Collection Development Policy - Appendix F (Government Documents)

[Note: Recent major changes by the Government of Canada to federal document distribution have rendered this policy obsolete. It is currently under revision as of August 2014.]

Description of the Collection
Geographical Coverage
Chronological Coverage
Types of Material Collected
Formats of Material Collected
Subject Coverage
Levels of Collecting
Access to Collection
Relegation and Weeding
Disposal of Materials Removed from the Government Documents Collection
Review of the Government Documents Collection Policy
Appendix - Guidelines for Canadian Government Depository Publications


The Government Documents Collection serves the information, teaching, and research needs of the students and the faculty at the University of Prince Edward Island.  The collection also serves, to a lesser degree, the Prince Edward Island community.


Government documents are defined as:

“Publications, regardless of physical form, issued or published by authority of a government body.  Specifically: those issued or published by the executive, legislative, and judicial functions of government at all levels - international, national, federal, local government bodies and intergovernmental bodies.”  (

Description of the Collection

The Robertson Library is a selective depository for Canadian Federal Government publications released through the Canadian Government Centre’s Weekly Checklist.  The Library is also a depository for Statistic Canada’s publications.  As a depository library the Robertson Library is legally responsible to receive, to organize, to maintain, and to make accessible to the University of Prince Edward Island community in particular and to the Island community in general, the publications produced by the Government of Canada, its departments and its agencies.

The Library is a member of the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) which provides Canadian academic institutions with access to Statistics Canada data files and databases for teaching and research.

The Library is a participant in the Map and Chart Depository program.

The Government Documents Collection’s main focus is Canadian federal government documents.  The Library has the Provincial Government Documents Collection from MICROLOG  from 1973-1990.  This microfiche collection is housed in Government Documents Compact Storage.

The Prince Edward Island government documents are located in the Prince Edward Island Collection.


English is the predominant language.  Most Canadian federal documents are bilingual.  When publications are available separately in both official languages, English language publications are selected.

Geographical Coverage

The Government Documents Collection focus is primarily on Canadian Federal documents.   All available Prince Edward Island government documents are located in the Prince Edward Island Collection.

International publications are selected on an individual basis in accordance with the general Collections Policy.  Monographs are catalogued and classified according to the Library of Congress classification system and are shelved in the open stacks.  Serials, if they are not classified, are shelved with the periodicals.

Chronological Coverage

1867 to the present.  Preference is given to the acquisition of current material.  

Types of Materials Collected

The Collection includes:

  • Parliamentary materials - debates, committee procedures, and reports
  • Statutory materials - bills, acts, regulations, cumulative revisions of acts and regulations
  • Statistical publications - monographs and serials
  • Royal Commissions and Task Force reports
  • Department and/or agency reports
  • Basic reference publications
  • Publications of Canadian crown corporations
  • Publications of libraries, museums, art galleries, observatories, etc under the jurisdiction of a government
  • Maps accompanying government publications such as ethnographic, census, demographic, land use, etc.
  • Maps distributed through the Map and Chart Depository program
  • Special studies, policy statements, and periodicals of departments, commissions, crown corporations, and agencies.

Formats of Material Collected

Government documents are collected in all formats including:

  • Paper - monographs, serials, pamphlets
  • Microform - microfilm, microfiche
  • Electronic - CD-ROM, Internet
  • Audiovisual

When a publication is available both in print and electronically, the format of choice will normally be the electronic publication.  Exceptions to this general statement would be publications such as Canadian Social Trends. (October 31, 2007)

Subject Coverage

Subject coverage includes, but is not limited to the following::

  • Anthropology
  • Biological Science
  • Business
  • Canadian Studies
  • Classics
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Fine Arts
  • Health sciences
  • History
  • Political science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Women’s Studies


The main Government Documents Collection is housed on the main floor of the Robertson Library, directly behind the Information Desk.

The Prince Edward Island documents are housed in the Prince Edward Island Collection.


Most Federal government documents are arranged according to the Depository Services Classification number.  Selected Federal government documents are catalogued and classified according to the Library of Congress Classification system.

Prince Edward Island government documents are catalogued and classified according to the  Library of Congress Classification system.

Levels of Collecting

    Collecting Levels
Description   Current     Desired
Canada  (Federal - excluding Statistics Canada)   3A
Canada  (Statistics Canada)    4
Canada  (Prince Edward Island)   4
Canada (Other Provinces and Territories)  
Foreign Countries    


Access to Collection

Bibliographic records for selected government publications are available through Robertson Library’s catalogue.  Retrospective cataloguing is ongoing.

Information on how to locate documents not found in the Library catalogue is available as follows:

  • Federal Publication Locator available at
  • Documents published prior to 1992 are listed in the Canadian Government Publications Catalogue located in the Government Documents Collection - IC6-1/ (1953, 1958-1992).
  • Canadian Government Documents Catalogues from 1891-1970 are available on microfiche - Z1373 .C35.
  • Documents published after January 6, 1995 can be located by searching the Weekly Checklist - the Depository Services Program’s searchable catalogue of Canadian Government publications -
  • The Library has provincial government documents from 1973-1990 on microfiche from MICROLOG.  These are shelved by MICROLOG number and are located in Reference Compact Storage.  Printed indexes to this collection are located with the Indexes and Abstracts in the Reference Room.  These indexes include: Profile Index (1973-1978); Publicat (1978);  and MICROLOG Index (1979-1994).
  • Canadian Research Index (CRI), an index to Canadian government and research reports at the federal, provincial, and municipal level, is available through the Library Homepage under Databases.  Coverage is from 1982 to the present.
  • DSP E-Collection  -  The Depository Services Program provides links to all electronic publication - free and priced -  that are currently available on the DSP server.  The Robertson Library is IP authenticated to obtain access to those publications that are not available free of charge.


The Robertson Library’s Government Documents Collection is a non-circulating collection.

Relegation and Weeding  

De-selection of materials from the Government Documents Collection shall be based on the Depository Services Retention/disposition guidelines for Canadian Government depository publications.  (

Specifically, the Robertson Library shall follow Section 1 a-j.

Disposal of Materials Removed from the Government Documents Collection

The Robertson Library shall dispose of materials removed from the Government Documents Collection in accordance with the guidelines outlined in Retention/disposition guidelines for Canadian Government depository publications. ( Section 4.)  (

Liaison Librarians shall follow the above guidelines when disposing of materials.


Information Desk staff provide assistance in the use of the Government Documents Collection.

Review of the Government Documents Collection Policy

This document will be review every three years, or as needed.  This review will be initiated by the Head, Information Services.

Cathy Callaghan
April 30, 2004