The Indiana State Library participates in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), serving as the regional depository for the state of Indiana. Providing access to government information is only one service offered by the library. ISL is committed to promoting government information literacy to all Hoosiers. That information is found on the Indiana Federal Documents website. Created to be the resource destination for learning and locating government information, Indiana Federal Documents contains tips and resources relating on the federal government geared for both researchers and librarians.
The Indiana Federal Documents site features blog posts promoting specific government resources, services or upcoming educational events. Beyond the blogs posts are research and subject guides. The research guides cover an overview of the SuDoc classification, how to research congressional documents and reports and how to research public and private laws. The subject guides are compiled government resources on a particular topic. The guides include the site, URL and a short description of the resource. Currently, there are subject guides for the following topics: children’s resources, college resources, family history resources and popular government resources. All of the sourced information comes from an official government agency or government project.
Indiana Federal Documents also includes information specific to librarians, like Indiana’s Light Archive Agreement, Indiana’s State Focused Action Plan, procedures, guidelines, links to government information webinars and government information Listservs. Additional resources relating to government information can be found from the federal documents collection page through the Indiana State Library. In addition to linking directly to IFD, the federal documents page has information on ISL’s history in the FDLP, information on Government Information Day (GID) conferences and links to prominent government resources. For any questions, or sources not discussed, Federal Documents Librarian Brent Abercrombie is available to contact for guidance.
This blog post was written by Indiana State Library Federal Documents Coordinator Brent Abercrombie. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”
I am a graduate student in library science at Indiana University Bloomington. When the time came to complete an internship, I decided to learn about government documents by applying to intern with the Indiana State Library – our regional depository of federal documents. The Indiana State Library joined the preservation steward program early. This program asks libraries to commit to keeping and preserving government documents of their choice. As their intern, I had the opportunity to sort through a large collection of oversized documents in order to add them to ISL’s preservation stewardship agreement.
The best part about working with large, old documents is that they are full of beautiful maps, drawings and other images.
The documents I handled were all from 1965 or earlier. The oldest document that I handled was the Laws of the United States of America printed in 1796.
In addition to working on the stewardship program, I worked on lists of documents posted to the Indiana Needs and Offers Database. These are documents that a library wants to remove from their collection, but first offers them to the regional library, then other libraries. The Indiana State Library will claim any document posted to these lists that is not currently part of their collection. My job was to find these items on the shelves – easier said than done! I spent hours hunting down public document call numbers and checking shelves to ensure that the library did not miss a chance to add new documents to the collection.
Finally, I learned about digitization, a critical skill for a new librarian as libraries all over the country have ongoing digitization projects. I digitized a series of Indiana state elections results from 1960 to the 1980s. It is great to be a part of the preservation of Indiana history.
My internship at the Indiana State Library has been informative and given me important experience with the everyday work of government documents librarians. Thank you to all of the talented librarians who took the time to teach me over the last few months!
This blog post was written by Rachel Holder, a graduate student in library science at Indiana University Bloomington and the Federal Documents Intern with the Reference and Government Documents Division.
There is a strong chance you have never heard of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). The program was established by Congress to ensure the public has access to government information. How can the public get access to government information? Google? Social media? Yes, you can obtain a great deal of information online, including the Federal Digital System (FDsys), but the federal government has been publishing content since the 18th century. Not everything is online (what???). The answer to the question is through federal depository libraries.
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