Federal Depository Shipping List Timeline

Notes from Shelflist Cards = For shipments no.1(1899:Jan.)-1282(1906:June), a shipment number was assigned to each package wrapped upon any one day.

Depository Shipments - nos.1/2(1899:Jan.)-#29/31(1900?)
#1(1899:Jan. ??) - Shipment lists started. Kept on cards. One slip per package. Each document is a package.
#31(1900:Mar ??) - Last invoice listed on cards-only.
Notes from Shelfist Cards = The record for nos. 1-31 is found only on the cards for invoices arranged by classification and serial numbers. This file is on Mrs. Hanner's desk, at present.

Shipments to Depositories - nos.32/49(1900:Apr.)-#1193/1216(1905:Dec.)
#32(1900:Apr. ??) - First MoCat-only listing. Listings appear in “Shipments to Depositories” section at the back.
#196(1900:Dec. ??) - Last listing in MoCat-only.
#197(1900:Dec. ??) - Listed in both MoCat and on "sheets."
#1216(1905:Dec. ??) - Last invoice listed in MoCat.
Notes from Shelflist Cards = As listed in the Monthly catalogs, the shipment numbers run from 1-49 inclusive and begin again with 1. By counting up these groups of 49, we find the last one listed in the Monthly catalog of Dec. 1905 would be 1216 and the text corresponds to that of no. 1216 as listed on the sheets.

Depository Shipments – nos.1217/1238-#1287
#1217(1906:Jan.) – Only available on sheets.
#1282(1906:June ??) - Last of individual invoices. End of sheet-only availability.
#1283(1906:Sept. 26) - Invoices are now monthly. One numbered invoice per month, listing all publications sent out that month.
#1287(1907:Jan.) – Last of title.

Depository Invoice - 1288-1714
#1288(1907:Feb.) - Title change to “Depository Invoice”
#1369(1913:Nov. 29) - Listing of new class numbers assigned first appears in response to demand for classification information.
1922 – Selection becomes mandatory with no library receiving documents they have not chosen to receive. First selection list, “Classified list of United States government publications available for selection by depository libraries,” dated July 1, 1922, features SuDoc stems but no item numbers. Entries are in card/slip format.
#1598(1933:Jan. 31) - Item numbers appear on Invoices.
#1714(1942:Sept. 30) - Depository Invoices ceased due to wartime staffing issues. See Monthly Catalog, Nov 1942, p.1217.
Nov. 1942 - Start of Black Dot in Monthly Catalog.
Notes from Shelfist Cards = [In the 1950s, the Library of Congress had copies of older shipping lists on microfilm. Microreproduction office could provide copies on demand, for price]

Daily depository Shipping list - January 1951-Oct 1981
Jan. 1951 - Daily depository Shipping list start. Numbered sequentially, one list per day (covering multiple boxes).
Late 1970's - one list per box (multiple lists per day).

Depository Shipping List/Shipping List - Nov. 1981-
1983:Sept. - Last of sequentially numbered S/L (#180430-S on Oct. 7, 1983) See Administrative Notes - v.4:no.18(1983:Nov.) & v.5:no.1:p.2(1984:Jan.)
1983:Oct. – New numbering arrangement: [Format Letter]-[YYMMDD]-[seq]. Sequence number starts at 1 each day. Last list of day is suffixed with # symbol. First list is P831007-2 (Administrative Notes, v.4:no.13:p.2(1983:Aug.). The desire was to incorporate date into the number so they would not have to maintain a separate date file. This largely failed as Libraries didn't know if they were missing days or if no lists were sent. Calendars of Shipping List numbers were printed in Administrative Notes.
1985:Jan. - New numbering sequence starts: YYYY-####-[format letter]. See Administrative Notes, v.5:no.13(1984:Oct.)
MoCat, Dec. 1985 - S/L #'s begin to appear in entries. Numbers also appear on HSL cards from this time.

Where to find old Shipping Lists?



Public printing in war and peace, p.111-113 - https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015078050401?urlappend=%3Bseq=125%3Bownerid=13510798895621407-137

Public Documents Highlights - GovInfo

Administrative Notes - GovInfo

Administrative Notes: Technical Supplement (ANTS) - GovInfo

Selective Libraries and Item Numbers

Early distribution

In the beginning, all depository libraries received all distributed materials. At the time, the Superintendent of Documents could only distribute printed, bound material that were not administrative or confidential. Individual congressional documents were not considered “bound.” Processed documents (such as mimeographs or photocopies) were considered to be non-printed. Congressional hearings and committee prints were considered internal use or administrative in nature. These restrictions slowly loosened over time.

The rise of Selective Libraries and Item Numbers

The desire for depositories to be able to choose the kind and quantity of materials they receive has existed since 1895. Librarians and multiple Superintendent of Documents all said the same thing - Libraries and the populations they serve are all unique. A selection plan should exist in order to reduce waste and to get the most relevant documents to the libraries who desire them the most. It took until 1922 for that to actually materialize.

1922 – Selective Depositories begin. Selection becomes mandatory with no library receiving documents they have not chosen to receive. First selection list, “Classified list of United States government publications available for selection by depository libraries,” dated July 1, 1922 [MoCat (July 1922) p.26] is alphabetical by department. Features SuDoc stems but no item numbers. Entries are in card/slip format.

Dec. 1930 - “Classified list of United States government Periodical Publications available for selection by depository libraries” (Dec 1930). This is the second of the original 5 selection lists. [Item nos. 1-200? Cannot find online copy to confirm].

Sept. 1931 - Third classified selection list, “Classified list of United States government publications where title and contents are similar in character, published annually and at intervals, available for selection by depository libraries.” Covers item nos.201-600. This is an actual list rather than card form. States “Periodical Publications” covers Item nos. 1-200.

July 1932 - Fourth Classification list, “Classified list of United States government publications issued in series or of a miscellaneous character, available for selection by depository libraries.” Covers Item nos. 601-840.

Depository Invoice #1598(1933:Jan. 31) - Item numbers first appear on Depository Invoices.

Dec. 15, 1934 – “List of United States government emergency agency publications available for selection by depository libraries.” 5th of original selection lists.

Dec. 1935 (published 1936) - Fully overhauled “Classified list of United States government publications available for selection by depository libraries.” Supersedes all previous lists. Item numbering restarts at 1. Item numbering remains volatile with numbering often changing year to year. This list would be revised a number of times including 19411947.

Sept. 1942 – Depository Invoices discontinued due to war time labor shortages.

Nov. 1942 – Black dot introduced to MoCat to indicate distribution. Most entries also feature item number.

Jan. 1951 – Item numbers from the 1950 revision of the Classified list are introduced in the MoCat.

Feb. 1951 – “List of classes in 1950 revision of classified list of United states Government publications by departments and bureaus.” Revised multiple times under this title.

Aug. 1959 – “List of classes of United States government publications distributed to depository libraries.”

Aug. 1960 – “List of classes of United States government publications available for selection by depository libraries.” This title remains to this day. More recent revisions are available online via FDLP.

How Selection system worked (from 1955 manual)

A new depository would be sent two packs of identical cards. Each card represented a single item number and featured the SuDoc and a brief description/title of the material covered. To select an item, a library would place their depository library number on the line on BOTH SETS. One set was to be kept intact by the library for reference purposes, the other set was to be sent BACK to GPO and kept on file.

In the 1970s, slips for new item numbers were sent out as added pages on the Shipping List. Libraries were to cut out the slips and process accordingly. Through the 1980s and 1990s, this process was changed to include new communication options such as FAX. In 1997, the annual item selection process was automated through an online portal. Although the portal has changed, selection remains an online process.

Automatic / Direct Mail - Things that distributed without Shipping List.

In order to expedite timely delivery, a select list of high-volume, time sensitive publications were mailed to depositories directly from the printer rather than through the Public Documents Office. As a result, no invoice or shipping list entry was generated. Special rules existed on how to claim missing automatic mail publications. When this practice began is unknown. The oldest reference found thus far in regards to materials sent ahead of schedule is from 1908, however publications were still noted on the monthly invoices.

Only the Congressional Record daily edition and Federal Register are known to have distributed “directly” to depositories until the program was opened to other titles in 1974. By the time the program was shut down in 2000, nearly two dozen titles, some in both print and microfiche formats, had been distributed via Direct/Automatic Mail. Listings of titles can be found in scattered issues of Public Documents Highlights and Administrative Notes.

Earlier distribution to Depository Libraries” [MoCat (Dec. 1908), Notes of General Interest, p.225. [Note about direct mailing]. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uiuo.ark:/13960/t2g73k30m?urlappend=%3Bseq=233

GPO makes changes in shipping documents to depositories. Documents to the People, v.3, no. 3 (Jan. 1975), p.15. (Expansion of direct mail. See Shipping list #7441, Nov. 25, 1974). https://hdl.handle.net/2027/inu.30000003627993?urlappend=%3Bseq=83%3Bownerid=13510798896943235-119

13 Direct Mail titles switched to regular shipments. Administrative Notes, v.20, no.16 (Oct. 1999), p.37-39. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GOVPUB-GP3-c253ec49183aa7a9a421c39580787fd5/pdf/GOVPUB-GP3-c253ec49183aa7a9a421c39580787fd5.pdf