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last updated: 4/23/2012

Collection Development Policies - International Government Information

Government Information - International

  1. Introduction
    1. Purpose of the policy statement
      This policy provides guidelines which define and clarify the full scope of the IUB Libraries' collection development activities for information produced by International Governmental Organizations and national governments from around the world, assigns responsibility for the development of these collections, and informs library users about the principles upon which the selection of materials is made.

    2. Audience
      The potential audience for this document consists of the following: IU Libraries' (university-wide) patrons (including faculty, staff and students in multiple departments), library staff, and library administration. Additionally colleagues at the CIC Libraries have also requested this information on many occasions.

      The International collection development policy will be reviewed and revised periodically by the librarians and staff in Government Information, Microforms and Statistical Services in conjunction with other Main Library collection managers.

    3. Description of institution/department and clientele
      The International Documents/Governmental Information Collection within GIMSS is similar to approximately 50 to 100 collections within the United States, mainly within large research libraries. These collections support research and study in almost all areas of the university, with emphasis on research at the graduate and faculty level, although many of the resources may also be used by undergraduate courses. Use is predominantly by the disciplines of business, economics, government studies, history, global or international studies, all area studies programs, education, journalism, the health sciences, and environmental affairs. The clientele consists of faculty, students both from IU and surrounding colleges and universities, citizens from around the mid-west, and members of the general public.

      GIMSS personnel consists of 3 FTE librarians and 4 FTE clerical staff members. In addition, it has approximately 5 FTE in student hourly workers. Personnel devoted solely to international collection development include approximately .5 FTE librarian, .5FTE support staff and .25 hourly personnel.

    4. Brief overview of the collection
      International Governmental Organizations Collection: The IU Library, and specifically GIMSS, serves as a depository for the United Nations and European Union publications. Publications and documents from other IGOs and federal governments for non-U.S. nations are acquired selectively.
      1. History of the collection
        In 1942, the IUB Libraries began a separate collection and department for government publications. Because of the quantity of publications being received it was impossible to manually catalog these documents so it was determined to house them as "uncataloged". Separate manual records, using a system that organized the collections by government/agency/series, were maintained until 1997 when the Government Publications Review recommended cataloging all publications within the Government Publications Department into IUCAT using the Library of Congress classification system except for U.S. Federal Documents.
        • UN: IUB became a UN depository library in 1949 but our collection dates to 1946. Some League of Nations materials cover earlier years.
        • EU: IUB became a depository for the European Communities in 1952.
        • Other IGOs: Collections vary depending on organization, but selective acquisitions date to the beginning of most agencies.
        • Foreign national level governmental publications were heavily collected in the period from 1950-1985. Non-rare or duplicate gifts from the Mendel and Boxer collections also enriched the European, Asian, and Latin American areas.
      2. Collection strengths and weaknesses
        • United Nations: UN documents are distributed to depositories and must be retained indefinitely. They must be made available to all members of the general public. IU is charged $900.00 per year for depository status. At IUB, back files of the UN mimeographed documents are available in the Readex United Nations microfiche/microprint collection through Access UN. IUB acquires non-depository, sales publications from the UN and its affiliated UN international governmental organizations, such as UNESCO, Food and Agriculture Organization, World Bank, and World Trade Organization, directly through the acquisitions process or through comprehensive standing orders. See for a chart of UN agency organization. The UN collection is relatively strong throughout but emphasis has always been on documentation of UN activities, statistical information, and with some subject attention to economics, the environment and education.

        • European Union (formerly European Communities): EU Documents are received through the EU Washington office and must be retained "as a collection" permanently. They must be made available to members of the general public. IUB acquires some additional non-depository EU materials, including some electronic products not distributed to EU depositories.

        • Foreign Governments Collection: Collection strengths in foreign documents include statistical materials, censuses, and other social science materials including economics, banking, development, education, and environment for most foreign governments. Areas of strength include African, Western European, and U.K. documents. Historically, Latin America is also strong. The key genres collected in GIMSS for all foreign countries include guides to official publications, bibliographies and catalogs, sources of general information on the country, government directories and organization manuals, statistical yearbooks, and constitutions.

        • Other IGOs: International Governmental Organizations unrelated to the United Nations system are acquired through standing orders, electronic subscriptions, or through individual orders. Important agencies include Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Council of Europe, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) among others.
      3. Subject areas emphasized or deemphasized
        For both IGOs and Foreign governments, documents and publications on health, labor, education, environment, human rights, status of women, economy, migration and other topics supporting curricular needs are emphasized. Legislative reports are emphasized for France and Great Britain as is the official documentation of the United Nations and the European Union.

      4. Collection locations
        Almost all materials are housed in the IUB Main Library with most shelving on the second floor in GIMSS. Almost 25% of the collections have been identified and transferred to the Auxiliary Library Facility, with an intended additional 20% to be identified and sent during the next 5 years.
  2. Scope of Coverage
    1. Languages collected and excluded
      Primary emphasis is on English language materials with only materials in the roman alphabet are acquired. Many bi-lingual materials are received. For non-roman alphabet materials, area studies librarians are consulted.

    2. Geographical areas covered and excluded
      All areas are included.

    3. Chronological periods covered and excluded
      1500 to present as appropriate UN collection begins in 1946; EU collection dates from the 1950's

    4. Dates of publication of materials collected; current vs. retrospective coverage
      Focus is on current materials except for microform and electronic access to historical materials. Almost all publications without concern for dates of coverage are retained if received.

    5. Formats collected and excluded
      Most materials are received in print or microform but more and more are selected in electronic format, when available. Reliance on Internet access to foreign government information is becoming the standard. Very little media. No manuscripts.
  3. Collecting Responsibility
    • Andrea Singer oversees UN (including affiliated agencies of the UN) and all foreign governments
    • Nancy Boerner for European Union
    • Lou Malcomb for all other non-UN/EU IGOs Area Studies libraries collaborate on collections including review and selection.
  4. Related Collections
    All collections

  5. Principal Sources of Supply and Major Selection Tools
    Principal sources:
    European Union and United Nations materials come on depository. Sales publications are purchased from these and other IGOs directly from sales offices, through Bernan or selected other vendors. Council of Europe publications are supplied by Manhattan Publishing. Foreign government documents are supplied by standard vendors (Bernan, Nexis-Lexis, Harrasowitz) as well as directly from issuing agencies.

    Selection tools:
    Standing Orders for full coverage (Council of Europe, IMF, IBRD, British TSO publications). Journal of Government Information review issues, government websites (IGO and Foreign), Listservs including Intl-Doc, blurbs and catalogs received direct from agencies and vendors are the primary selection tools.

  6. Preservation
    1. Criteria for selection for preservation and/or mass deacidification
      Items are identified for preservation based on condition and amount of stabilization required specifically for housing in the ALF but also to retain in the collection. GIMSS has an internal triage process for identifying items needing basic treatment versus those that need conservation through the Libraries Preservation unit.

    2. High-priority areas of the collection for preservation review and treatment
      Particular care is taken with materials that date before 1900 and that have been identified as rare or medium rare, including early British Parliamentary papers, Latin American laws, early census volumes, UN documents that do not appear in the Readex microfiche, and anticipated high use items (including journals and statistical materials).
  7. Selection Criteria for ALF
    GIMSS librarians review collections and select materials with particular focus on the following:
    1. Materials that have already been cataloged will be reviewed for transfer to the ALF but also materials within the retro-cataloging project will be identified for ALF as they are processed.
    2. A primary factor for selection is to identify materials that are endangered and need a preservation quality environment.
    3. Publications and documents from ceased agencies and organizations, and or ceased periodicals or series that are not heavily used. Also attention will be paid to publication series that are now available in microfiche or electronic format.
    4. Materials will be sent to ALF if anticipated use is less than 4 times per year.
    5. Items that will not be selected for ALF at this time include:
      • Documents and publications from Africa
      • Serials that are still being received will not be sent to ALF.
      • Periodical titles that do not seem to be indexed anywhere or where inclusion of statistical tables require consultation for reference inquiries.
  8. Digital Projects
    1. Criteria for selection for digitization
      Most international materials carry copyright so digitization has been limited. GIMSS has participated in the digitization of the International Bureau of Education and the League of Nations projects with Global Studies.

    2. Priorities for collections to be digitized
      While none are planned, we would in the future like to work with SALC and DLP to review pre-1800 items that might lead to an interesting digital project.
  9. Other Resources and Libraries
    The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) serves as the main complementary institution.For national level foreign censuses we rely on Pennsylvania State University for recent censuses in microform. The University of Kentucky and Michigan State University are depositories for Canadian documents. The University of Texas at Austin is a rich source for Latin America and the Caribbean, and recent advances like LAPTOC increase access to journal literature for the region. Northwestern University is a fine backup to our Africana collections.

  10. Consortial Agreements
    The CIC Libraries are cooperating for Source-OECD and the World Bank E-Library.

Government Information Home Page

Revised April 2012

last updated: 4/23/2012