Government Documents


This document consists of policies and procedures relating to our Government Documents collection. The Government Documents department exists to make government documents easily accessible to our patrons and to the general public and to ensure their continued availability in the future.


The Law Library is the only combined academic and county bar library in the United States. Funding revenues for each institution are different and are kept totally separate. The collection is integrated and library materials are stamped according to ownership: University Law Library, Pulaski County Law Library, U.S. Government document depository and Arkansas state depository. The online catalog is integrated with coding to distinguish ownership of each item. The catalog also contains the holdings of the Arkansas Supreme Court Library that has been a selective government depository since 1972.

The Law Library became a selective federal depository in 1978 under provision of Title 44, U.S.C. section 1916. The Law Library shares the responsibility of serving the government information needs of the 2nd Congressional District of Arkansas with the regional depository at the Arkansas State Library and the other depository libraries in the district. This includes UALR’s Ottenheimer Library, Central Arkansas Library System, Arkansas Supreme Court Library, Harding University in Searcy and the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. While there is no formal cooperative collection development agreement in place, duplication of low use items is avoided by comparing item selections from local libraries, especially UALR and Central Arkansas Library System.

Access and Outreach

The UALR Bowen School of Law is located in downtown Little Rock. The Law Library operates independently from the UALR Ottenheimer Library, which is located about fifteen minutes away. We serve approximately 400 law students and over 30 teaching faculty and adjunct professors. The Library also serves the bar of Pulaski County, attorneys and judges from other counties and members of the general public.

When classes are in session, the Reference desk is staffed 78 hours per week. The Law Library ranks 66th among 180 law school libraries in the number of hours that a professional is on duty. Documents reference is included as part of our overall reference services. All librarians staff the Reference Desk, with each working one night during the week (except Friday) and we rotate Saturdays during the academic year. Reference assistance is provided in accordance with our Reference Service Policy.

Since the library is also the only academic law library in Central Arkansas, considerable use of its collection is made by students/faculty from other nearby Universities. The Law Librarians conduct tours and give lectures for class groups upon demand. Community users also make considerable use of the Collection with many of them being pro se litigants. Reference questions by members of the general public and students from other institutions account for almost 40% of our total reference work.

The Law Library maintains an open stacks policy so that access to the collection is available for all users of the library when the library is open. The only restricted areas are the rare books/special collections that are housed both in the rare books room on the fourth floor and in the basement. We have written policies and procedures for access to these materials. We also shelve superseded materials and duplicate sets in the basement and Librarians retrieve requested materials for patrons upon demand.

The library subscribes to numerous databases and indexes to facilitate access to the collection, including government documents. These include: CIS Congressional Universe, CIS Annuals, CIS CFR index, Andriot’s Guide to U.S. Government Publications, CQ Weekly, Checklist of United States Public Documents and Cumulative Indexes to the Monthly Catalog. All patrons also have access to OCLC FirstSearch, which includes the Monthly Catalog.

The Reference Librarians prepare subject bibliographies in selected areas that are cataloged and shelved near the Reference Desk. Patrons are welcome to make copies. Federal and state documents are an integral part of the bibliographies and many web sites are included as appropriate. Topics include Federal Sentencing Guidelines, Federal Tax Research, Immigration, Labor and employment and Immigration.

We have available in the Reference Area two computers with printers for use by the general public and attorney population. The computers are in compliance with the Recommended Specifications for Public Workstations. Patrons have access to GPO Access and the Internet using Netscape. Each computer is equipped with a CD-ROM drive. Printing is available at a cost often cents per page. We have written access and use policies governing use of the computers.

Handicapped Access

It is the policy of the Library to provide access to persons with disabilities. The law library provides special carrels to accommodate patrons with disabilities. One closed carrel is equipped with a “magnisight” to assist patrons with visual needs. Also, we select titles in Braille when available and within our selection parameters. Library staff members are available to retrieve materials or provide other services that may be required.


State and federal documents may circulate according to the policies and procedures that apply to the general collection. Interlibrary loan of documents is permitted.

Photocopiers and Fax Machines

The Library has four copiers, one on each floor. Patrons may purchase copy cards at the circulation Desk. Patrons may also send or receive faxes for a nominal charge.

Collection Arrangement

Documents are fully cataloged in the library’s ILS, an Innovative Interfaces system which is called Themis. There is a small governments documents collection shelved on the third floor, south end of the library. Titles there include the Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents and the Congressional Record. However, the majority of the federal and state documents are classified using the Library of Congress Classification system and are integrated into the general collection. CD-ROM titles are shelved in the Reserve area along with other non-depository CD-ROMs and may be checked out for library use.

Microforms are shelved on the third floor. Many of the serial microform titles have been cataloged with holdings statements and/or check-in records for the serials. The congressional microfilm has not been cataloged and we rely on the CIS databases and indexes for access. There are two reader-printers and several readers in the adjoining room.

Collection Development

A committee consisting of the Law Library Director, Serials/Acquisitions Librarian, the Reference/Special Collections Librarian and Technical Services Librarian are responsible for decisions regarding the collection. They select materials, decide retention policies and when to withdraw/offer materials. The Documents Librarian reviews the items selected and makes suggestions for adding or dropping to the Committee. Occasionally, selection issues are addressed at the weekly librarians meeting. The Director has the final authority.

The depository maintains a basic collection available for immediate use consisting of most of the titles in Appendix A of the Guidelines. We select all of the items on the list for the Federal Depository Library Manual, Basic Collection except some of the Census of Housing and Population Materials.

The depository selects all primary legal materials, including all Federal administrative decisions and orders and all digests of or indexes to decisions. Statutory codes, court rules and regulations are selected. The depository will not duplicate holdings by selecting categories such as “Laws” which are more conveniently available in other parts of the collection. We select relevant statistical materials.

The depository selects materials responsive to the needs of the users in the congressional district it serves, including materials regarding Arkansas. A special focus on the needs of the legal community is maintained. Our volume count puts us at the low end of the size designation for medium academic law libraries. We currently select 11%, which is comparable to other libraries of our size.

Format selected is based on the volume of use. Paper is the preferred format since it is most easily handled by the general public. However, the frequency of publication is also considered, especially with congressional publications such as bills, committee reports and hearings. Microform is selected for these types of material.

Government documents are increasingly available through the Internet. Links are currently being provided through the THEMIS web catalog. The Library will continue to maintain the paper collection and provide links to the patrons. The GPO Purl Alert is searched monthly to find new links. We have opted not to replace “tangible versions” with electronic as permitted by FDLP. In cases where only the internet is available, the electronic resource is cataloged with a link. We also selectively print documents from the internet and add the title to the collection. If the agency is one where we strive to collect comprehensively and we deem the title to be significant to the collection, we might try to purchase in microfiche or paper if it is offered commercially.

Agencies and Governmental Entities

There are three levels of selection for each governmental agency:

  • Comprehensive level: Agencies that are primarily legal in nature, whose products are of prime importance to the law collection.
  • Research level: Agencies that produce substantial information relevant to the legal community, along with considerable matter not appropriate to our collection.
  • Selective level: Agencies whose work is only tangentially law related and items are selected primarily for acquiring agency decision.


AE Federal Register Office

CC Federal Communications Commission

CR Civil Rights Commission

FM Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service

GP Government Printing Office

J Justice Department

LR National Labor Relations Board

MS Merit Systems Protection Board

NMB National Mediation Board

PR President of the United States

PRVP Vice President of the United States

SE Securities and Exchange Commission

XI, Yl Congress


FMC Federal Maritime Commission

FTC Federal Trade Commission

L Labor Department

LC Library of Congress

SSA Social Security Administration

T Treasury Department


A Agriculture Department

C Commerce Department

D Defense Department

E Energy

ED Education

EP Environmental Protection Agency

FCA Farm Credit Administration

FEM Federal Emergency Management Agency

GA General Accounting Office

GS General Services Administration (Consumer Information Center)

HE Health and Human Services

HH Housing and Urban Development

I Interior Department

IC Interstate Commerce Commission

ITC International Trade Commission

P U.S. Postal Service

PM Personnel Management Office

PREX Executive Office of the President

RR Railroad Retirement Board

S State Department

SI Smithsonian Institution

T Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Bureau

TD Transportation Department

VA Veterans Affairs Department

The following congressional committees are selected in microform to be permanently maintained.

Y4 AG 4 Aging (Senate)

Y4 AG 8/1 Agriculture (House)

Y4 AR 5/2 Armed Services (House)

Y4 AR 5/3 Armed Services (Senate)

Y4 B 22/2 Banking and Financial Services (House)

Y4 B 22/3 Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs (Senate)

Y4 B 85/2 Budget (House)

Y4 EC 7 Joint Economic Committee

Y4 ED 8/1 Education and the Workforce

Y4 ET 3/4 Ethics (Senate)

Y4 F 76/2 Foreign Relations (Senate)

Y4 G 74/7 Government Reform (House)

Y4 G 74/7 Governmental Affairs (Senate)

Y4 H 81/3 House Administration (House)

Y4 IN 2/11 Indian Affairs (Senate)

Y4 IN 8/16 International Relations (House)

Y4 J 89/1 Judiciary (House)

Y4 L 11/4 Health, Education, Labor & Pensions

Y4 L 61/2 Joint Committee on the Library

Y4 P 93/1 Printing

Y4 R 31/3 Resources (House)

Y4 R 86/1 Rules (House)

Y4 R 86/2 Rules and Administration (Senate)

Y4 ST 2/3 Standards of Official Conduct (House)

Y4 T 19/4 Joint Committee on Taxation

Y4 T 68/2 Transportation and Infrastructure (House)

Y4 V 64/3 Veterans’ Affairs (House)

Y4 V 64/4 Veterans’ Affairs (Senate)

Y4 W 36 Ways and Means (House)

Y4.2 Select and Special Committees (as appointed)

Y7.1 Memorial Addresses

Y10 Congressional Budget Office

Maintenance and Weeding

Materials are processed and housed in accordance with the Instructions to Depository Libraries, July 2000 revision. The Documents Librarian supervises overall processing. A staff member is responsible for checking the shipping list against the item list. All pieces are stamped with the depository stamp and the item record and superintendent of documents number are recorded on the inside front cover. The staff member reviews the list and sends claims if needed via fax. The Documents Librarian separates material for further processing.

Serials are given to the two Serials LATS for check in using the Innovative Interfaces check in system. Document serials are integrated with the other serials requiring check-in. Check-in records are created for serials, regardless of format. Microfiche, paper and CD-ROMs are checked in and further processed according to the instructions found on the check in card. Item records and holdings statements are created for all serials as appropriate. The item record contains a code indicating it is for a depository item.

Document serials are bound using the same criteria for all other materials. A Library Binding Institute certified bindery picks up and delivers materials each month. The serials LAT prepares the shipment and the Serials/Acquisitions Librarian reviews the binding prior to packing. The status and location of serials, such as “Bind Prep” or “To bind” or “Bound” are noted into the check-in record. We try to bind complete volumes containing all issues. We have successfully contacted Agencies directly to obtain needed issues or obtained copies from agency web sites. For those serials that we occasionally receive an issue in microfiche, we make a paper copy using acid free paper and then bind.

The Selection Committee decides what missing or lost materials to replace. We review the “Needs and Offers” list available on the Internet and offers lists received from other depository libraries in our region to obtain needed documents. We also place orders using a commercial jobber such as Book House or William S. Hein.

Because we are an academic library, cataloged monograph titles are not withdrawn. Serials are judiciously withdrawn. Internal Revenue materials are kept for at least five years, though they are usually listed in the Superseded List as “Keep latest.” All editions of the U.S. Code are kept. All microfilm editions of Flood Insurance Studies for Little Rock are kept though only the latest is kept for other Arkansas localities.

All prior editions of Directories are withdrawn. Also, superseded pamphlets directed for the pro-se users are withdrawn. These are current awareness type materials, intended to inform citizens about their rights or responsibilities. Many are these types of publications are from the Social Security Administration.

Federal documents remain the property of the U.S. government. Documents we no longer need or want and that are not superseded according to the Guidelines in the Superseded List are added to an offers list and sent to our Regional Library for permission to offer to the libraries specified by the Regional.