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Queen's University Library

Government Documents

Library: Stauffer Library
Faculty Representative: Graeme Campbell
Liaison Librarian: Graeme Campbell

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Collection Policy Outline

General Purpose:

As a depository for Canadian federal, Ontario provincial, United Nations and European Union, the Government Documents Unit has a responsibility to receive, organize and make accessible to the public in general and the Queen's community in particular, the publications of these organizations. In addition it provides for the teaching and research needs of the Faculty of Arts and Science, the School of Business, the School of Policy Studies, the School of Urban and Regional Planning; and for the needs of the Faculties of Applied Science, Education, Health Sciences, and Law as appropriate.

The Documents Unit in Stauffer Library is responsible for developing the government documents collection needed by humanities and social sciences departments, the School of Policy Studies, the School of Urban and Regional Planning, and the School of Environment Studies, as well as for acquiring interdisciplinary material. This means that Stauffer houses some government publications which are also used by those working in pure and applied science, education, health sciences, and law. Documents of exclusive interest to particular disciplines may be routed to or acquired separately for the regular stack collections. For example: the Law Library collects documents to support the professional requirements of the School of Law; the May Ball Library collects documents relating to industrial relations; the Engineering and Science, Health Sciences, and Education Libraries acquire some specialized government materials. Duplication is avoided except in cases of anticipated heavy use.

The Social Science Data Centre (also part of the Documents Unit) collects or provides access to both government and non-government statistical data in electronic form.


English and French are the preferred languages. Other Western European languages are also represented; for example: where neither English or French are available, the language of the source country or organization will be collected, but we do not normally collect South Asian, African, or oriental language material because the number of scholars at Queen's who could use such material is limited.

Geographical Areas:

Kingston and the surrounding area (in cooperation with Queen's Archives and Special Collections), Canadian federal publications, the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec, other Canadian provinces and territories, the United States, Great Britain, South Africa, Australia. Some other countries, like India, Pakistan, France, etc. are also represented. There is a strong collection of publications from International and Inter-regional organizations (e.g. United Nations, European Union, OECD, OAS).

Chronological period:

The majority of the collection covers the eighteenth century to the present, with strong historical coverage of Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Types of material collected:

  • Monographs
  • Serials
  • Microforms
  • Pamphlets
  • Electronic survey data, time series data, and full-text files
  • CD-ROM, Floppy disc and other electronic formats
  • Internet resources of note, either local or remote, are linked to the Documents Unit Home Page (e.g. we subscribe to a number of full-text and statistical resources on the Web)

Geographical Areas and Collecting Levels:

(Explanation of Collection Policy Levels)

Areas to be collected at level B:

  • Canada: Queen's is a depository for Canadian federal government publications. Since fewer publications are provided free than in the past, this requires vigilance to ensure we buy the necessary additional material.
    • Parliamentary documents: debates, statutes, bills, votes and proceedings, order papers, journals, committee hearings, gazettes,etc.
    • Annual reports, special studies, policy statements and periodicals of departments, tribunals, boards, commissions, corporations and agencies.
    • Royal commissions, committees of inquiry, task force reports, and major briefs presented to such groups.
    • Statistics: The Documents Unit has a rich collection of statistical materials (from Statistics Canada and other agencies). In addition, Queen's is part of the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI), which gives Queen's researchers "on-demand" access to electronic data files from Statistics Canada (for an annual fee). Files are ordered throughout the Documents Unit, and FTP"ed by Queen's from Statistics Canada as soon as they are made available. A preliminary list DLI files is appended to this policy statement.
    • Selected departmental press or news releases or speeches by the minister concerned.

  • Canadian Provinces and Territories: Our aim is to ensure thorough coverage of Ontario and Quebec, and good coverage of materials produced by the Maritime and Western Provinces and the Northern Territories.
    • Queen's is a depository for Ontario government publications.
    • For all provinces, we collect legislative, budget, and finance documents as well as royal commissions. Our subscription to Microlog includes free provincial documents from all the provinces and territories as well as free publications of "think tanks" like the C.D. Howe Institute.
    • We also collect records of inter-provincial and regional committees and task forces.

  • United Kingdom:
    • British legislative material: debates, statutes and Parliamentary Papers (task forces, royal commissions, etc.). We have the journals of both Houses back to 1066.
    • Vital Statistics and demographics. We have the 19th century British sessional documents on demographics and British censuses up to 1991.
    • Selected series (like publications of Wilton Park, a "think tank").
    • Foreign policy papers (in this area we cooperate with RMC to ensure good coverage is available locally).
    • Selective publications of the Public Record Office, and the List and Index Society Indexes.

  • United States: Emphasis is on federal government, though we also have some inter-state documents. Specific strengths include:
    • American Statistics Index (published by Congressional Information Service, hereinafter referred to as CIS)- we have the complete files (abstracts, indexes and microfiche full text) to 1994. We purchased the 1995 and 1996 Index and Abstracts (no fiche) before cancelling this set entirely.
    • Since 1994, we have been collecting publications of the U.S. Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Commerce as well as a selection of other files (e.g. World Meteorological Report) and providing access to other information through the Internet. This means that we are building only a limited local print collection to support future research.
    • Congressional Documents: these include all legislative and congressional documents from the House and Senate. We have House and Senate materials from 1857 to present, as follows:
      1857 to 1958 in the US Serial Set (by CIS)
      1968 to 1976 on Readex Microcard
      1976 to present in CIS (fiche set has the same name as the producing company). To fill the gaps would require purchasing 1776-1857 (1789-1857 in Serial Set, Part l) and 1959-1969 (Serial Set, Part Xll) at a cost of roughly $20,000 US each (at latest check).

    • Government Publishing Office depository collection for 1965-1976 and records of Congressional hearings for 1956-1965.
    • Supplementary research services such as the Congressional Research Service; the Code of Federal Regulations; the Federal Register; and the records of the U.S. Patent Office.
    • U. S. Office of Technology.
    • Council of State Governments
    • Queen's is a member of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research(ICPSR), the largest single social science data archive in the world. Content is largely American in focus, but there are a significant number of international and some Canadian files.
    • Many other resources are available to our users via the Internet (World Wide Web) either free or by subscription held by the Documents Unit.
      Summary of US Legislative/Statistical Holdings:
      • 1995-1996: ASI: American Statistics Index (Index, Abstract, No Fiche)
      • 1977-1994: ASI: American Statistics Index (Index, Abstract, Fiche)
      • 1983-present: IIS: Index to International Statistics (Index, Abstract, No Fiche)

    • US Congressional Documents:
      1976-present (CIS (Congressional Publications) : (Index, Abstract, Fiche) House & Senate)
      1968-1976 (US GPO Depository (Readex Microcard))
      1956-1967 (US GPO Senate & House Committee Hearings & Prints (Readex Microcard))
      1789-1969 (US Serial Set : (Index, Finding Lists - for fiche holdings see below))
      1857-1958 (US Serial Set : (Fiche))
      House - Documents, Reports, Miscellaneous
      Senate - Documents, Reports, Miscellaneous
      Serials set fiche holdings (held by Queen's unless otherwise indicated)
      • Pt. I. 1st-34th Congress (1789-1857) - not held
      • Pt. II. 35th-45th Congress (1857-1879)
      • Pt. III. 46th-50th Congress (1879-1889)
      • Pt. IV. 51st-54th Congress (1889-1897)
      • Pt. V. 55th-57th Congress (1897-1903)
      • Pt. VI. 58th-60th Congress (1903-1909)
      • Pt. VII. 61st-63rd Congress (1909-1915)
      • Pt. VIII. 64th-68th Congress (1915-1925)
      • Pt. IX. 69th-73rd Congress (1925-1934)
      • Pt. X. 74th-79th Congress (1935-1946)
      • Pt. XI. 80th-85th Congress (1947-1958)
      • Pt. XII. 85th-91st Congress (1959-1969) - not held
      1787-present (Congressional Record)
      1789-1838 (American State Papers (Readex Microcard))

    • Laws/Statutes - Congressional Record - Statutes at Large - US Code
    • Regulations - Federal Register - Code of Federal Regulations

  • International Organizations:
    • United Nations: Deposit - we are a full depository library (by subscription - approx. $1400/yr). Includes the following:
      United Nations General Assembly - Official Records
      UN Centre for Human Settlements
      UN Conference on Trade and Development
      UN Trade and Development Board - Official Records
      UN Environment Programme
      UN Fund for Population Activities
      UN High Commissioner for Refugees
      UN University
      UN Security Council - Official Records
      UN Economics and Social Council - Official Records
      UN Economic Commission for Africa
      UN Economic Commission for Europe
      UN Economic & Social Commission for Asia & Pacific
      UN Economic Commission for Latin America
      UN Secretariat
      UN Trusteeship Council
      UN International Court of Justice

    • UN Special Agencies: we select documents from the following agencies (Note : this list may be incomplete, but identifies the kinds of agencies collected):
      FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization
      WTO - World Trade Organization
      IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency
      ICAO - International Civil Aviation Organization
      IFAD - International Fund for Agricultural Development
      ILO - International Labour Organization - we have a global subscription. This collection is comprehensive.
      IMF - International Monetary Fund
      IMO - International Maritime Organization
      UNESCO - UN Education - we have a global standing order with pre-approval on items over $100
      UNIDO - UN Industrial Development Organization
      UPU - Universal Postal Union
      WB/IBRD World Bank/International Bank for Reconst. & Development
      WHO - World Health Organization
      WIPO - World Intellectual Property Organization
      WMO - World Meteorological Organization
      World Tourism Organization

    • Other International Organizations:
      European Union - we are a depository.
      Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) - until the recent financial crisis we had a global standing order. We now receive 15 of 24 sections.
      Regional Banks (Inter-American Bank for Cooperation and Development, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Asian Development Bank) - core publications.
      Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) - selected publications.
      North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) - Committee reports.
      Organization of American States (OAS) - we collect a limited amount because most of the publications are in Spanish and not heavily used. We have their journal, Americas, their Yearbook, and some reports on human rights and demographics.

    • World News Services:
      World News Connection (subscription to an Internet service) replacing Foreign Broadcast Information Service.
      Transition replacing Radio Free Europe.

    • South Africa:
      Legislative proceedings and Parliamentary debates for both houses
      Institute of Race Relations Annual Report
      Some political party information following the abolition of apartheid
      Special microform collections needed for research projects (e.g., commissions)

Areas to be collected at level C:

  • Canadian Municipal Documents: collecting in this area has fallen off since the closing of the Institute of Local Government. However, we still collect as follows:
    • Ontario municipal financial statistics
    • Ontario municipal government directories
    • planning documents for Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and some other larger Canadian cities
    • City of Kingston documents not available from Queen's Archives (Queen's Archives also serves as the City archives)

  • Canadian Pressure Groups and Political Party Material:
    • key election-platform material for all political parties involved for Canada and Ontario
    • important publications of powerful Canadian national and provincial pressure groups (list to be compiled)

  • Australia and New Zealand:
    • Debates of both houses
    • Key statistical publications

Areas to be collected at level D or E:

  • Other Countries: We have traditionally collected yearbooks and statistical data, but collecting has been falling off because of the amount of basic background and statistical data available from the United Nations, other international organizations and the Internet.

Policy last revised: February 2000

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Kingston, Ontario, Canada.