Federal information is used by all sectors of society, from the business and financial communities, to the agricultural industry, to scientists and engineers. It spans a broad spectrum of issues relevant to our lives, including public health, environmental problems, and demographic and employment trends. This handbook is designed to facilitate access to that wealth of material, providing the reader with a core collection of manuals, guides, and introductions to strategic federal and United Nations agencies that disseminate government information. It offers valuable insights into the document programs of the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the Depository Library Program, the National Technical Information Service, and the United Nations. The work is divided into six main parts, covering depository libraries, Congress, the national libraries and information programs, the Bill of Rights, and the United Nations. Complete or partial documents within these sections include the Guide to the Superintendent of Documents Classification Scheme, the Federal Depository Library Manual, the Guide to the National Archives for Researchers, and the Guide to the United Nations Documentation, as well as guides to the Library of Congress, the National Agriculture Library, and the National Library of Medicine. Each document has an editor's introduction and is followed by an antated bibliography and descriptions of relevant organizations and their publications. In addition, four suggested core collections are provided, listing basic federal documents for public, college, and law libraries, and National Technical Information Service titles for academic libraries. An epilogue discusses electronic dissemination of federal information. This book will be a useful resource for courses in government documents and collection development, as well as for professional librarians and researchers who use depository libraries and federal documents. Public, college, and academic libraries will also find the book to be a valuable addition to their reference collections.
FREDERIC J. O'HARA is Professor Emeritus of Library and Information Science, at Long Island University. His reviews and columns have appeared in the Wilson Library Journal, RSR Reference Review, and Government Publications Review. He is the author of Reference Guide to the Publications of the Executive Branch, Reader in Government Documents, and Over 2,000 Free (Government) Publications.