Government Documents



Eric Wedig


Coordinator for Scholarly Resources, Social Sciences

Librarian Phone Number

(504) 865-5644

Librarian Email

Program Description

The Howard-Tilton Memorial Library is one of nearly 1,400 designated depositories for U.S. Government Publications. It is also one of the older federal depositories in Louisiana, having been designated a depository by Congress in 1884. It is a selective depository, receiving approximately 65 percent of available publications from the Government Printing Office. The collection currently exceeds 150,000 documents in paper(paper documents are currletly housed offsite), microform and electronic format. Selection of government documents and related reference materials at the Howard-Tilton library is based on several factors:
  • As a University library, the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library serves the needs of the faculty, students and staff of Tulane. The selection of documents is coordinated with the specific needs of the university community.
  •  As a designated depository library, the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library serves the information needs of users in the second congressional district of Louisiana. The citizens of this district are the documents collection's largest constituency.
  • The Howard-Tilton Memorial Library's depository collection is only one part of a much larger information context that takes into account the strengths and weaknesses of the nearby depository libraries when deciding what publications to select.
  • Space considerations and projected growth of the collection may affect selection decisions.

Subject Resource Guide


Documents are acquired in topical areas broadly related to the Library's academic focus on the humanities, the social sciences, and science & engineering. There are several U.S. government agencies from which all or nearly all available items offered through the depository program are selected: * The Bureau of the Census, Bureau of Economic Analysis, NOAA, National Bureau of Standards and other divisions of the department of Commerce, the Department of Health and Human Services and its National Institutes of Health and Public Health Service, the Department of Labor, the Department of Interior including the U.S. Geological Survey. * The Executive Office of the President provides considerable numbers of publications to the collection. A large portion of these publications selected includes the heavily used map collection from the Central Intelligence Agency. * Selection of Congressional materials is extensive. Hearings from nearly all Congressional committees as well as all House and Senate reports and documents are selected.


Types of materials selected include monographs (books or reports), series, serials, reference works, maps, media, and recordings.


Formats selected include printed text; digital files online or on CDs; microform; and maps. The careful selection of electronic materials is of vital importance to patrons needing access to government information, with the considerable number of government agencies that have web sites on the Internet. Pathways, accessed through the GPO web site is an important link to locating the growing number of full text government publications on the Internet. The library acquires some government information through subscription sources such as STAT-USA, Congressional Universe, and Marcive WebDOCS.


English is sought. Materials in other languages are considered selectively.

Chronological Period

Emphasis is on current materials, although retrospective coverage is also considered useful in many instances (such as declassified materials).

Imprint Date

Preference is given to items published within the last two or three years and items with older imprint dates are sought selectively. Out-of-print materials are sought selectively, mostly to replace important older works damaged or missing from the collection.

Geographical Considerations

Materials focusing on regional, domestic, and foreign geographic areas are sought.

Related Collections

Cooperative Resources

The Howard-Tilton Memorial Library is one of 14 members of a cooperative consortium of southern research libraries called KUDZU, which includes a shared online catalog. Loan requests through this system receive priority processing and expedited two-day delivery. The library is also a member of the cooperative Center for Research Libraries (CRL) in Chicago, through which we may borrow a wide range of rare materials for our users. Undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty may borrow materials directly from the main library nearby at Loyola University of New Orleans through a reciprocal agreement called TU/LU. Graduate students and faculty may borrow materials at other New Orleans area academic libraries, and at other academic libraries throughout the state, through the LALINC consortium. For more information about cooperative borrowing privileges inquire at the library's Check-Out Desk.

Supply Sources

The Government Printing Office and the Congressional Information Service are the primary suppliers for the collection.

Endowed Funds

The government documents collection is not presently assisted by endowed funds.

Selection Tools

The GPO's Federal Depository Library Item Lister and recommendations from faculty, staff, and students.