Government Information Collection

About the Collection

The UWM Libraries is a 60% selective U.S. Federal Depository Library. Federal government resources are received in various formats, including paper, microfiche, CD-ROM, DVD, and via the Internet. These resources are found in various locations in the Library depending on format and subject, cataloged within the Library of Congress classification system and searchable through Search@UW. Links are also provided in the online catalog to important resources on the Internet. A small number of items are housed in Compact Shelving, West and arranged by U.S. Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) numbers; those are also searchable through Search@UW.

The Library is also designated a partial depository for State of Wisconsin publications. All Wisconsin publications held by the Library are searchable through Search@UW, and shelved in the general collection.

Collection Development Policy

Academic Program Support

The purpose of the Government Information Unit, administered by the Research and Instructional Support Department at the UWM Libraries, is to provide access to and service from, government information as needed by the faculty, staff, and students of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Milwaukee community. The collection supports the curriculum and research in all areas, from the undergraduate level to the doctoral level.

The Government Information unit also provides access and service to the community and public as required by law (44 U.S. Code). The information needs of the community can range from basic reference requests to complex research assistance. The UWM Libraries is a selective federal depository library within the area served by the regional depository, the Milwaukee Public Library-Central Branch. The collection is maintained in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the Government Printing Office’s “Instructions to Depository Libraries.” All documents are clearly marked with the depository stamp, date of processing, and records include the Superintendent of Documents classification code.

Collection Level

Documents are selected at a comprehensive level from the following U.S. Federal Government agencies: Agriculture Department; Commerce Department, particularly the Census Bureau; Department of Education; Interior Department, particularly the United States Geological Survey; Health and Human Services; and the Justice Department. Publications of other federal government departments are reviewed for suitability using the selection standards listed below.

Collection Profile and Selection Standards

The Government Information Librarian, in consultation with other librarians, is responsible for the selection of all government information resources. Purchases of non-depository government publications are made on the recommendation of the Government Information Librarian and Collection and Resource Management professionals to meet the needs of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee community.

The UWM Libraries Government Information Unit selects approximately 60% of the documents available through the Federal Depository Library Program. The percentage of selected documents may change annually due to decisions to add or deselect documents based on the following factors:

  • The changing nature of the UWM’s academic mission and programs
  • Historical research purposes
  • Availability of information in other sources
  • Geographic area covered by the material
  • User interest
  • Citizen information

Formats Selected

All government publications are selected in the most appropriate available format, taking into consideration content, user preferences, and library facilities. Formats may include, but are not limited to paper, microfiche, maps, and electronic formats. New formats will be accommodated as feasible.

Special De-Selection Criteria

Publications which no longer fit the selection standards are withdrawn from the collection at the discretion of the Government Information Librarian as permitted by the U.S. Government Printing Office’s “Instructions to Depository Libraries.”

Documents chosen for weeding include:

  • Preliminary reports (if final report has been received)
  • Meeting announcements
  • Newsletters
  • Single sheet items and pamphlets
  • Consumer information pamphlets/guides (except health related guides, unless outdated)
  • Dated/false information
  • Superseded publications

Documents which will be exempt from weeding include:

  • Bibliographies
  • Environmental impact statements, preliminary and final
  • Forest Service publications
  • Any material containing information on Wisconsin, the Great Lakes, or the region around Wisconsin (Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, and the Midwest in general.)
  • Any publication that may be of value (present or historical) to any graduate degree program at UWM, particularly items that have actively circulated.


Gifts which meet the selections standards or which will fill gaps in the collection will be added at the discretion of the Government Information Librarian. Gift items which are not added to the collection will be offered to other depository libraries or discarded.