Monday, November 21, 2011

Government publications

Why collect?
  • Canadian market may be too small for a trade publisher to produce more specialized material, may have to turn to government sources fo the Canadian angle
    o Statistics Canada produces Canadian statistics
    o Canadian government has three levels: federal, provincial and municipal
    o Compared to the likes of US/UK markets, Canadian market is small
  • Parliamentary committees, task forces, Royal Commissions produce in depth reports
Types of government information
Government information is generally produced by the party currently in power.
  • Propaganda
    o Election campaign material, not necessary good or bad
  • Policy/issue studies
  • Annual reports
    o Accountability
  • Statistics
  • Legal (debates, bills, statues)
    o Hansard, otherwise known commonwealth
    o Bills are introduced, discussed and study. They must pass a reading and be proclaimed to come into effect.
    o Statues are documents classification
  • Science & technology, marketing, business studies
    o Agriculture, economics
  • Popular treatments
Selection tips
How do we find information? The government is not always forthcoming
  • Scan newspapers
  • Use checklists
  • Go directly to department, agency
  • Mine government websites e.g.
Selection tools
Weekly checklist (pink sheet) key Federal selection tool
  • Searchable catalogue from Jan. 1991 – available on Internet Checklist does not list all government publications, may have to track down source and try to obtain from department which produced it (fugitive/grey literature)
  • Major preelectronic was pink
  • Lists book/magazines/productions released by government and Statistics Canada
Manitoba Government Publications Monthly Checklist
  • Key provincal selection tool
  • Compiled by Legislative Library, provides six most recent publications
  • Each department is meant to notify the Library as to what they are publishing. Back issues are not available online.
For links to publication sites for other provinces go to the “Provincial Publications” section of the Federal Publications Inc. Website at

Federal depository program
  • Full depository libraries
  • Selective depository libraries
Manitoba provincial depository library program
  • 8 Manitoba libraries automatically receive current Manitoba government publications
The libraries are able to receive publications without paying for them. Full depository libraries will receive a copy of every publication the government produces.

Verification problems
  • Small publication runs
    o Limited
  • Lack of centralized listing
    o Checklists don’t list everything
  • Ephermal natural of some publications
    o Here today, gone tomorrow publications
  • Consulting reports done for government agencies, crown corporations
  • Reorganization and name changes for government departments
  • Colloquial names for royal commissions and inquiries, etc.
  • Crown copyright
    o Government retains copyright
  • Cost recovery and user fees
    o Smaller more expensive
  • Electronic formats
    o Some publications are only available on the Internet, they won’t always be there
  • Preservation and archiving
    o Depository was meant to keep everything all the time – what do you do with publications that aren’t kept online all the time?
Classification and shelving
Another issue, depends on how much material library is receiving
  • LC/Dewey
  • Catalogue numbers
    o Canada: catalogue numbers
    o U.S. Superintent of Documents (SuDocs)
  • Jurisdiction: country or organization, then by department or division, and finally by title
  • Separate vs. integrated collections

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