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Collection Development Policy: Government Documents


The Hatfield Library, located in the 5th United States Congressional District of Oregon, was designated a selective Federal Depository Library in 1969.  The library participates in the Depository Library Program as outlined in Title 44 in the United States Code, and as administered by the United States Government Printing Office.  According to the requirements of this program, the library staff promotes usage and provides access to government information to members of the Willamette University community—its primary user group-- and to residents of the 5th U.S. Congressional District.  The district includes Lincoln, Marion, Polk, and Tillamook counties, most of Clackamas County, and part of Benton and Multnomah counties.  According to the 2000 Census, the population of the district is 684,280.  The distribution of the population is approximately 80% urban and 20% rural.

Selection, Scope, Level of Collecting, and Formats

The Associate University Librarian for Access and Technical Services together with the Periodicals and Documents Manager coordinate the selection of government documents and supporting materials. The library’s subject liaison librarians are consulted as necessary.  A review of the selection profile with the Federal Depository Library Program is conducted annually.

The library currently selects approximately 29% of the materials available through the Federal Depository Library Program.  In general, the following criteria are used to determine the item selection profile:

  • Support of Willamette University’s academic program
  •  Availability of information in other sources
  • Technical level of material
  • Geographic area covered (especially Pacific Northwest)
  • General user interest
  • Fulfillment of responsibility to keep citizens informed
  •  Holdings of other depository libraries in the area

Scope and Level of Collecting
The primary function of the Government Documents collection at the Hatfield Library is to support the educational mission of Willamette University.  Based on size and strength of academic departments, the following subject areas are given high priority when determining item selections: earth science, economics, education, environmental science, health and medicine, history, and politics.

In support of the university’s graduate program in business, government publications in the areas of accounting, business, finance, government, human resources, organizational behavior, public policy, and quantitative methods are selected.

Generally, annual administrative reports of federal executive and administrative agencies, as well as major statistical compilations from statistics producing agencies are comprehensively collected.  The library’s selection profile includes significant collections of publications from the following U.S. government agencies:

  • Bureau of the Census
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Executive Office of the President
  • Congress (including supporting legislative agencies and commissions)


Additionally, numerous publications are selected from:

  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of State
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Library of Congress
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Small Business Administration

Since the Willamette University Law Library maintains major compilations of federal laws, rules and regulations, administrative decisions and rulings, the Hatfield Library does not select these materials.  Furthermore, the Hatfield Library generally does not collect maps, posters, or forms.

Because of its relatively recent designation as a depository library, the Hatfield Library does not maintain an extensive historical document collection.  The Oregon State Library (OSL) is Oregon’s Regional Federal Depository Library, with a distributed housing arrangement maintained at OSL, Portland State University Library, University of Oregon Library, and Oregon State University Library.  Each of these depository libraries is responsible for maintaining historical collections in designated SuDoc classification areas.

Some effort is made to add historical documents to the collection when other depositories in the region offer them.  Needs and offers lists and electronic discussion groups are monitored regularly to identify these materials.

The Library attempts to select government information in formats that are appropriate to content and usage.  Formats available include paper, microfiche, and electronic.

Weeding, Retention, and Access

Weeding and Retention
The Government Documents collection is evaluated as needed, and within Depository Library Program guidelines.  Documents that no longer fit the selection criteria are withdrawn at the discretion of the Associate University Librarian for Technical Services and the Periodicals and Documents Manager.  Withdrawals are done in accordance with depository regulations as stated in the Instructions to Depository Libraries and guidelines established by the regional depository library in Oregon.

 Documents that are considered candidates for withdrawal include:

  • Superseded publications
  • Executive summaries (for which the full report has been received)
  • Newsletter and announcements of minimal value after 5 years
  • Duplicate copies (primarily gifts)
  • Damaged or poorly preserved documents that are available in other local depository libraries

Bibliographic access to the government documents collection is provided via the Hatfield Library Catalog, the Internet, and other reference tools available in the library.  All documents received since 1996 have been cataloged; a project to catalog the remainder of the documents collection is nearing completion.  Reference assistance is provided at the library’s Reference Desk during regularly scheduled hours.  The Hatfield Library has designated computers for public Internet access. Wireless access is available via the campus public network.    

Willamette University

Willamette University Libraries

Mark O. Hatfield Library
900 State Street.
Salem Oregon 97301
Pacific Northwest College of Art Library
511 NW Broadway.
Portland Oregon 97209