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Call for US Federal Government Documents Records

A crucial component and initial step in the initiative is working to get an idea of the total corpus of US federal government documents held by US institutions. HathiTrust will soon be issuing a broad call for cataloging records of US federal government publications to be used to compare the holdings of our institutions and understand what portion of the corpus that is already in HathiTrust, what portion not in HathiTrust has been digitized by Google or other entities, and what portion remains to be converted to digital format. To this end, we are issuing a broad call for cataloging records of US federal government publications to be used to compare the holdings of our institutions and understand what portion of the corpus that is already in HathiTrust, what portion not in HathiTrust has been digitized by Google or other entities, and what portion remains to be converted to digital format. We would like to request that all records be submitted by January 31, 2014. There is growing interest among libraries and consortia across the United States to take action in this arena and we are eager to get started.

The results of the analysis will be made available at a minimum to those who submit records, and the records themselves will be available to be used, under appropriate use policies and permissions, by government documents initiatives underway by groups and organizations participating in the call. For cataloging record requirements and instructions on how to submit records, please see the form at http://tinyurl.com/kyw26fo.

Please note that the first part of the analysis we will conduct will involve sending records to Google, to compare with records of materials that Google has already digitized. Any records submitted to Google may be incorporated into a “metadata view” on Google Books (if a record for the item does not already exist; records would not be displayed in their entirety. An example of metadata view is available here: http://tinyurl.com/n7x2xco).

Government Documents Call FAQ

  • Is HathiTrust interested in records for US federal government documents regardless of format (microform, CD, other electronic resources, etc.)?

    • Yes. We would like records for US federal government documents in all formats.

  • Has HathiTrust had discussions with Marcive, OCLC, or other vendors about sharing records?

    • Yes. Based on discussions with Marcive and OCLC, there are no issues with institutions sending these records for our analysis purposes. We would seek permissions prior to use for other purposes. We would like institutions to send as many records as possible. Our specifications include file-naming conventions for records that can be shared but have particular restrictions.

  • Why doesn’t HathiTrust simply request records from OCLC and Marcive?

    • We believe requesting records from institutions will be the best way to get the most comprehensive set of records. If we requested records from Marcive only, we would still want to request records from either OCLC or institutions. However, we would not be able to get the kind of item-level information or record output that we need from OCLC and we believe institutions may have a better opportunity to identify federal government documents records that are not explicitly coded as such, and be able to send records that may not have been contributed to OCLC (either because they simply weren't, or because the institution is not an OCLC member).

  • Are HathiTrust members required to respond to the call?

    • No. Responding is optional. However, this call is part of HathiTrust's work toward the proposal accepted by HathiTrust partners at the 2011 Constitutional Convention to expand and enhance access to US federal government documents. We are hoping to get as broad participation as possible to help us achieve that goal.

  • If my institution has already sent records to Google, do we need to send records to HathiTrust?

    • Yes. Google may have the records, but we would like to have them ourselves for further analysis and possible use in the HathiTrust Government Documents Registry in the future.

  • My institution included an indication of whether holdings were government documents in our recent submission of HathiTrust partner print holdings information. Why are the full MARC records being requested?

    • 1) We are asking for records for more materials than those that are in print only in this Call, so the scope is broader than the materials requested for the print holdings database. 2) The print holdings database only includes materials with OCLC numbers; institutions may have US federal government documents records that do not include OCLC numbers. 3) The full MARC records have information such as agency name, title, date, and SuDoc number (not present in the partner holdings data) that will allow us to match records that do not have OCLC numbers across HathiTrust partner and non-partner institutions.

  • How would HathiTrust like records for bound-with items sent?

    • If there are two items bound together, we would ideally like to receive 2 records, each with the same identifier, etc.

  • HathiTrust has requested one record per item held by libraries. Would HathiTrust like one record each copy if multiple copies are held?

    • Yes. Please send one record per item held, whether it is an additional copy of an existing item or not.

  • Should records for withdrawn items also be included?

    • Yes. Please include withdrawn records.