Available Indexes

U.S. Federal Documents Program Update, September 2017

Federal Documents within the HathiTrust Digital Library, as of September 1, 2017

  • 424,498 bibliographic records
  • 1,054,845 separate digital objects
  • 398,738 monographs
  • 25,415 serial titles

Additions to our collection

Between July 1 and Sept. 1 2017, HathiTrust ingested over 10,000 federal documents from 41 different institutions. University of Michigan (2,163), University of California Northern Regional Library Facility (1,170), University of California, Riverside (902), and Ohio State University (808) were our top contributors.

Some notable additions this quarter are a set of 582 Flood Insurance Studies contributed by Texas A&M (for example, Flood insurance study for the City of Bryan, Texas), and a large amount of WPA materials, including from the Federal Writers' Project and the National Historical Records Survey.

Thank you to our HathiTrust member libraries who contributed these documents and more!

New digital collections

In addition to our U.S. Federal Documents and Statistical Abstract of the United States collections, we’ve created some new searchable collections:

Full text search and advanced full text search provide granular discovery within each of the collections. Faceted browse is available in the Serial Set and EPA collections. In addition, as with all HathiTrust collections, we offer persistent links to the collection and to each item within, and access to items that do not have rights restrictions.

This is a starting point for building comprehensive sets. Going forward, all of these collections will be actively curated and maintained by HathiTrust staff. As new digital federal documents come into HathiTrust, they will be added to the collections if they meet established criteria.

We encourage you to give the new collections a try, and welcome your feedback via the “Feedback” link at the top of every page.

A note on process

As reported previously, we have incorporated the LoC Name Authority File into the Registry database. This has enhanced our ability to use the Registry to delineate and build collections, and to create collections by agency, focusing on some of our priority collecting areas as laid out in the HathiTrust Federal Documents Collection Framework.

HathiTrust staff have been using Collection Builder and automated methods to build these new curated collections behind the scenes. Based on our staff experience, we are developing guidance on how HathiTrust members can more easily develop and curate collections themselves using Collection Builder.

The curated collections also hold promise as worksets for researchers who want to dig into the full text. To this end, we are also exploring how to create worksets in the HathiTrust Research Center that correspond to our collections. Because the collections are dynamic and researchers have a need to cite specific data sets, there are versioning issues and other issues to solve.


  • Program staff and the CDL Zephir metadata management team continue our work to design a “fed docs suggester.” As bibliographic metadata comes into HathiTrust from a member library, this tool will review the metadata for correct identification of federal documents and provide information back to the contributor.
  • We are consulting with University of Michigan’s user experience group on design of a user needs study around federal documents in HathiTrust.
  • We have begun setting up a collaborative project to fill in gaps in the HathiTrust federal documents collection via existing digitization projects already underway at member libraries. Participants are HathiTrust member libraries with active digitization workflows who have already digitized federal documents or who are interested in doing so. The project is focused on the full set of agencies, departments, and other federal documents designated as priorities in the HathiTrust Federal Documents Collection Framework. Over the coming months, HathiTrust staff will work with participants to specify an optimal set of data and a workflow to provide libraries with information on federal documents held in their libraries that we wish to add to HathiTrust. It is expected that the workflow will begin later in the fall and that libraries will carry out digitization. For more information please contact Heather Christenson, christeh@hathitrust.org.


Program Officer Heather Christenson and Analyst Valerie Glenn will be attending the Depository Library Council Meeting and Federal Depository Library Conference in Arlington, VA on October 16-18. We’re looking to convene an informal gathering of HathiTrust members on Sunday evening October 15th, ahead of the meeting.  Please contact Heather Christenson if interested:  christeh@hathitrust.org