Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy: U.S. Government Documents


Marcive records for tangible and online materials currently received through the depository program are purchased and loaded in the library catalog. In 2005, the MSU Libraries and the Library of Michigan Documents departments decided to receive a single subscription for Marcive records for online depository documents for their combined catalog.

In 1996, a retrospective cataloging project provided records for post-1976 publications. Publications from some agencies such as the Census Bureau have been comprehensively cataloged. There have been occasional projects to perform retrospective cataloging of small parts of the pre-1976 collection, but no systematic effort has been implemented. Small series continue to be cataloged when resources are available. Current emphasis for such projects is for undigitized monographs.

All current gift and non-depository materials housed in the Documents collection are cataloged. SuDoc classification numbers are created by the Government Information Librarian when necessary to facilitate cataloging.

MARC records are acquired and loaded for purchased collections when available. Recent acquisitions such as the U.S. Congressional Serial Set have had records loaded. Another priority is to identify record sources for non-depository electronic materials. Selected Department of Energy records have been loaded as a result.

Subject specialists (including the Government Information Librarian) are also currently able to select electronic materials for cataloging. This, combined with the lack of timeliness in receipt of GPO’s records and uncertainty regarding whether specific publications or resources will be distributed through the depository program, often leads to confusion regarding internal MSU responsibilities for cataloging online materials. Reporting of unreported publications to GPO ensures inclusion in the depository program, cataloging and distribution of records to other depositories, and inclusion in GPO’s digital archive. As such, before cataloging of such materials is done at MSU, the Government Information Librarian should be consulted. The Government Information Librarian will then verify future receipt of records or report unreported publications to GPO. This benefits all depositories, and reduces duplication of effort in the MSU Libraries. The Government Information Librarian will focus on acquiring cataloging for electronic government publications or resources not within the scope of the depository program (for example Congressional Research Service reports).


Most documents are housed in the separate US Documents collection, shelved by SuDoc number. The major exceptions to this are cartographic materials in print and electronic formats, most of which are housed in the Map Library, print Census material which are located on the first floor of the Main Library, and microfiche which are located on 2 West of the Main Library. Some documents are housed in subject collections as appropriate, including Main Library Reference and Special Collections. Depository documents are occasionally cataloged for the general collection. These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and are exceptions to normal practice.

Housing of non-depository government information publications is made on a case-by-case basis, with preference given to collocation of materials in the Documents collection.


Replacement decisions for lost or stolen copies are made on a case-by-case basis, based on use, reference value, and availability in alternative formats.

Claims that are not filled are forwarded to the Government Information Librarian for consideration for purchase.


Most superseded documents and duplicate copies are discarded. All duplicate copies and other weeded materials are offered to the regional library at the University of Minnesota and to other depositories in Michigan before disposal, in accordance with the guidelines outlined in the Legal Requirements and Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program and in accordance with the Minnesota Region U.S. Depository Publications Disposal Guide. The majority of depository materials are retained indefinitely.


Preservation and binding decisions follow the general guidelines established by the Main Library.