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InfoGuides | Pepperdine Libraries

Government Documents: Collection Development

Gov Docs

Government Information

Celebrating 50 years of Government Information at Payson Library.

Subject Guide

Cory Aitchison's picture
Cory Aitchison
Pepperdine University Libraries
24255 Pacific Coast Hwy
Malibu, CA 90263

Government Publications Collection Development Policy


The goal of the collection development policy is to assist library staff in developing and maintaining the government publications collection. The policy is used each year to conduct a zero-based assessment of the collection in order to determine what item numbers should be added and deleted. It is also used throughout the year to keep library staff focused on the goals for government publication collection development.

The government publications collection at Payson Library serves the undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff located on Pepperdine University's Malibu campus, as well as students, faculty, and staff affiliated with off-campus Pepperdine graduate programs in business, psychology, and education. The collection serves around 7,719 students and over 400 faculty members. The library also welcomes members of the public who wish to use depository items. The library is located in the 24th Congressional District and has been a Federal Depository Library since 1963.

Mission and Goals

The government publications collection tries to meld its mission and goals with that of the Pepperdine University libraries. The libraries strive to meet the instructional and research needs of the Pepperdine academic community by helping users locate, retrieve, evaluate, and use information.

Government publications acquisition is concentrated in areas of greatest interest to students, faculty, and staff without regard to format. Graduate programs in business, education, psychology, public policy, and law necessitate collections that support these programs. In the undergraduate college, natural science is a large division with student concentrations in nutrition, sports medicine, and biology. Library staff concentrate on acquiring government materials that support these programs and disciplines. The library also selects a broad range of government materials in an attempt to support all academic programs.

Administration and Selection Responsibility

The Government Information Librarian, with input from other Pepperdine librarians, selects and deselects materials for the collection. In view of the areas of concentration listed above, Pepperdine selects a large portion of its publications from the following departments and agencies:

  • The Commerce Department
  • The Education Department
  • The Health and Human Services Department
  • The Justice Department
  • The Judiciary
  • The Labor Department
  • The State Department
  • Congress

The Government Information Librarian conducts an annual, zero-based assessment of the collection during the annual selection update cycle. Using the Legal Requirements & Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program, FDLP Administration web sites, the Data Miner, U.S. Government Subscriptions, the List of Classes, and the suggested core collections listed on the Librarian reviews the collection. Other tools that may help with selection and collection development include: lists of best government materials; Documents to the People; reference questions; information on GOVDOC-L; book reviews; and subject bibliographies. Additions and deletions are made based on on-going collection assessment and evaluation that continue throughout the year. Deletions are made as needed throughout the year.

The library focuses its selection on materials that support Pepperdine's areas of curriculum concentration in business, education, psychology, law, public policy, and natural science. However, selection is not limited to these areas. Materials are selected across a broad spectrum of subjects.


Patron needs and subject content drive selection of materials. Format is a secondary consideration. The library provides computers capable of providing Internet and CD-ROM access to government information. The Government Information Librarian keeps track of minimum specifications for the hardware and software necessary to run government computer applications. The library has a commitment to providing electronic access to government information. patrons prefer Internet access, but print format is also highly valued. When possible, print format is ordered for popular and high-use materials. Some microfiche is ordered for archival purposes and to save space.

Collection Arrangement

All government documents are checked in online and given either complete or brief cataloging records. Approximately 50% of the collection is cataloged and arranged by the Library of Congress numbering system. Located within either the reference or circulating collections, cataloged books are shelved according to their Library of Congress number. All government CD-ROMs are cataloged and arranged by Library of Congress number in a cabinet dedicated to housing only government CD-ROMs. periodicals are cataloged and arranged by title on the main floor of the library within the depository area. Government pamphlets and microfiche are checked in online and brief cataloging records are created for each item. pamphlets and microfiche are then arranged, according to their Superintendent of Documents number, in pamphlet and microfiche filing cabinets.


Members of the public have free access to the library and to government publications. The library is open approximately 117 hours per week. Many of the government resources are located at Payson Library, but a majority reside off-site at our Calabasas facility. These item can be requested to be sent to Payson Library within 24 hours (as compliant with Title 44 U.S.C. §§1901 -1916).

Members of the public may use government publications during any of the library's open hours. They have free access to government Internet sites. There are minimal printing charges for photocopying pages and printing from electronic sources. Cardholders may check out government publications that are part of the circulating collection.

Collection Maintenance

All materials are checked in online via the Library's integrated system. All materials are stamped with the depository stamp, and labeled with the SuDoc number and item number when they are checked in. Most publications are tattle taped for security. Items are removed as soon as the new copy arrives or as volumes are cumulated. The library does not keep duplicate publications unless they are produced in more than one format (Health, United States, for instance) or there is demand for the publication.

Decisions concerning deselection of specific government documents are made on an on-going basis by the Government Information Librarian. Government documents staff make suggestions regarding deselection of materials as do other librarians, but it is the responsibility of the Government Information Librarian to make final decisions about whether materials should be retained or deselected. Considerations for deselection include: the archival importance of the material; the condition of the material; the date of the material in relation to patron demands; and the overall relevance of the material. Materials are only deselected in accordance with the policies of the Federal Depository Library Program. Discards are sent to the regional library and then to a list of libraries provided by the regional library.

Government publications that are identified as missing or lost are replaced according to demand and relevancy. Items to be replaced may be requested from the Needs and Offers List or ordered using a GPO deposit account. Some materials are routinely bound to extend the lifespan of the material or to keep the materials together and accessible. This is especially the case for government periodicals. The Government Documents Assistant creates and adheres to a schedule for binding government periodicals.

Resource Sharing

Located in the greater Los Angeles area, Pepperdine is relatively close to other government depository collections, some of which have extensive holdings. The library is a member of a consortium that includes USC and Claremont (both are depository libraries) and maintains Interlibrary Loan agreements with those libraries. UCLA is a moderate drive from Pepperdine, as is the Los Angeles Public Library. Pepperdine staff can, and do, use these resources to satisfy patron needs.

Melinda Raine
Associate University Librarian for Client Services and Public Programming
Pepperdine University

Updated 10/2017

Cory Aitchison