GPO’s Cataloging Data in the Cataloging Record Distribution Program

Cataloging Record Distribution Program records are those created through GPO’s Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and Cataloging and Indexing Program (C&I).

About GPO Cataloging

GPO cataloging data consists of MARC records for U.S. Government publications published by all three branches of the Federal Government, including:

  • Books (print and online versions)
  • Serials
  • Maps
  • Websites
  • E-books
  • Microfiche
  • Audiovisual materials

These materials are cataloged by GPO staff. The catalog records are viewable in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP). On average, GPO catalogs approximately 2,200 titles per month.

GPO is a member of PCC, CONSER, BIBCO, NACO and SACO and catalogs according to national and international bibliographic standards. The majority of records are encoded as full-level. Other encoding levels are used in various situations.

GPO currently uses the separate record approach to cataloging, which means that there will be an individual cataloging record created for each format of a publication, with a 776 MARC field link to all other formats.

RDA is the current standard used by GPO. There are some exceptions, including Historic Shelflist records.

The majority of records include a corresponding OCLC record number. Records from specific GPO projects, such as the Iowa Poster Project, may not have OCLC numbers.

PURLs in records contain stable URLs. Links direct to electronic content on GPO’s govinfo, GPO servers, agency websites, or official FDLP partner sites or servers.

The majority of records are for English-language materials, but GPO catalogs publications in the language used by the publishing agency.

GPO catalog records do not contain item numbers in these situations:

  • Digital reproductions of previously distributed publications
    • Distributed prior to 1940 and no item assigned at that time
    • Note included in records:
      • Distributed to Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) libraries prior to 1940. No FDLP item number available.
  • Digital reproductions of unreported publications
    • Publications predate item number system
    • Note included in records:
      • Publication pre-dates Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) item numbers. No FDLP item number has been assigned.
  • Inactive or defunct issuing agencies
    • No new item number is created
    • Note included in records:
      • Agency is no longer active. No FDLP item number has been assigned.

For much more information about GPO cataloging, see GPO’s Cataloging Guidelines.

Changed or Updated Bibliographic Records

GPO strives to maintain the accuracy and currency of the CGP. Database maintenance involves changes and updates to records for multiple reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Revisions to item numbers and SuDocs classification numbers
  • Updating or addition of PURLs
  • Changed authorized access points
  • Cessation of serial titles
  • Serial title changes
  • Addition of linking entry fields for:
    • Other formats (print, online, microfiche)
    • Different editions (language versions)
    • Preceding, succeeding, and related serials

Libraries in the CRDP have the option to acquire changed records, which MARCIVE, Inc. staff identify through comparison of monthly GPO cataloging records with records that had been previously cataloged. As with newly cataloged records, libraries selecting this option receive records that match their current item number selection profile.

The changed or updated records can overlay on an existing catalog record, if one exists. This process is facilitated by a match on an OCLC number. When the changed record is loaded, it will match to any existing record by the OCLC number and overlay it with the new or updated information. If a library doesn’t have the earlier record in the system to overlay, the newer, updated record may be added to the catalog.

Libraries adding changed records to their catalogs will want to identify any measures or parameters in place on their catalog systems for the protection of various MARC fields. For example, a workflow may prohibit the overlay or a record when a call number changes, to ensure that the call number on the depository publication itself matches the call number in the catalog.

Other Sources of GPO Cataloging

Please note that GPO catalog records are available through other sources. Like CRDP records, some of these are also free of charge to Federal depository libraries.