Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy: U.S. Government Documents

A. Anticipated future trends

Government agencies are increasingly publishing current materials electronically and the Government Publishing Office (GPO) is disseminating increasing amounts of depository materials in electronic format. While the GPO has made commitments to electronic archiving, it is not yet clear if a single digital archive is sufficient. Alternative methods of archiving such as LOCKSS-DOCS and print archives are in use to supplement the efforts by the GPO.

The MSU Libraries continues to receive bibliographic records for electronic materials distributed by the GPO. However the large number of publications and resources not captured by the depository program (unreported publications) are a continued cause for concern as the Libraries attempts to create a comprehensive collection to meet all user needs. Local and large-scale efforts to address this are underway.

Electronic publication and dissemination has also affected the roles and services offered by depository libraries and the GPO. Libraries and the GPO are currently reconsidering both the broader depository program as well as basic depository management processes and systems such as the item selection process.

Mass digitization projects of historical depository materials by agencies, individual libraries, consortia such as Google/Big Ten Academic Alliance are ongoing and of sufficient longevity and scale that retention of large parts of the print depository collection at MSU is being evaluated on an ongoing basis.

B. Relationships with other resources

On campus branch or format collections:

There are duplications of significant publications and serials in the Main Library’s main stacks, at the Business Library, and at the Library's off-site storage facility. Closures of branch libraries such as the Biomedical Physical Sciences Library, Engineering Library, and Math Library have already led to significant consolidation of collections, and as space becomes increasingly scarce, this trend will likely continue.

The Libraries participate in a Selective Housing Agreement by which they house DMA and USGS maps for the Library of Michigan. These maps are housed in MSU's Map Library. As a result, this library does not select those item numbers. The MSU Libraries also participated in a cooperative collection development agreement with the Library of Michigan concerning microfiche from the Department of Energy. MSU maintains the retrospective collection up through 1985, and the Library of Michigan has the fiche from that time forward. The GPO discontinued issuing materials in microfiche in 2022. 

The Libraries have also agreed to take referrals from the MSU College of Law concerning Census data. Some specialized law materials are not selected, as they are available in the Law Library.

Regional or network resources:

The MSU Libraries shares a catalog with the Library of Michigan, which is also a selective depository and is in close proximity to the MSU campus. The MSU Libraries also participate in MeLCat, a state-wide catalog and lending service. Such collaborations affect depository operations and collection decisions.

Other Big Ten Academic Alliance libraries, such as Michigan's Regional Depository Library at the University of Minnesota, have strong historic and current collections, as well as large collections of non-depository indexes, finding tools, and supplementary collections. Access to these materials is available through inter-library loan. These regional holdings also affect purchase and cancelation decisions for non-depository or supplementary materials. Collaboration and communication with other Big Ten Academic Alliance Libraries on collection decisions is a strong priority for the Government Information Librarian.