forms, both to our own students and faculty, and to the constituents of the Second Congressional District of Oregon. As a federal depository we may receive any U.S. government publication available to the public, with the responsibility for holding and providing access to these publications for at least 5 years. The Southern Oregon University Hannon Library Government Publications Department complies with the Federal Depository Library Handbook and places a great priority on both the excellence of the government publications collection and the service offered to our patrons.

Selection Responsibility

Selection of government documents is made by the Government Information Resources Coordinator in consultation with other librarians as needed. New items offered by the Government Printing Office are selected or rejected with the needs of our students, faculty and community patrons in mind. Fugitive agency publications and duplicates of Federal and State publications are actively pursued, especially for high interest and local subject materials. Lists of discarded documents posted by other libraries to GovDoc-L and the Needs and Offers List are consulted when time allows for retrospective collection development.

Materials Collected and Disposition

The Federal Government publications collection consists of depository documents in paper copy, microfiche, CD-ROM, and web-only publications. Publications are organized using the Superintendent of Documents Classification system (SuDocs), and most items are housed in the Government Publications Department. Selected reference titles and periodicals, classified by the Library of Congress Classification, are housed elsewhere in the library.

Since 2005 Hannon Library has fully cataloged all U.S. documents with the intention of making them a permanent part of the Government Publications collection and easily accessible to our patrons through the general online catalog. In addition we continue to retrospectively catalog high interest older documents. Other libraries in Oregon can thus identify our documents holdings through the OCLC database, WorldCat, for resource sharing. In addition, government publications accessible only over the Internet are cataloged to provide the same kind of easy access as tangible items in the collection. The Department willingly loans out most materials for interlibrary loan requests from the Summit catalog and from other sources in Oregon, unless they are extremely high use or reference items.

Weeding is an essential part of good collection management. Federal documents, not of lasting use or interest, are often discarded after five or more years on the shelf in accordance with the instructions of the Federal Depository Library Handbook. We request permission from the shared regional documents libraries at the State Library in Salem, Portland State University, University of Oregon and Oregon State University when discarding titles. Documents of lasting interest are kept permanently at the discretion of the Documents Librarian. Hannon Library permanently retains all Oregon-related federal publications. We selectively bind government publications as use warrants this procedure.

The Department attempts to replace items of permanent value which are missing by requesting them from the issuing department or by purchase from the Government Printing Office. If necessary, we inter-library loan the item and photocopy it for our collection.

Subject Parameters:

The U.S. Government Publications collection represents about 31% of the item number categories currently distributed by the Government Printing Office through the Federal Depository Library Program. The department receives about 300 U.S. documents per month, including books, periodicals, maps, CD-ROMS, posters, pamphlets, and microfiche. In addition we provide access to about 750 new internet only documents through our catalog every month. Subject emphasis for item numbers received through depository distribution is based on the teaching and research needs of the academic programs of Southern Oregon University and the needs of the members of the second Congressional District of Oregon. Depository documents that are not available because they do not fall into these subject areas, or documents more than five years old, can be inter-library loaned from other depositories in Oregon, especially Portland State University and the University of Oregon.

In light of the interests of the Second Congressional District of Oregon and the curriculum of Southern Oregon University, the SOU Government Publications collection has particular strength in the following areas: agriculture, forest and rangeland management, census, education, environmental policy, GAO publications, health policy, criminology, labor statistics, space, presidential commissions and domestic policy, foreign policy, and Congressional hearings. Specifically:

1. Department of Agriculture Publications:

The collection places special emphasis on Pacific Northwest forestry, particularly those of the Pacific Northwest Research Station from 1965 to the present. Soil Survey Reports from Oregon, California and Washington issued by the Soil Conservation Service and U.S. Forest Service environmental impact statements concerning Oregon, Washington, and California are acquired. We actively pursue locally produced "fugitive" and "grey" publications from the U.S. Forest Service..

2. Commerce - Census:

The library has a large collection of Census data from 1880 to the present, particularly for the states of Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Idaho, Hawaii and Alaska, including Census CD-ROMs for these states and U.S. Summary data.

3. Defense

We have a large collection of various military histories.

4. Education:

We receive nearly every item series available from the Department of Education, including access to the full set of ERIC reports through subscription to EbscoHost. These provide strong support for our Education curriculum.

5. Government Accountability Office Reports:

The Documents Librarian regularly reviews the GAO monthly online list of available Reports and Testimony for important titles to add to the collection in paper format. As a result the library has large holdings of significant GAO reports in paper which are heavily utilized by writing and social science classes and the public.

6. Health and Human Services:

Health and Human Services publications are vital to the Nursing and Social Sciences curriculum at SOU. We maintain large holdings in this area, especially publications from the National Center for Health Statistics, the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration, and the National Institutes of Mental Health, Drug Abuse and Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. All of these materials are used by the public and by University patrons.

7. Interior:

Our strong holdings of Department of Interior publications emphasize those of the U.S. Geological Survey. We have U.S.G.S. Bulletins 1884- , Water-supply Papers 1901- , and Professional Papers 1900- . All series are broken files, but all have significant runs in paper. We also have nearly complete runs of National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife, and Bureau of Land Management publications, from the early 1970's on, particularly those relating to Oregon and surrounding States. The members of the 2nd Congressional District have a strong interest in grazing concerns, forestry, and other public land issues. We actively pursue locally produced "fugitive" and "grey" publications from the U.S. BLM. We select all Bureau of Indian Affairs publications in light of our minor in Native American studies and regional interests.

8. Congressional Hearings, reports, prints, and documents:

All Congressional materials are selected in paper format because they are high-use items and support many public policy areas. These documents are discarded after 5 years unless of significant local or topical interest.

Southern Oregon Digital Archives

The Southern Oregon Digital Archives was initially funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. We have developed a digital library primarily from the SOU Hannon Library’s rich collections of federal, state, and county publications. The Library is concentrating its efforts on two collections of regional materials pertaining to the Southern Oregon Bioregion and the First Nations/ Tribal Collection.

Over the past 30 years the Southern Oregon University Library has actively collected hundreds of federal and state government publications relating to the Southern Oregon Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion. Along with those publications we receive through the U.S. Government Printing Office and the Oregon State Library, we have made special efforts to collect “fugitive” and “gray” documents, those materials not normally distributed through these channels. Many are written by researchers that are not regular staff members of the state or federal government, but who contract with regional government offices to do environmental research.

We have concentrated on digitizing those Federal and State government publications we own which cover Curry, Josephine, Jackson or Klamath Counties and also materials covering the area immediately south of the California border. You can find volumes on Crater Lake; the Rogue and Klamath Rivers; Winema, Siskiyou, Klamath and Rogue River National Forests; watershed assessments from many of the local watershed councils, and much other research from a variety of local, federal and state agencies. We have taken newer documents from the websites of these agencies with the goal of permanently preserving what can be very ephemeral material.

SODA is accessible from a link on the homepage of the SOU Hannon Library. It currently contains over 2000 volumes of full-text material, all searchable by subject, keyword, title, and author.


The Government Information Resources Coordinator and the Library Technician III assigned to the department provide primary reference assistance for the Government Publications collection. Other librarians provide back-up assistance when documents staff is unavailable. The Government Information Resources Coordinator teaches a variety of classes on government publications and produces many user guides and webliographies.

Bibliographic records for approximately 45,000 (2010) U.S. government publications are loaded into the SOU Hannon Library's online catalog. About 3000 federal records are added each year.

Internet Access

The federal government has an increasingly larger presence on the Internet, where thousands of full text publications can be found. The SOU Government Publications Department has created and supports a web page to give full access to electronic government information and publications for patrons of the depository. We also load bibliographic records for electronic monographs, serials, and government websites into the public catalog where they will be accessible by patrons. We actively assist any patron in finding and using government websites or electronic information in any format.

The Oregon State Publications Collection

The Oregon state documents collection contains over 11,400 cataloged titles (2006), one of the largest collections of this material in the state. The SOU Hannon Library has regularly acquired state documents since the early 1960's. The Oregon State Documents Depository Program provides state documents to ten libraries in Oregon. In 1979 the State Library created the ORDOCS classification scheme, a system of call numbers for Oregon publications based upon the Superintendent of Documents classification. Each new State publication now receives an ORDOCs number before it is distributed and is fully cataloged into the OCLC system by the Oregon State Library.


All Oregon documents are retained permanently in the SOU Oregon Government Publications collection. The Government Publications Librarian has re-cataloged older Oregon state publications using the ORDOCS classification, with a small part of the collection remaining to be reclassified. All current Oregon documents are fully cataloged and easily accessible through the Hannon Library online catalog. Other libraries in Oregon can identify significant documents holdings through the Summit online catalog for the purpose of resource sharing. The Government Publications Department houses most items except for selected reference titles and other items classified by the Library of Congress Classification that are housed elsewhere in the library.

The Oregon state government has an increasingly larger presence on the Internet, where many full text publications can be found. We actively assist any patron in finding and using state government websites to gain access to information and electronic publications. The Government Publications Department actively pursues "fugitive" state documents from those agencies who choose to ignore the depository law in Oregon. The Library provides funds to purchase state publications when necessary.

The Government Information Resources Coordinator and the Library Technician III assigned to the department provide primary reference assistance for the Oregon State Publications collection. Other librarians provide back-up assistance when documents staff is unavailable.

D. Hollens -- Revised January, 2010