The National Collection of U.S. Government Public Information is a geographically dispersed collection of the corpus of Federal Government public information, accessible to the public at no cost. The development, maintenance, and preservation of the National Collection is critical to providing free, ready, and permanent public access to Federal Government information, now and for future generations.
What’s in the National Collection?
The scope of the National Collection is all public information products of the U.S. Government, regardless of format or medium, produced by Federal employees or paid for with Federal funds. Declassified materials and materials whose privacy considerations have expired are also included.
The network of Federal depository libraries serve as stewards for all of the materials distributed in tangible format throughout the history of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) – our shared, geographically dispersed National Collection. The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has administered a distributed network of Federal depository libraries since the FDLP was transferred to GPO in 1895. Materials deposited in Federal depository libraries remain the property of the Federal Government and are provided through GPO appropriated funds. In 1978, GPO distributed “Guidelines for the Depository Library System” that stated, “all depository libraries should be considered as part of a network of libraries” at the local, regional, and national level, and therefore, the materials held by the depositories in this national network constitute the tangible, historic, distributed National Collection. GPO’s Cataloging & Indexing Program endeavors to develop a comprehensive national bibliography of U.S. Government public information, accessible through the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP), to provide the public with a discovery tool for the National Collection.
The digital National Collection includes govinfo (GPO’s ISO 16363 certified Trustworthy Digital Repository), content harvested by GPO, and content hosted on Federal agency websites. GPO partners also help build the digital collection by contributing digitally reformatted content for ingest into govinfo, or hosting digital content in their own repositories. The digital National Collection is essential for providing free, ready, and permanent access to Federal Government information, now and for future generations.
How can your Federal depository library support the National Collection?
You are already making a valuable contribution by participating in the FDLP!
Individual FDLP collections are developed and managed in response to institutional, community, and user needs at the local level, but ensuring future generations have access to Government information requires collaboration at both the regional and national level, and in coordination with GPO. There are many ways your Federal depository library can serve the National Collection.
Discovery & Access
- By inventorying and cataloging your FDLP collection, you directly contribute to identifying the materials that constitute the National Collection and make them accessible to the public.
- Please report Federal documents in your collection that do not have a record in the CGP via askGPO. Depositories serve a critical role in identifying unreported publications.
- GPO’s GitHub site provides options to download cataloging records tailored to your FDLP collection and facilitate access to government resources for your users.
- Cataloging and Metadata Contributors contribute bibliographic records for publications not appearing in the CGP.
Collection Development & Management
- Build your FDLP collection using FDLP eXchange! By posting your local needs in FDLP eXchange, you can automatically match with other depositories offering material, either in your own region, or across the country. By building your historic FDLP collection, you are both meeting the needs of your community, and curating and maintaining our shared National Collection.
- Consider your FDLP collection strengths, and discuss those strengths, and your local user needs, with your designated regional depository and the other selectives in your region.
- Actively manage your collection and weed your tangible materials as appropriate, after the five year retention period and in compliance with FDLP regulations and the disposition procedures set by your designated regional depository.
- Make your designated regional depository and GPO aware of large weeding projects. Your weeded materials can contribute to National Collection digitization efforts, Preservation Steward collections, or other GPO partner programs.
- Review all FDLP rules and regulations for the management of depository collections.
- Partner with GPO to ensure access to and grow the National Collection, now and for future generations:
- Preservation Stewards help preserve the National Collection for future generations. GPO’s ultimate goal is to have a minimum of four geographically dispersed Preservation Stewards for every title held in the National Collection.
- Digital Preservation Stewards make a commitment to retain and make digital resources within scope of the FDLP freely accessible. GPO directs users to these resources via the CGP and persistent URLs (PURLs).
- Digital Content Contributors partner with GPO to provide digital content for ingest into govinfo.
- Digital Access Partners commit to making digital resources from their FDLP collection publicly accessible, and GPO points users to these resources via the CGP and persistent URLs (PURLs).
- Consider your collection environment and condition and consult with GPO preservation and collection management experts including conservation, and preventing and responding to disasters
- Please offer your FDLP discards nationally via FDLP eXchange! Your designated regional depository must review and approve materials weeded from your FDLP collection, but not all regionals require the use of GPO’s FDLP eXchange. Offering weeded material nationally will help Federal depositories outside your region develop their collections.
- Handout: National Collection of U.S. Government Public Information: A Strategy Framework for Building, Preserving and Providing Access to the National Collection (10/2020)
Legal Requirements, Depository Guidance, and Superintendent of Documents Policies
- Legal Requirements & Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program include current legal and Program obligations of libraries in the FDLP.
- Depository Guidance articles contain additional explanations about FDLP regulations, and advice on how to comply with them.
- Superintendent of Documents (SOD) Policies support the U.S. Government Publishing Office’s (GPO’s) mission of “Keeping America Informed” and the mission, vision, and priorities of the GPO’s public information programs. SOD Policies and Guidance pertaining to the management of the National Collection include:
- Depository Guidance Documents (SOD-DGD)
- Federal Depository Libraries Relinquishing Their Designation, SOD-DGD-1-2021 (August 16, 2021)
- 2018-1 Guidelines for Establishing Shared Regional Depository Libraries (October 22, 2018)
- Regional Discard Eligibility Announcements
- Depository Guidance Documents (SOD-DGD)
Presentations and Webinars
- Library Services & Content Management Update (2020 Federal Depository Library Conference)
- Poster: The National Collection of U.S. Government Public Information (2020 Federal Depository Library Conference)
- The 5Ws + H and the National Collection of U.S. Government Public Information Speakers (2019 Federal Depository Library Conference)
- Continuing the Conversation: Ensuring Public Access to a Comprehensive Collection (2018 Federal Depository Library Conference)
- Brainstorming the FDLP Network: Ensuring Continued Public Access to the Comprehensive Collection (Spring 2018 Depository Library Council Virtual Meeting)
Reach out to Federal Depository Support Services via askGPO.