The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 16, Number 1
Feb 1992


Types of Government Documents with Enduring Value

In July 1990, the Government Printing Office (GPO) surveyed Federal Depository Libraries to identify those categories of government documents which are considered essential for long-term preservation, and which should therefore be printed on alkaline paper.

The survey was developed after consulting members of the library community and other interested parties, and was pretested in June 1990.

Although other methods of document identification, yielding more precise results, could have been used, the group agreed that the most practical method of identifying materials was to use the 17 categories of documents specified in the "Guidelines for the Provision of Government Publications for Depository Library Distribution."

In conjunction with completing the survey, many libraries added written comments. Some librarians were concerned that, even in categories identified as essential for preservation, titles rapidly superseded need not be printed on alkaline paper. Several librarians also urged GPO to review individual publications prior to printing to ensure that an important publication in a "non-alkaline" category would be considered for printing on alkaline paper.

The following tables display the survey results. (Note: The full set of tables and graphs were published in Administrative Notes: Newsletter of the Federal Depository Library Program, v. 11, no. 19, Sept. 15, 1990, p. 2-7. Only two of the three tables, and none of the graphs, are reproduced here.) Any questions concerning the survey should be directed to the Chief, Depository Services, at 202/275-1119.

Alkaline Paper Survey

Library Type

Total # in Number

Program Responding

% of Total

Academic General

768

455

33.20

Academic Law

155

46

29.68

Public

287

83

28.92

Federal Agency

66

14

21.21

Federal Court

5

1

20.00

Service Academy

10

2

20.00

State Library

51

20

39.22

State Court

30

7

23.33

Special

25

7

28.00

Totals

1,397

435

31.14

No. of Votes for Alkaline Paper for Each Type of Publication, Ranked by Number of Votes

Publication Category

Category Number

No. of Votes*

Legal Materials

13

381

Monographs

17

359

Statistics

15

344

Journals, Periodicals

11

322

Catalogs, Bibliographies

9

270

Maps, Atlases

7

250

Reports

10

246

Proceedings

5

221

Handbooks, Manuals

2

166

*Category numbers are taken from the Guidelines for the Provision of Government Publications for Depository Library Distribution, GPO Circular Letter 320, June 21, 1990.

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