Re: Government Document Serials (Arlene Weible) ERCELAA@ctrvax.Vanderbilt.Edu 11 May 1995 01:58 UTC

Date: Wed, 10 May 1995 14:18:25 -0700
From: Arlene Weible <aweible@WILLAMETTE.EDU>
Subject: Gov Doc serials

Just one comment from the "public" point of view. It can be confusing
when government documents collections are split up and located in
different areas of the library. Remember, library patrons generally don't
make the distinction between serial and monograph as easily as

If the primary source used for locating government documents, such as
CD-ROM version of the Monthly Catalog, then there will be confusion among
patrons, since the access point in these sources is the SuDoc number. It
also requires the patrons to take the extra step in also checking the
library catalog to find out the location of the title in the library.
Documents already have a reputation for being difficult to use, and this
just adds to the difficulty.

If the whole collection is cataloged, and the locations are
clear in the library catalog, this becomes less of an issue. You
should check with your public services staff to determine the primary
tool used to located government documents.

Another wrinkle is the problem when a title is issued in different
formats; some issues in fiche, others in paper. We have struggled with how
to indicate holdings in these cases that are clear to our patrons-- and
have yet to find a completely satisfactory solution.

All this said, I urge everyone to catalog their government documents
collections. The fact that they are difficult to catalog is not an excuse
for denying good access to these wonderful information resources. (Yes,
I'm also struggling with what to do with the Current Population Reports!)
I have yet to hear of a library that did not see a substantial increase in
use once the collection appears on equal footing with other titles in the
library catalog.

(Can you tell I was a full time documents librarian in my former life?)

Arlene Weible
Periodicals and Government Documents Librarian
Willamette University
Mark O. Hatfield Library
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: 503-370-6312
Fax: 503-370-6141
Internet address: