University of Colorado, Boulder: GPO’s First Preservation Steward

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  • On October 18, during the 2016 Depository Library Council Meeting & Federal Depository Library Conference, Laurie Hall, the U.S. Government Publishing Office’s (GPO’s) Acting Superintendent of Documents, signed GPO’s first Preservation Steward agreement with the University of Colorado, Boulder (CU, Boulder). Depository Coordinator Kate Tallman represented CU, Boulder at the signing. As a Preservation Steward, CU, Boulder made a commitment to retain its Congressional Hearings collection, U.S. Serial Set, and Bound Congressional Record. The library has also taken on the additional responsibilities for preserving that material.

    Among the highlights in the CU, Boulder Preservation Steward Collection are the set of Western exploration surveys issued as part of the Serial Set. Volume 2 of the Report on the United States and Mexican Boundary (1852) contains color illustrations that Kate Tallman says, “look like they were printed just yesterday.” The collection also contains the reports of the Hayden, King, and Powell Surveys along with the accompanying drawings of flora, fauna, and landscapes. The drawings from the Powell Survey are some of the earliest illustrations of the Grand Canyon.

    All the material covered by the Preservation Steward agreement is housed in CU, Boulder’s high-density off-site storage facility, PASCAL. CU, Boulder is updating its bibliographic records to reflect the new location “Special Location @ PASCAL” or [email protected] In the event of a major emergency at the PASCAL facility, the Preservation Steward collection and other material in the [email protected] location would be evacuated first.

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  • As a Preservation Steward, CU, Boulder implemented a new comprehensive review process for the material. Preservation Steward Collection material can now only be recalled for in-library use in the Special Collections and Archives Reading Room. Before being returned to storage, the publication will be routed down to the library’s preservation department where it will be reviewed for completeness and condition. If minor repairs are needed, the preservation department will do the work. If major repairs are needed, the Government Information Library will be consulted and may reach out to GPO for guidance. Condition will be noted in a 538 field in the bibliographic record. Additionally, the publication will be stamped as the archival copy, shrink-wrapped, or re-housed in a preservation quality clam-shell box. Any stickers will be removed and placed on the outside of the item.

    According to Kate, one of first positive impacts of becoming a Preservation Steward has been the “the development of close collaborations with library departments that we had not worked with closely before. This has been a truly collaborative effort across the University Libraries.” The Government Information Library was also able to align the Preservation Steward partnership with the CU, Boulder’s University Libraries strategic goal of enhanced reputation. “By highlighting and promoting a unique collection in the library and partnering with a respected Government agency,” stated Kate Tallman, “this project increases our visibility within the library, on campus, and in the community. As a result, it will lead to more interactions between our collection and the faculty and students of the University of Colorado-Boulder.”

    GPO continues to seek libraries (both regionals and selectives) that will serve as Federal Information Preservation Network (FIPNet) Preservation Stewards. These designated libraries, under a Memorandum of Agreement with GPO, would retain all or a portion of their Federal depository collection. Identifying Preservation Stewards will allow GPO to ensure that preservation copies of record will be in geographically dispersed locations in the United States, as required by the Joint Committee on Printing, GPO’s oversight committee.

    To inquire about becoming a Preservation Steward or to simply learn more, reach out via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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