MetaLib: Enhancing Discovery

In the fall of 2010, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) released its implementation of MetaLib, the federated searching tool with more than fifty databases. MetaLib complements and gives added depth to the access to Federal publications provided by the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP) through its ability not only to search databases, but to simultaneously search databases.

All of the databases configured in MetaLib are free, publicly accessible, Federal Government databases. MetaLib has something for just about everyone. Examples of some of the Federal Government information treasure troves accessible through MetaLib include:

  • Library of Congress Catalog
  • Archival Research Catalog of the National Archives
  • Data sets in Data.gov and geodata.gov
  • Air University Index to Military Periodicals
  • Environmental Health Perspectives
  • Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Publications
  • Agricola Articles from the National Agriculture Library
  • GAO Reports and Testimony
  • NASA Technical Reports
  • PubMed from the National Institute of Health
  • Patent and Trademark Office Patents Database

A variety of search options are available for seekers of Government information on such subjects as health, agriculture, transportation, U.S. military, education, and many more. The Basic Search offers two pre-defined search sets: General Resources and GPO Resources (more on this later). Adventurous users can go one step further to the Advanced Search for subject-oriented, pre-defined search sets that search up to ten resources simultaneously such as Business + Economy;  Health + Safety; and Recreation, Travel + Transportation. Expert Search offers even more flexibility. You can also browse through the A-Z Resource List. Not only can you take advantage of the simultaneous federated search, but you can also link to each database and search its own interface individually.

MetaLib is accessible through a link on the CGP homepage, or from <http://metalib.gpo.gov>. Since the databases accessible through MetaLib are free, publicly accessible resources, no authentication is required of users.

For all users, MetaLib offers the ability to search Federal Government databases simultaneously on a plethora of topics. It is now possible to search FDsys and the CGP through a pre-defined search set entitled “GPO Resources.” The single search box has been a request of the depository community that we are happy to have implemented in MetaLib.

Where are we going? Our goal is to continue to build MetaLib. We encourage you to continue to recommend databases for inclusion in this tool. To do so, click on “Suggest a Resource” in the upper right hand corner of the MetaLib homepage, or use askGPO. When submitting a question, please choose the category "Federal Depository Libraries" the subcategory “Catalog of U.S. Government Publications” and then “MetaLib – suggest a resource.”

The base set of resources was derived from the List of Classes, with additional configurations for titles in scope taken from the Ex Libris MetaLib Central Knowledge Base. We welcome suggestions from experts in the community for additional resources. Since searches and saves to “My E-Shelf” in MetaLib are session-based, and since all users are guest users, we are considering development to enable depository access to MetaLib through the CGP FDLP Login page, which will then allow saving across sessions.

Some statistics on MetaLib use:

Since MetaLib’s release, from October 14, 2010 - October 10, 2011:

  • Total Searches: 184,871
  • Total Number of User Sessions: 28,086

FDsys in MetaLib, from September 24, 2011 - October 10, 2011:

  • FDsys
    Number of searches: 1,200 (FDsys appears in a number of pre-defined search sets)
  • GPO Resources (CGP + FDsys) QuickSet
    Number of searches: 144

Take a look at MetaLib, and try out the search capabilities of the new “GPO Resources” pre-defined search set. Any feedback is very useful to us in planning future development and functionality as we strive to continually improve our services to depository libraries and to the public.

News & Events

May 26, 2016
Beginning in July 2016, Public Health Reports (PHR) (HE 20.30:, item number 0497-A-01), the official journal of the U.S. Public... Read More ...
May 24, 2016
Many Federal depository libraries display the handy, “How to Locate a U.S. Government Publication” poster near their FDLP collection. It guides... Read More ...
May 24, 2016
A live training webinar, "CFPB: Your Money, Your Goals," will be presented on Wednesday, June 15, 2016. Register today for “CFPB:... Read More ...
May 19, 2016
The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) is pleased to announce that an updated PURL Usage Tool is coming this June, with new... Read More ...
May 16, 2016
A live training webinar, "Increasing Veterans’ Access with eBenefits," will be presented on Thursday, June 16, 2016. Register today for... Read More ...
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GPO launched www.govinfo.gov, ushering in a new, dynamic way for the public to discover and access Government information. View the video for more information.

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