Based on the provisions of the 1962 Depository Library Act (P.L. 87-579, 76 Stat. 352), and Title 44, Section 19 (P.L. 90-620, 82 Stat. 1283), Central Library is a part of the Federal Depository Library program as a selective depository, along with 20 other libraries in the state.
Vanderbilt was designated as a “depository for public documents” in the spring of 1884. It was further designated as a depository for United Nations publications in 1946, one of the first so designated.
All told, the government documents collections at Vanderbilt number over 900,000 publications.
Within constraints of budget, staffing, space, and technical support capacity, government documents staff at Vanderbilt will acquire, organize, preserve, and make available to the public and to the university community:
Specifically, Vanderbilt acquires publications from these types of governments or international agencies:
Depository materials have been and are received in various formats: paper, microfilm, microfiche, microprint, and electronic. Non-depository and commercially prepared reference tools are acquired in the same formats. Government documents staff receive monographs, periodicals and other serials, maps, and pamphlets in any format. When faced with the option of paper format, microformat, or electronic for a publication, staff generally select paper format if the publication falls within our subregional or Center for Excellence collection responsibilities, if we expect high use of the publication, or if the publication has statistics relevant to our collection or our region. However, this policy is in the process of being transitioned to favor digital, in accordance with our subregional requirements and in reliance upon the FDLP's recently instituted (in 2023) plans for an all-digital depository program.
Vanderbilt is a signatory to a longstanding agreement with the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) to be part of its Collaborative Federal Depository Program (CFDP), which will eventually complete a shared collection among the ten ASERL states’ selective depository libraries for comprehensive coverage of government information from each federal agency. The complete program will have two Centers of Excellence (COEs) for each agency to ensure redundancy. The charges of participating COEs include:
§ actively replace damaged or lost pieces,
§ seek to fill holes in their collections, as necessary, via Needs and Offers lists
§ provide active preservation for the collection
§ catalog pieces that they own on OCLC and identify them as the archival copy
§ participate in GPO’s program to set holdings on OCLC for Regionals free of charge, if eligible
§ participate in the ASERL union catalog (Kudzu) and ILL/Document Delivery agreements
The unit acquires: