Amending Your Library's Selection Profile

FDLP libraries choose materials for their libraries through selection profiles, that are the list of item numbers for specific desired content. As content and format needs of the community change, so too should the selections of government publications.

NOTE: The addition of item numbers associated with tangible or physical publication selections must be submitted by a deadline in late September each year. An announcement specifying the specific date will be made each September. To ensure distribution of tangible materials, submit additions to your library's selection profile before that date. Online only (EL) selection additions are added immediately to your selection profile.

A selection profile is the list of item numbers representing the Federal material selected through the FDLP. GPO does not distribute publications by subject; instead GPO makes publications available for selection based on provenance. The Item Number System is how GPO groups materials together that are produced by individual government agencies or sub-agencies.

Making Changes to Your Library's Selection Profile

Changes to selection profiles are made by logging into the Depository Selection Information Management System (DSIMS). Use your depository library number and internal password to login. More information about the internal password is located in Passwords and Accounts Used by Depository Libraries.

If an item number is dropped by mistake, contact GPO as soon as possible through askGPO. Otherwise, GPO may cease sending the publications until October 1, and may not be able to honor claims.

Adding Item Numbers

Selectors can add item numbers to selection profiles throughout the year. When a change is made, the selection profile will immediately reflect the addition of item numbers corresponding to online formats (EL). Item numbers corresponding to tangible formats (e.g., paper (P), tangible electronic (E), microfiche (MF), multiple format (P/EL, MF/EL, E/EL)) will be added to your Selection Cart in DSIMS. The addition(s) and distribution of tangibles will take effect and begin as of October 1.

Dropping Item Numbers

Item numbers can be dropped any time during the year, with changes taking effect immediately. Microfiche requests take longer to process because microfiche is produced and shipped by the contractor. After submitting a request to drop microfiche, it can take up to a week for the drop to take effect.  Contact Library Services and Content Management (LSCM) via askGPO if you continue to receive microfiche.

When an item number is dropped, all material previously received under the item number must still be retained for the statutory five-year retention period, unless superseded or officially substituted. When five years have passed, libraries can offer titles on a disposal list to their regional library.

After dropping an item number, a library may not submit a claim for a publication with that item number.

Reviewing Your Library's Selection Profile

GPO recommends that libraries review their selections regularly, keeping the U.S. Government information needs of their community in mind. To view your library’s current selection profile, consult the Item Lister. For more information about item numbers, see the article on List of Classes.

How a library goes about reviewing and selecting item numbers is a local decision. Some libraries divide up the List of Classes among their subject experts; others have the depository coordinator responsible for selecting all Federal material on behalf of the library. Selectors may use WEBTech Notes to locate newly created item numbers that could be added to the library’s selection profile. Documents Data Miner 3 is a non-GPO resource that combines selection information and the List of Classes and may assist in the item selection process as well. To avoid confusion, it is recommends that one person manage the profile in DSIMS; typically this is the depository coordinator.

Online (EL) Item Numbers Selection

While online materials are not distributed, and there is no requirement for libraries to select them, there are several reasons to select online (EL) item numbers.

Please note: While most (EL) online item numbers are for online only, there is a small group of item numbers that include both online and tangible formats. If you select one of these multiple format item numbers, the library will receive multiple formats (ex: P/EL, MF/EL).
  • To ensure that a library does not miss out on online records or receipt of tangible publications relevant to the library’s collection, GPO may create new item numbers and ‘map’ them to already existing item numbers. Additionally, GPO may add the new numbers to your item selection profile. That is because GPO assumes that libraries want to receive new publications similar to those already selected. Libraries that do not want to select these newly added item numbers should drop them immediately. New item numbers appear in WEBTech Notes.
  • Including online item numbers in your selection profile may aid bibliographic record vendors in including records for those online items in the library’s record load.
  • There are various tools that have been developed to help you understand your depository item selection profile in its regional and national context. GPO manages the Union List of Item Selections (UNION-L) to facilitate community-created tools such as Documents Data Miner 3. Data about item selections at the local, regional, and national level assist depository staff in efficiently developing their collections, while also determining the collection strengths of other depositories.
  • Libraries may compare their selection profile with new online publications and their associated catalog records using the New Electronic Titles List (NET) in the CGP.

You may also choose to manage identification of and provide access to online FDLP content online FDLP content with workflows that do not use online (EL) item numbers.

Reminder: You may selectively identify or highlight the most relevant online publications or resources for your library’s users and provide access to all online content in the FDLP by:

  • Cataloging online publications or resources
  • Linking to online publications or resources from the library’s website or finding aids
  • Describing how to access online content from your library’s website, finding aids or, if applicable, consortial catalog
  • Providing reference assistance for online FDLP content
  • Promoting online FDLP content
  • Purchasing and making commercial equivalents (tangible or electronic) available

If you opt to discontinue review of online (EL) item numbers on your item selection profile, you are encouraged to document this decision in your files with item selection history. You should also notify your regional depository librarian as it may be helpful to share this information within your state or region.

FDLP Basic Collection

The FDLP Basic Collection includes resources that every library in the FDLP is required to have accessible for the public’s immediate use. The titles are vital sources of information supporting the public's right to know about the workings and essential activities of their Federal Government.

Although there is a requirement that depositories provide access to each title, there is no requirement to select any titles on the Basic Collection by item number.  Instead, as with other online resources, see alternate ways to provide access.

Agency Subscription Databases

Federal depository libraries have free access to select Federal databases that are otherwise subscription based. To gain access to these resources, complete the request form.  The library should add the item numbers for the databases to the item selection profile. See Agency Subscription Databases for more information and links to the forms.

Restrictions on Format Selections

Selective depository libraries may only select one tangible format of a publication. Of course, selectives can always select the online equivalents (if available). For example, librarians at a selective library may choose a print version of a publication and also provide access to an online version.  Alternatively, they may select a microfiche version and also provide access to the online version. They may not, however, select both the print and microfiche format. On the other hand, regional depository libraries may select multiple tangible formats, and are exempt from this requirement.

Restrictions on Item Numbers by Library Type

Only specific library types can select certain item numbers. The List of Classes title field contains a note that describes any selection limitations. Some examples follow:

Only regional depository libraries may select the following:

  • Item number 0993-A-01, Congressional Record (bound) 1985 and forward, SuDocs Class X 1.1:
  • Item number 1008-F, Serial Set (bound) 105th Congress and forward, SuDocs Class Y 1.1/2:

Only regional depository libraries and law libraries may select the following:

  • Item number 0740-A-02, Supreme Court Decisions (decisions in individual cases) (slip opinions), SuDocs Class JU 6.8/B:

Refer to item numbers in the List of Classes to determine any restrictions on selection.

Maintaining a History of the Library's Selection Profile for Collection Development and Management

Understanding past selection and retention decisions may help library staff understand what is in the depository collection and guide future selection decisions. Therefore, libraries should retain historical files of their selection profiles. Historical information may come in useful for retrospective cataloging projects as well as disposal projects. There are various ways to record your selections. If the library has retained historic GPO-issued item number cards, once issued to identify library selections, consider retaining them. Also, a library you may choose to archive Item Lister files or maintain a local selection profile database.

Ideally, library staff will document item selection over time in a collection development policy.

Tools Used when Working with Selection Profiles

  • Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP) allows searching by item number in the advanced search to identify the distribution frequency of a given item number.
  • Depository Selection Information Management System (DSIMS) allows Federal depository libraries to view and manage their selection profiles. At any time, libraries may drop tangible publications, add online (EL) publications, and can also queue additions for tangible items into a cart. At the start of each new fiscal year (October 1), GPO processes the cart.
  • Item Lister lists selected and/or non-selected item numbers for one library at a time.
  • Modified List of Classes lists all item numbers available for selection; includes SuDocs stem, Sort by SuDoc, Agency, Sub-Agency, Title, Item Number, and format.
  • List of Classes Data Files: Files containing lists all item numbers available for selection. Associated files provide historical information such as inactive item numbers, inactive SuDocs class stems, and so on.
  • Union List of Item Selections (UNION-L) lists current selections of all depository libraries (available in one large file).
  • WEBTech Notes documents SuDocs class changes, format changes, new item numbers, discontinuance of titles, and so on.
  • Documents Data Miner 3 (DDM3) is a non-GPO resource that identifies selections and non-selections; search by item number in Shipping Lists or the Shelflist sections to identify the distribution frequency of a given item number. Some bulk exporting is available.
  • Guide to U.S. Government Publications (formerly commonly known as “Andriot”, the last name of the former editor) is a non-GPO annual publication currently published by Gale. This annotated publication outlines current and former Superintendent of Documents classification assignments and their associated item numbers.
Get a quick overview of the List of Classes, Item Lister, and Depository Selection Information Management System (DSIMS).  These are the main resources used to manage your selection profile. See: Tools to Manage Your Selection Profile – Quick Start

News & Events

December 02, 2021
Are you a new depository coordinator or a coordinator who is short on time? GPO’s Library Services & Content Management offers an... Read More ...
November 29, 2021
Is your library decorating for the holidays? Have you incorporated Government documents and resources into a creative display, either onsite... Read More ...
November 29, 2021
The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP) and MetaLib will undergo routine maintenance from Wednesday, December 01, 2021 at... Read More ...
November 22, 2021
This message has been cross-posted. Please excuse any duplication. Check out these free, upcoming educational webinars from the U.S.... Read More ...
View All

covid19 toolkit

Use the COVID-19 Toolkit to access information for your staff on FDLP operations, reliable resources for FDLP patrons, and downloadable images


Maggie Farrell served on the Depository Library Council 1994-1995 and 1998-2001, serving as Chair 2000-2001. Currently, Maggie is the Dean of Libraries at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and previously served as the Dean of Libraries at the University of Wyoming and Clemson University. Although her focus is on leadership and management, Maggie formed her understanding of information systems and library operations as a Government information librarian that guides her to this day in the values of open information and equitable access.

shared reg

Louisiana State University Libraries, Louisiana Tech University Library, and the University of Mississippi Libraries now share regional depository responsibilities across Louisiana and Mississippi. Learn more.


The LibGuide team would like to thank the FDLP community for your continued support in 2021. Usage increased by 34%, and we added 29 new guides in 2021. We also added these new subjects: Asian American-Pacific Islanders, Business and Economics, Federal Agency Guides, and Social Sciences. In 2022, the LibGuides team would like to add new guides on these topics: Government information in Spanish, Government Information training for students and para professionals, American Indian or tribal resources, Federal Agencies, and Social Sciences. Submit your LibGuides.


On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered a short speech at the close of ceremonies dedicating the battlefield cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Honoring a request to offer a few remarks, Lincoln memorialized the Union dead and highlighted the redemptive power of their sacrifice. Placing the common soldier at the center of the struggle for equality, Lincoln reminded his listeners of the higher purpose for which blood was shed. In spite of Lincoln’s disclaimer that “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here,” his brief speech continues to resonate in the American memory.

Serials Processing Working Group

Interested in free catalog record sets for your library? Learn about GPO’s Cataloging Record Distribution Program. Vacancies are available!

Get Connected to GPO

  • facebook
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • booktalks
  • pinterest
  • instagram
  • linkedin30px2