U.S. Federal Government Information 

Mission Statement

Perry Library became a Congressionally designated selective Federal Depository Library in 1963, and operates under the provision of Title 44, U.S. Code, Chapter 19. The primary mission of the federal depository is to provide free, permanent, public access to federal government information in a variety of formats. Increasingly, the depository relies on electronic formats to provide 24/7 access to on-campus and remote users. Electronic versions of selected materials are hotlinked in the Library's online catalog. The depository collections are open to University faculty, students and staff, and to the general public. The collections are designed to meet the information needs of the university community, and the constituents of the 2nd Congressional District of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Old Dominion University is a state-supported metropolitan university with a regional focus. It is a Carnegie Extensive Doctoral/Research institution. The University Factbook for Fall 2005-06 indicates that 16,240 on-campus and 5,095 off-campus students are enrolled with the University. Distance learning is an important initiative of the university.

Demographics of the 2nd Congressional District, Virginia, 109th Congress
(data from the 2005 American Community Survey)

The 2nd Congressional District is comprised of parts of Norfolk and Virginia Beach. The area is rich in history as the port city of Norfolk was settled in 1632. Its contributions to naval military activities and commerce date prior to the Revolutionary War. That tradition continues today as the district is home to the Norfolk Naval Base, and one of the district's main industries is defense. Numerous commercial activities center around international shipping and trade, shipbuilding, and military deployment.

In 2005, the American Community Survey estimated that the 2nd District had a household population of 617,000. Seventy-one percent were white, 22% black, 5% Asian, .5% American Indian and Alaska Native, .5% Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, and 1% reported some other race. Five percent of the population were of Hispanic origin. Approximately 73% of the population were over 18, and 10% were over 65. The median age was 35.1.

In 2005, 89% of people 25 years and over had at least graduated from high school, while 29% had a bachelor's degree or higher. Of these, 10% percent had graduate or professional degrees; 19% had a bachelor's degree; 8% had an associate's degree and 25% had some college but no degree, while 27% had a high school diploma or equivalency.

The median income of households was $53,147. The most common occupations include: 36% management, professional and related occupations; 27% sales and office occupations; 16% service occupations; 11% construction, extraction, maintenance and repair; and 8% in production, transportation and material moving occupations. Seventy-three percent were employed as private wage and salary workers, 22% were Federal, state or local government workers, and 5% were self-employed.

Seventy-two percent lived in single-unit structures, and 80% indicated that they lived in the same residence as one year earlier.

Selection Responsibility

The Government Information Reference Librarian is responsible for the selection and deselection of Federal government publications available through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) of the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). A zero-based review of the depository's profile is completed during the annual June/July cycle. Item lists reflecting the library's profile are obtained by using the Item Lister at

The librarian also meets with the Library's Collection Development Officer to discuss special purchases to support the collection such as reference indexes, microfiche backfiles, and sets requiring special funds. Subscription purchases supporting the depository program include: Lexis-Nexis Congressional, Lexis-Nexis Academic, Lexis-Nexis Statistical, STAT-USA and the U.S. Congressional Serial Set from Readex. Funds for these purchases may come from Old Dominion University Libraries or may be part of the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) a statewide consortium providing joint purchases for digital resources for Virginia universities and colleges.

Other subject bibliographers within the library are encouraged to include a section of core government publications in their "subject specific" collection development policies. The Government Information Reference Librarian is available for consultation and recommendations as needed. These Collection Development Policies are available for review on the library's web page.

Subject Areas and Collection Arrangement

In accordance with Title 44 and GPO's Instructions to Depository Libraries, the Library selects publications from the Government Printing Office's List of Classes of Government Publications Available for Selection by Depository Libraries. Items are selected in order to: (1) meet the academic, research, and informational needs of University faculty, students, and staff and (2) meet the informational and research needs of the general public, especially residents of the Commonwealth's 2nd Congressional District.

Undergraduate programs in education, psychology, sociology/criminal justice, accounting and finance, and nursing have large enrollments. Graduate programs in engineering, oceanography, business administration, education, nursing, and urban studies reflect the University's commitment to scientific research, international studies, and continuing educational programs. New doctoral programs in physical therapy and health research services reflect an ongoing expansion of health sciences opportunities and rely heavily on materials from the Department of Health and Human Services. Many of these areas of study also mirror interests and activities of the larger Congressional District's population. The depository collection reflects these areas of research.

The tangible collection is filed in the Superintendent of Documents Classification system.

General Collection Guidelines

The Library does not select:

Core List of Federal Publications Identified for Collection and Archival Retention

The Government Information Reference Librarian shall develop and maintain a Core List of publications as "archival" or significant collections based on publication type (e.g. agency annual reports, reports to Congress), agencies, and SuDoc classes. Inclusion on the Core List is justified by the historical value of the publication or by the usefulness of maintaining a continuous run of a source for analysis and comparison of data or information over time. The Core List will serve as one guideline for retention and weeding of Federal publications. The Core List identifies titles, types of publications, or agencies whose publications the Library will endeavor to retain on a permanent basis. Exceptions are noted within the List. Other exceptions may be made according to weeding criteria. Inclusion on the core list implies that the item has met one or more of the following criteria:

Examples of Core List by Specific Titles

Soil Surveys (A 57.38:)
Federal Register (AE 2.106/2:) *** Electronic substitution item*** extensive historical microfiche collection
Code of Federal Regulations (AE 2.106/3:)
Public Papers of the President (AE 2.114: )
U.S. Code (Y 1.2/5:)
U.S. Statutes at Large (AE 2.111:)
Statistical Abstract of the United States (C 3.134: )
Budget of the United States (PREX 2.8:)
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (PREX 2.20: )
Foreign Relations of the United States (S 1.1: )
U.S. Treaties & Other International Agreements (S 9.12: )
Congressional Record *** Electronic substitution item*** extensive historical microfilm and fiche collections

Core by Types of Publications

* Annual Reports of selected agencies
* Bound periodicals
* Maps, except when superseded (topographic maps for Virginia and surrounding states)
* Reports to Congress from agencies or commissions on special topics
* Titles containing data for statistical time series (e.g. Statistical Abstract, Census materials including Decennial Censuses, Economic Censuses, County and City Data Book, Current Population Reports, County Business Patterns , and Imports & Exports, Digest of Education Statistics, Vital Statistics of the United States, Uniform Crime Reports, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, CPI, PPI, Employment and Earnings, Survey of Current Business,Occupational Outlook, Economic Report of the President, etc.)

Core by Key Agencies

* Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
* Commerce Dept. (including Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, International Trade Administration, and NOAA )
* Congress, except where reports and documents can be replaced by the U.S. Congressional Serial Set
* Defense (military history)
* Environmental Protection Agency, except ephemera; emphasis on the Chesapeake Bay
* U. S. Geological Survey including selective maps; extensive historical collection of Circulars, Bulletins and Professional Papers
* Health and Human Services (CDC, NIH, NLM, FDC, etc.)
* Labor
* Office of the President
* Smithsonian Institution
* State Department with exceptions


GPO may offer a choice between paper or microfiche for some publications. The Library selects "frequently used" core publications in paper. Space considerations are important, but not paramount in making format decisions. Other formats such as posters, charts, cassettes, audiovisual materials, and ephemera are not deliberately selected, but are occasionally received as part of an item number. Although the library originally selected floppies, they have been deselected as Internet access has proven more effective for providing electronic resources for remote and on-campus users. CD-ROMs are circulated to promote use/retrieval of large data files.

Microfiche is the format of choice for about 75% of the library's hearings, backfiles of the Federal Register and the Congressional Record. These valuable historical resources present long-term storage requirements and microfiche is a format which will allow for growth space and preservation. Many agency annual reports and series are also selected in microfiche.

GPO distributes a number of tangible products in electronic formats such as DVDs/CD-ROMs. Digital publications available from federal agency Internet sites are critical to providing current electronic full text access to users both in the Library and from remote locations. In some cases, publications now exist in electronic format only. These "born digital" materials are "hot linked" in the Library's online catalog to further assist patrons in locating these resources. The Library evaluates the duplication of materials in paper, microfiche, or electronic format and encourages use of online resources. Online resources are increasingly important in supporting the needs of distance education students and the general public.

The library no longer selects the Federal Register or the daily Congressional Record in print. Electronic access via GPO Access has been substituted.

There are over 40 Internet workstations in the reference area, and all provide access to federal Web sites. Two workstations are also designated specifically for finding government information via the Internet and using federal agency DVDs/CD-ROMs. A high-end workstation is also available for scheduled consultations with depository staff in the GP Workroom. Links and finding aids for federal Internet sites are available via the Library's web page under Government Resources.

Selection Tools, Non-Depository Items, Retrospective Sources

Selection Tools:

The Government Information Reference Librarian uses a variety of tools to aid in the selection process. These include: List of Classes of U.S. Government Publications Available for Selection by Depository Libraries, Federal Depository Library Manual, Appendix A, " Suggested Core Collection.", and the Federal Depository Library Manual, Appendix C, " Basic Collection."

Purchase of Commercial Publications to Support and Supplement the Depository Collection -The Government Information Reference Librarian meets with the Library's Collection Development Officer to discuss special purchases to support the collection. The Librarian reviews publishers' catalogs and mailings, scholarly reviews, and monitor's GOVDOC-L to stay current. Some examples include:

Key Purchases:

During the past several years a number of electronic databases / resources have been purchased by the Library and/or in conjuction with VIVA (Virtual Library of Virginia) a statewide consortium. These include: Lexis-Nexis Congressional (ODU/VIVA), Lexis-Nexis Statistical (ODU/VIVA), Lexis-Nexis Academic (ODU), STAT-USA (ODU/VIVA), U.S. Congressional Serial Set via Readex (ODU), and World News Connection (ODU). These online collections provide electronic access for many of the historic collections listed below and extend access to our remote users especially our distance learning students.

The Library still maintains several important historic collections on-site, examples include, CIS Annual (KF49.C62) from 1970-2000; the CIS Serial Set on microfiche with print indexes (Z1223.Z9C5 1975); ASI Annual Abstract & Index 1974-1999 (scattered 2000 monthly holdings) with fiche from 1974-76; and SRI Indexes 1985-1999 (scattered 2000 monthly holdings) with SRI microfiche from 1985-2003. The Library has historical microfiche holdings for the Federal Register (from 1939-1997) and Congressional Record (various vendors and years). The Federal Register's historical fiche collection is frequently used by legal and military patrons in the area. GPOAccess is the electronic archival source for the Federal Register and the Congressional Record from 1994 forward.

Retrospective Sources

The library also owns print indexes to historical materials including: Ames's Comprehensive Indexes, Poore's Catalog, 1909 Checklist, CIS U.S. Serial Set Index, and the Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications.

Resource Sharing

The Library participates in the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA), a statewide consortium, which purchases online resources for state colleges and universities. To support documents research, VIVA has purchased Lexis-Nexis Congressional, Lexis-Nexis Statistical and STAT-USA. Remote access is limited to faculty and students, however, anyone may use these tools at public workstations within the library.

Publications not selected by the Library may be obtained through interlibrary loan (ILLiad) from the state's regional depository at the University of Virginia, and other Federal depositories across the nation. The library has an excellent history of borrowing and lending with the College of William and Mary, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the University of Virginia.

The area is fortunate to have several small selective depositories including: Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk Public Library, and Chesapeake Public Library. The Norfolk Law Library is also a resource serving the community's legal needs as well as the Virginia Beach Public Law Library. These three depositories, and area libraries, permit some specialization in collecting. For example, Joint Forces Staff College may concentrate on internal military manuals, handbooks, and specifications materials while Old Dominion University's Perry Library selects materials in military history, laws, regulations, and statistics. The depositories have a very strong history of cooperative efforts including referrals, training and networking.

Acquisition, Retention, and Disposal (weeding) of U.S. Publications

Methods of Acquisition - The primary method of acquiring U.S. publications is to select materials by Item Number during the annual GPO selection survey. The Library also acquires important publications not available through the FDLP by direct mail from the publishing agencies. Duplicate copies or other types of items for sale can also be purchased with available funds in consultation with the Library's Collection Development Officer.

Gifts and Selections from Depository Weeding Lists - The Library reviews gifts and accepts items which fill in gaps in the collections or support local or regional subject interests. The Library retains the right to refuse a gift which does not meet the needs of the collection. Weeding lists from other depositories are also used to fill perceived gaps in the Core List or to replace damaged or missing items.

Weeding - Federal law requires selective depositories to retain publications for a minimum of five years from the date of receipt. Exceptions include superseded materials, publications containing dated information, and reprints of information found elsewhere. Publications appearing on the Core List shall be maintained indefinitely. Other publications shall be judiciously weeded based on frequency of use, subject collection statements, availability in other formats (e.g. agency Internet site), historic value, and timeliness of the information. The Government Information Reference Librarian consults with staff and has the final responsibility and authority for ensuring compliance with the weeding procedures contained in the Instructions for Depository Libraries and under the guidance of the Regional Librarian. The Government Information Specialist handles day to day weeding projects and consults with the depository coordinator. A major weeding project was conducted in 1997 to prepare for relocation of documents following the building renovation.

Collection Evaluation and Review

The Government Information Reference Librarian shall review the collection statement annually as part of the annual selection/deselection process with GPO. Particular attention will be paid to addressing electronic access and availability of materials to meet patrons' needs and comply with federal policies. Use studies will be conducted as needed. Studies may include circulation statistics, number and type of reference queries, and user surveys.


The Library is a state-supported university. Faculty, students, staff, and members of the general public may use the federal depository collection free of charge within the library. Nominal charges for photocopies and networked Internet printing apply. Users may also choose to download information. The Library makes provisions for most documents to circulate to Virginia residents and Friends of the Library in addition to faculty and students. Moderate circulation fees may apply. The library's website provides portals for easy retrieval/use of federal government materials on the Internet 24/7.

The Library may have additional access policies for non-depository collections, and other library resources and services.

October 3, 1994, jh
Reviewed April 1996, jlj
Revised August 6, 1998, jlj
Revised November 20, 1998, jlj
Revised November 1, 2006, jlj