Available Indexes

Government Documents Initiative Planning and Advisory Group Charge

The Government Documents Initiative Planning and Advisory Group has completed its charge.

Report and Preliminary Recommendations

The Working Group report and preliminary recommendations were released in February 2015 and are available to read here: https://www.hathitrust.org/documents/HathiTrustGDIPAWGwhitepaper.pdf. The Program Steering Committee response is here: https://www.hathitrust.org/documents/HathiTrustGDIPAWGwhitepaperPSCresponse.pdf


The 2011 HathiTrust Constitutional Convention passed the CIC-proposed ballot measure, Expanded Coverage & Enhanced Access to U.S. Government Documents.  Specifically, the measure called upon HathiTrust to:

  1. Facilitate collective action to create a comprehensive digital corpus of U.S. federal publications including those issued by GPO and other federal agencies;

  2. Initiate and carry out a planning process to coordinate operational plans and a business model to further and sustain coordinated digitization, ingest, and display of U.S. federal publications including those issued by GPO and other federal agencies;

  3. [Facilitate] this operational planning and business modeling to begin consideration of born-digital publications of GPO and other federal agencies;

  4. Develop a process of catalog record review to ensure accurate and full display of U.S. federal publications including those issued by GPO and other federal agencies; and

  5. Develop a process to implement enhanced access protocols to fully realize the potential of a comprehensive corpus of U.S. federal publications including those issued by GPO and other federal agencies.


The Government Printing Office (GPO) currently publishes about 97% of its resources in digital form, thus the legacy print collection is the most critical to secure for digitization.  It is roughly estimated that the print (legacy) corpus of documents to be around 1.5 to 2 million items (excluding the legacy microform corpus), and noteworthy that HathiTrust’s current documents holdings is already at approximately 0.5 million.

At the risk of oversimplifying, creating a comprehensive digital corpus of U.S. federal publications (resolution point #1) will likely consist of three major undertakings: 1) identification, inventory and analysis of the universe of documents, 2) sourcing of copy for digitization, and 3) digitization and ingest into HathiTrust. Since passage of the measure, HathiTrust Operations, under the direction of the Executive Director and with support from the then-Executive Team, has begun aligning resources and efforts to begin addressing this cornerstone component of the overall measure. To define the corpus, HathiTrust has begun creating a documents registry as the knowledge base upon which the components of sourcing and digitization can be strategized. It is also worth noting that the Committee on Institutional Cooperation’ Center for Library Initiatives (CIC CLI) has assigned a project manager to support significant documents-related consolidation and digitization projects within the CIC. Highly relevant efforts are also taking place within and beyond the HathiTrust partnership, such as with Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA), Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL), and others.  

Planning and Advisory Group Charge

Noting the scale of the initiative, its practical and political complexities, and the wide interest by stakeholders, the prospect for success will be strengthened by collective strategies, planned and guided by HathiTrust and the broader government documents library community, including participation beyond the partnership. The operational execution of the initiative, whether it is ultimately performed by HathiTrust Operations, a project team drawn from stakeholder institutions, or a combination thereof, shall be planned and guided by the HathiTrust Government Documents Initiative Planning and Advisory Group (or HT4 Group, after ballot measure #4). The body, reporting to the HathiTrust Program Steering Committee (PSC), is charged to:

  1. Develop and deliver the Initiative’s overall strategy and plan, including scope and phasing of plan components, an operational model, resource requirements, and deliverables;

  2. Recommend investments as needed to the HathiTrust Board of Governors by means of the PSC in support of the Initiative;

  3. Advise the HathiTrust Board, by means of the PSC, on relevant policy issues; and

  4. Serve in an advisory capacity and provide oversight to the project while in execution, including

    1. reviewing and validating major tactical/operational plans;

    2. supporting project communications to, and advocacy, engagement, and partnership development with the broader government documents community and others; and

    3. monitoring the progress and accountabilities of the Initiative relative to stated milestones and objectives.

Timeline and Process

The initial and critical milestones of the HT4 Group -- the delivery of an overall draft Initiative plan -- is expected no later than 3-4 months after launch.  Given this compressed timeframe, it is essential for the HT4 Group process to bring about both the breadth of perspective and expertise for advising and the focus to complete the charge in a timely way.  A suggested approach is for a smaller core planning group to work within a larger advisory group. The core group may initially to lay out the framework and components of plan, and then convene a summit meeting of the whole to review, further shape, and refine it.  The core group would then take this input and complete the draft plan.   


  • Prue Adler, Association of Research Libraries
  • Ivy Anderson, California Digital Library
  • Joni Blake, Greater Western Library Alliance 
  • Kirsten Clark, University of Minnesota
  • Richard Clement, University of New Mexico
  • Elizabeth Cowell, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Michael Norman, University of Illinois
  • Mark Phillips, University of North Texas
  • Mark Sandler, Committee on Institutional Cooperation (chair)
  • Jonathan Rothman, University of Michigan
  • Judith Russell, University of Florida
  • Barbara Selby, Univ of Virginia
  • Jeremy York, HathiTrust


The Initiative’s sponsor is the HathiTrust Program Steering Committee, as designated by the Board of Governors.


Proposals for support of meetings (including a face-to-face summit) and other resources needed to support the work of the group are invited.