Navigation

U.S. Federal Documents Program Update, January 2019

Federal Documents within the HathiTrust Digital Library, as of January 1, 2019

  • 531,163 bibliographic records
  • 1,316,896 digital objects
  • 498,502 monographs
  • 32,222 serial titles

In Q4 2018 HathiTrust added 5,416 monographic U.S. federal documents. Top contributors included TRAIL (1,481), University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (1,251), University of California, Riverside (921), The Ohio State University (836), University of California, Berkeley (368), and University of California, San Diego (367). Also noteworthy were some some large sets of documents: atomic and nuclear documents from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and documents related to agricultural economics from U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.

2018 In Review

Last year HathiTrust continued to build our federal documents collection and make it more discoverable. In 2018 we added 217,813 digitized federal documents to HathiTrust, contributed by 50 institutions. Our collection now stands at 1,316,896 items. More statistics on the overall federal documents collection, including a SuDoc breakdown, may be found in our regularly-updated HathiTrust Collection Profile. Many thanks to all who have contributed!

2018 Activities and Accomplishments:

  • We continued to build and maintain key collections called for in the Federal Documents Collection Framework, and added a U.S. Civil Rights Commission collection. We began to explore the creation of a Census collection. (We also created this handy page with links to all the federal documents collections, and more information.)
  • We concluded our collaborative “gap-filling” project begun fall 2017. In addition to more documents added to our collection, the project resulted in a deeper understanding of the variety of local workflows and local challenges, and confirmation of HathiTrust’s ability to provide actionable and targeted lists of needed monographs. In addition to the project, we also consulted with a number of HathiTrust libraries who are cataloging and/or digitizing or preparing to digitize federal documents and provided information on items needed in HathiTrust. If your institution is intending to do so, please contact Heather Christenson, christeh@hathitrust.org
  • We started up an email group for federal documents contacts at each of our member libraries, and look forward to ramping up on engaging with this key group in 2019.
  • We completed two phases of a federal documents user needs evaluation, and environmental scan and a user survey. Some survey results were that respondents consider HathiTrust a go-to place for older federal government documents, and that they like the ability to search the full text of many publications that aren’t digitally available anywhere else. Thank you again to all who participated in the survey!
  • We worked with the HathiTrust metadata management group on development of a protocol to algorithmically better identify federal documents upon deposit in HathiTrust. We expect to see many thousands of federal documents move into full view as a result of better identification within the next few months.
  • In order to highlight our federal documents collection and encourage use in the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC), we provided a number pre-populated federal documents worksets that correspond to collections in HathiTrust, enabling new kinds of computational research using these federal documents.  Worksets are defined slices of the overall corpus hosted by HTRC, and now include:
  • The Federal Documents Advisory Committee (FDAC) engaged with strategic and policy issues in support of the Federal Documents Program, such as the 2019-2023 HathiTrust Strategic Directions, collections issues, emerging HathiTrust metadata policies, and Federal Depository Library Program legislation. Many thanks to our FDAC members!

2018 Publications & Presentations

For more information on our program and activities, the following publications and presentations that we produced in 2018 may be of interest:

Onward in 2019

The 2019 Program Plan is in the process of being finalized. Some activities we will likely take up in 2019 are new, and some are continuing goals from 2018:

  • Build upon our experience with the federal documents gap filling project to develop strategies for identifying and filling in collection “gaps”
  • Develop a project focused on collaborative metadata improvement. We have a significant need to improve bibliographic records for federal documents in order to 1) improve the identification of federal documents within the mass digitized corpus, 2) reliably match to library collections for shared print and other uses, 3) detect duplicates, and especially 4) provide better end user discovery and 5) open documents that are currently in limited view.
  • Revisit the Federal Documents Registry as a service for members and/or mechanism for collaborative HathiTrust collection development.
  • Work with HathiTrust Shared Print Program to address federal documents

The Federal Documents Program has followed a plan set out in 2016. Our work to define and build a digital collection from the basis of mass digitized aggregation has resulted in a well-known and growing federal documents collection, but has also highlighted areas of needed investment in HathiTrust’s infrastructure to better handle a wider range of federal documents.  These include systems and processes to enable improvement of bibliographic metadata at scale, as well as the ability to accommodate born digital objects in the collection, or materials that do not meet our current specifications. These needs have informed the development of HathiTrust’s Strategic Directions for the next three-to-five years, and we anticipate aligning our work on federal documents with these priorities.