University of Texas at Arlington

U.S. Government Publications

The University of Texas at Arlington Library was designated a federal depository in 1963 by the U.S. Senate.  It is one of two depositories located in U.S. House of Representatives Texas District 6. The City of Arlington Public Library is the other depository. The UT Arlington Library has chosen to receive about 41% of all active government publications offered. A regional depository library collection at the Texas Tech University Library serves as a backup source to provide originals or copies of information not available in this collection. The Texas State Library and Archives and 50 other depositories nationwide are also regional depositories. Approximately 1,300 other libraries participate in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP).

Under the FDLP, the UT Arlington Library acquires information currently offered in an attempt to satisfy the majority of information needs of its primary users, and to maintain a collection of historical documents likely to be used for academic research. UT Arlington Library currently selects documents that are “online only” and no longer select documents in tangible formats.

The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP)

The Government Publishing Office (GPO) overseas the FDLP and is responsible for printing and distributing government documents. The GPO Library Programs Service may inspect depositories every five years. An inspection report is made to the depository library and the Superintendent of Documents about the condition of the collection and the services offered to the public. The following non-inclusive list highlights the obligations of a depository library. 

  • Follow federal law as given in Title 44 United States Code pertaining to government documents and depository libraries. Follow directives and instruction from the Superintendent of Documents.  Adhere to instructions in the publication Legal Requirements & Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program.
  • Publicize the existence of the depository collection to our library users.
  • Make the federal publications available to library users without undue restrictions.
  • Mark materials with distinguishing stamps, receipt dates, and other markings that distinguish them as federal property. Keep material in good condition, treating it the same way as library property of the same type, including binding or preserving the material from damage.
  • Recognize that all publications remain the property of the federal government. Retain all publications for at least 5 years from date of receipt.
  • Provide computer workstations and software so that electronic format or Internet accessible information can be offered to library users.
  • Provide reference service for all federal depository publications and special reference tools to identify sources of information.
  • Complete and return the Biennial Survey that is required by the Superintendent of Documents.

Implementing the Program at the UT Arlington Library 

The UT Arlington Library implements the requirements of the Federal Depository Library Program by:

  • Providing access to federal government information to all persons in a reasonable amount of time regardless of format.
  • Acquiring computer systems and software so that electronic-based information from the federal government is available through UT Arlington Library to any library user at convenient times and locations. All Library workstations have Microsoft Office for manipulation of downloaded data. Printing from public workstations is provided for a fee.
  • Operating a depository collection and the electronic access system in accordance with Title 44 of the United States Code  and directives of the U.S. Government Publishing Office. Properly disposing of withdrawn publications in accordance with federal law and GPO directives.
  • Maintaining communication with the regional depository, Texas Tech University Library, and other depository libraries in the DFW Metroplex.
  • Posting of the federal depository library logo at the library entrance and on the library website.
  • Inclusion of a government publications selection option on the library's OPAC and a government documents section on the library's website.
  • Housing oversized materials in special shelving and binding of selected periodicals.
  • Providing reference assistance, both in house and online.
  • Inclusion of government documents in help guides and the Library’s Database A to Z list.
  • UT Arlington Library use records provided by MARCIVE, Inc. The Superintendent of Documents Classification System is used for cataloging of all publications and links to electronic resources. Material not found in the UT Arlington Library Government Document collection is indexed in the  Catalog of U.S. Government Publications and could be requested through Inter-Library Loan services.

Selection and Retention Guidelines

The current UT Arlington Library policy (October 2014) is to select federal publications in electronic format only.  The Library has a “legacy” or historical collection of tangible documents that were received through the depository program.  The historical collection is concentrated in the areas of Census data, Military History, Congressional Committee hearings, statistics from federal agencies, and maps.

The following selection criteria are considered: 

  • The Documents Coordinator refers to the List of Classes for an annual collection review. Government documents staff and the coordinator for public services are also consulted.
  • Preference is given to publications and information sources that support the curriculum and research needs of the University of Texas at Arlington students and faculty, or which support the general information needs of its community users.
  • Any material received through the FDLP must be kept for at least 5 years from date of receipt, unless it is superseded by a newer edition.
  • Retain documents in tangible format that contain statistics or are of historic value.
  • All material selected for withdrawal must be offered to the regional depository, Texas Tech University Library. A disposal list of materials is created and sent to Texas Tech for approval.  The regional depository will notify the library of any material it may want for their collection and authorize or deny disposal of the rest. A two-month period is usually required for the Regional to check its own holdings and reply to the request for disposal of items.

Tools for Depository Libraries

[Rev. 12/2014]