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Collection

This guide includes information about the collection at Pace Law Library, including our collection development policy and policies for environmental material, government documents, intercampus and interlibrary loan, and weeding.

Government Documents Policy

I. Mission

II. Selection Responsibility

III. Collection Arrangement

IV. Subject Areas

V. Choice of Format

VI. Indexes

VII. Collection Evaluation

VIII. Weeding and Maintenance

IX. Access

 

I. Mission

The Pace Law Library was designated a Federal Depository Library under 44 U.S.C. § 1916 in 1978. The Haub Law School curriculum, faculty research interests, Certificate programs, Centers, Law Reviews, and student organizations all serve as the bases for development of the government information collection through the FDLP.

The Pace government documents collection includes primary legal sources from the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches of the United States Government, including federal laws and regulations, as well as selected secondary sources published by the U.S. Government Publishing Office. Environmental law is a particular area of interests.

II. Selection Responsibility

The primary responsibility for the selection of government documents and collection development of the depository collection rests with one of the Reference Librarians. Selections are made with the advice of the other Reference Librarians under the direction of the Law Library Director.

Each year a zero-based review of selections is made and appropriate adds and drops are made. Items can be added or dropped throughout the year. The zero-based review includes reviewing the FDLP’s List of Classes and the list of items selected by Pace Law Library. The Suggested Core Collection for Law Libraries in the Legal Requirements & Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program is another important tool.

III. Collection Arrangement

The government documents collection has been intensively cataloged and integrated into the Law Library collection. Although many government documents are now published in electronic format, the print documents that we still receive through the FDLP (primarily federal statutes and regulations) are periodically reviewed for relevance to the Law Library collection. A small group of paper documents deemed not pertinent to our collection are shelved on the first floor of the Law Library, arranged according to their Superintendent of Documents Classification (SuDocs) numbers, for the period of time Pace Law Library is legally required to retain them. We catalog most print documents and many electronic titles within our selection profile, in order to give our patrons access to both tangible and online government resources.

As the U.S. Government Publishing Office pursues a policy of distributing more and more publications exclusively online, it assigns permanent URLs (PURLs) intended to keep the electronic publications accessible over time. A primary goal of the depository library community is to ensure permanent public access to important government publications by notifying the Superintendent of Documents of broken links and by preserving electronic publications. At Haub Law, we make every effort to keep links to online government documents current in the library catalog.

Depository microforms were not cataloged at Pace until 2003. Since then, however, all depository microform serials and selected monographs have been added to the Library catalog. Cataloged depository microfiche retain their SuDocs classification numbers, and can be cross-referenced to Pace Law Library’s Shelves database that lists every government document selected by Pace by its item number, SuDocs number, title, date of receipt, shipping list number, and location in the library for tangible items. Because the depository microfiche collection was not date-stamped from 1992-1996, in accordance with the Federal Depository Library Program's 5-year retention rules, all unstamped depository fiche were retained in the collection through 2001, then selectively weeded.

Depository CD-ROMs retained by the Law Library are cataloged and filed in cabinets behind the Circulation Desk in LC call number order. Those we intend to discard are kept in SuDocs order for the mandatory retention period of five years.

There are no selective housing agreements in place at this time.

IV. Subject Areas

Some of the important subject areas in the Haub Law School curriculum are Environment, Health, Energy, and International Law. There is a huge body of government information available in these and other areas within Pace Law Library’s selection profile. Not all of the government titles we receive through the FDLP are appropriate for a law school collection, and thus selections must be made judiciously, but as comprehensively as needed to support Haub Law School’s curriculum.

The Environmental Protection Agency is the agency with primary responsibility for environmental matters, and other agencies also provide related vital information. These include the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Interior, and Transportation. Several other government departments publish their Environmental Impact Statements. The Energy Department, Nuclear Regulatory Agency, and the Tennessee Valley Authority issue material relevant to study in the area of environmental law. Each of these departments includes documents of interest as well as materials beyond the needs of the Library and must be analyzed accordingly.

Selections made for the general public include all the items in the Legal Requirements & Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program Basic Collection; selected portions of the U.S. Census; Occupational Outlook Handbook; World Factbook; Congressional District Atlas; IRS taxpayer information publications; Foreign Relations of the United States; Social Security Administration publications; and State Department publications (nearly all of which are now available electronically via the Internet or on CD-ROM). Most of these items are also used by our primary patrons.

V. Choice of Format

The preferred format for government information is now online. Currently, approximately 97% of government documents are published online, either exclusively or in addition to the same titles published in tangible format. The Superintendent of Documents plans to switch to electronic-only publication of all but a core collection of essential government titles in the near future. However, important primary legal resources will continue in paper format, including the United States Code and United States Reports. For voluminous sets such as the Congressional Record and congressional hearings, reports, and documents, as well as federal agency publications, microform is the preferred format. Microforms are also selected when needed titles are available only in that format. CD-ROMs are selected only when the information on them is uniquely available in that format, and searching capability is needed. They are also used as a compact storage medium for voluminous material.

Equipment for using microforms available in the Pace Law Library includes a digital reader/scanner that can read both microfilm and microfiche, with a dedicated computer for e-mailing or saving scanned pages to portable drives.

VI. Indexes

Pace Law Library has purchased a number of indexes and other resources that support and provide access to the depository collection. These include print and online indexes of congressional and legislative history materials, including United States Code Congressional and Administrative News (in print (now cancelled) and on Westlaw), Lexis, Westlaw, and HeinOnline (current Haub Law School faculty and students).

The online Catalog of U.S. Government Publications is the primary finding tool for historical and current federal publications, with direct links to those available online. Pace Law Library selects online depository indexes and maintains databases containing yearly piece-level inventories of all government documents, in all formats, that the Library selects and receives.

Retrospective materials in the Law Library include CIS Congressional Serial Set microfiche (including the American State Papers) from 1789 to 1970, CIS U.S. Congressional Documents (1970-1980), the U.S. Congressional Serial Set (1981-1996), and House and Senate Hearings, Prints, and Publications (1997-present) from the Federal Depository Library Program. The Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations are available online from their inception to the present through the Law Library’s subscription to HeinOnline, and are also available online from the U.S. Government Publishing Office. The United States Reports are complete in all editions, supplemented by a substantial run of Records and Briefs and Oral Arguments before the United States Supreme Court, and complete sets of the United States Statutes at Large and the United States Code.

VII. Collection Evaluation

Each year a zero-based collection review is made. The Library selects approximately 17% of U.S. Government Publications. Appropriate items will be added to the selection list based on notes compiled during the year. These numbers are listed in the Documents Librarian’s calendar when the selection cycle is due.

Selections are made based upon the Law School curriculum and the community’s needs. Guidance is provided by the FDLP’s Suggested Core Collection for Law Libraries, Essential Titles for Public Use in Paper or Other Tangible Format, and the Legal Requirements & Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program, Basic Collection. The Federal Depository Library Program’s WEBTech Notes is another valuable tool in making selections. Selection profiles and collection development policies for other 17th Congressional District (Where Haub Law is located) depositories and other law libraries are also examined for guidance.

VIII. Weeding and Maintenance

The collection will be maintained in accordance with the guidelines set out in the Legal Requirements & Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program.

An accurate shelf list of all depository publications will be maintained in a database, and shipping lists retained as supporting records. All documents will be stamped in accordance with the Instructions. Looseleaf materials will be placed in binders before they are placed on the shelves. Other types of materials will be prepared for use before they are shelved. Serials will be bound as appropriate. Shipping materials must be removed.

Superseded documents shall be withdrawn promptly unless a decision has been made to retain them for research purposes. Notes regarding supersession are included in the Shelves database. Other documents will be reviewed after retention for five years. Items will be withdrawn from the collection in accordance with guidelines issued by the New York State Library:

  • The piece is not relevant to the law library collection,
  • Item is no longer current,
  • Item is little used,
  • Item is duplicated in the collection,
  • Item is replaced by another format.

Weeding is done in accordance with 44 U.S.C. § 1912 and guidelines issued by the New York State Library. Materials are to be listed and submitted to the Regional library electronically. They will then be loaded to a Needs & Offers webpage for thirty days. Microforms do not have to be exhaustively listed. See Federal Depository Library Handbook § 5.14.B, Discards by Selective Depositories (last updated November 2012).

IX. Access

All government documents are maintained so as to be accessible for public use in the Pace Law Library. Paper publications are either cataloged and shelved in the regular collection by LC call number, or else maintained in Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) number order in the Government Documents section on the Law Library’s first floor. All holdings are listed in the Shelves database, with notes on location of each item and LC call number where applicable.

Depository microforms are maintained in Lektriever units on the first level of the Law Library. The large collection of congressional microfiche is accessible using the CIS Indexes and the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications. A Microform Finding Aid prepared by a Reference Librarian lists all microforms and their locations.

The Reference Desk is staffed with a professional librarian knowledgeable in government documents from 10 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday (hours subject to some variation).

Updated June 2021