Collection Development Statement

Last updated July 2020


The library has been a depository for United Stated federal government information since 1882.  As a selective depository, the library chooses those categories of government information which serve the needs of the Johns Hopkins community.  Selections are made by the Government Publications Academic Liaison in consultation with other subject specialist colleagues.  The Academic Liaison for Government Information also serves as the libraries coordinator with the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO).

Departments/disciplines/programs subject areas supported

Government information supports a wide range of academic disciplines including business, political science, history, economics, geology, public health, sociology, education, legal research and many individual course and research projects.  Historically the library’s government information collections have been strongest in content produced by the U.S. Congress, Census Bureau, U.S. Geological Survey, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Departments of Justice, State, Health and Human Services, and Education.

As one of the most comprehensive government information collections in Maryland, the library also attracts researchers from local colleges and universities.  Under the terms of our federal depository library agreement (Title 44, U.S. Code) the government publications collections must be available to the public. Like other library collections, all government information resources are searchable and/or accessible full-text from the Library online catalog and related databases.


Historically the print collections have been organized by the Superintend of Documents classification scheme. Since 2005 a very high percentage of U.S. Government publications have been issued in full-text electronic formats. As a result, the library’s collections reflect that shift and most of our current depository selections are for electronic only.  We acquire very few titles in print.  Bibliographic records for both the print and electronic content appear in the online catalog and include associated links to full-text hosted by the GPO and other sources. Most print government publications are now housed at the Libraries Service Center.

To meet patron needs for full-text copies of pre 2005 government publications, the library has invested heavily in acquiring perpetual access to government produced content made available by commercial publishers.  Content includes:

  • All Legislative Branch publications (1789 – forward via ProQuest Inc.)
  • All Executive Branch publications (1789 – 1948 via ProQuest Inc.)
  • Declassified U.S. Documents (via ProQuest Inc.) and content from the U.S. Foreign Broadcast Information Service (Readex Inc.
  • Statutory, Regulatory, Case law (coverage varies via Westlaw, Nexis Uni, HeinOnline Inc.)
  • Statistical Sources (coverage varies via Social Explorer, ProQuest Inc., Data Planet, Simply Analytics Inc.)

These commercial sources complement our government depository receipts and have allowed us to withdraw and replace print government publications with electronic only access.  We coordinate our withdrawals of government publications with the GPO regional depository library at the University of Maryland College Park.

Our collections of government information support both scholarly research and course instruction.  Electronic sources, government and commercial, include a wide range of navigation tools to parse, manipulate, and export data customized to the needs of the individual student or faculty member.

Formats Selected

  • E-books and e-journals
  • Selective print monographs
  • Full-text and statistical databases
  • Datasets

Languages Collected

  • English preferred

Chronological or geographical focus

  • Geographic focus is the United States and information collected by the U.S. Government regarding foreign countries.
  • No date restrictions.


The selector closely coordinates collection development with the business librarians and other Academic Liaisons as many of the government information databases and dataset are heavily used by wide range of academic departments.

Subject Librarian

Jim Gillispie
Social Science Librarian for Public Health, Economics, Government Informatiom