Preservation at GPO

This page provides information about the preservation of Government information, within scope of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). Here you’ll find useful information pertaining to policies, guidance, and services that supports the work of Federal depository libraries. Check here often for updates and additions about FDLP Preservation.

Questions and comments can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About Preservation

Preservation is strategic initiatives, programs, and processes designed to maintain useful access to information assets, serving the information needs of both present and future generations.

The mission of the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) is Keeping America Informed. To accomplish this, it is necessary to preserve the official publications and information products of the U.S. Government in all formats. These publications document the fundamental rights of the public, the actions of Federal officials in all three branches of our Government, and the characteristics of our national experience.

As the largest publisher in the world for over 150 years, the U.S. Government has produced a rich legacy of information that serves to document the activities of our democracy and support the business and personal endeavors of the public. The historic collection of tangible U.S. Government publications and the digital Federal information of today are a priceless information asset for the public. Yet, this information asset is vulnerable to decay, technical obsolescence, malicious cyber-attacks, and neglect. Safeguarding access to Government information for everyone, now and for the future, is best achieved through programmatic preservation.

GPO and Federal depository libraries have a long-standing tradition of supporting permanent public access to all forms of Government information. Working with its partners, GPO is committed to ensuring that future generations have free and permanent public access to Government publications and information dissemination products that are within the scope of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), the Cataloging & Indexing Program (C&I), and GPO’s System of Online Access (FDsys/govinfo).

Preservation Plans and Public Policy Statements

Preservation plans provide the scope and operational framework for all strategic initiatives that support preservation and access. They are regularly-updated to reflect the latest applicable standards and best practices.

Superintendent of Documents (SOD) policies support GPO’s mission and the mission, vision, and priorities of the GPO’s public information programs. Policies provide guidance for and assist with decision-making, which is primarily operational in nature. That is, guidance that affects the operations of GPO’s Library Services and Content Management (LSCM) unit. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are developed to implement policies.

Guidance and Best Practices

Best practices are the consensus of a group of experts, provided as guidance for a community of collaborative partners. The preservation program provides guidance documentation to enable our partners to work efficiently and effectively together and with us.

What to do if a disaster strikes…

A disaster can damage or destroy library collections, reducing or eliminating access to the information users need. Simple steps taken when responding to a disaster can significantly improve the recovery of library materials and reduce the amount of time that access is interrupted. To provide our libraries with guidance on what to do if a disaster strikes, we offer the following information.

Consultation and Collaboration

GPO’s preservation program maintains core competencies and expert knowledge in the following areas and freely shares this knowledge with FDLP libraries as well as GPO Preservation Partners:

  • Collection condition assessment
  • Collections care and conservation treatment of collection items
  • Disaster prevention and recovery planning
  • Digital imaging project planning
  • Digital repository assessment
  • Digital repository certification under ISO16363:2012

Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more about our services or if you would like assistance with any of these preservation activities.

GPO Partnerships & FIPNet

Preserving Government information for the future is too large of a task for GPO to undertake alone. Federal agency libraries and libraries in the FDLP have made significant contributions to preserving and increasing access to their collections. Collaborative partnerships with these libraries leverage the preservation activities these libraries have already undertaken and gives their work a national context. Communication within the network of collaborating libraries supports these preservation efforts.

Preservation Services Pilot Initiatives

LSCM is developing preservation services to support depository libraries.

The pilots will be for various services with outcomes that include established workflows, time tables, and estimated costs. The initial pilots will be for:

  • Developing collection plans
  • Cataloging
  • Assessing collection condition
  • Conducting inventories
  • Conducting bibliographic record comparisons and sharing
  • Developing disaster preparedness, response, and recovery plans
  • Depositing digital content in Federal depository libraries

Currently we are in the pilot development phase and working with local libraries. The pilots are described in Developing a Multi-State Comprehensive Collection | FDLP Preservation Services Pilot Strategies.

Once the outcomes of the pilots are analyzed and appropriate funding is obtained, these services will be offered to Federal depository libraries. LSCM will keep the depository community informed as these pilots progress and preservation services become available. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions.

Training and Presentations

To share preservation knowledge with the library community and support our preservation partners, the preservation program offers webinars and other training opportunities through the FDLP Academy.

Webinars are recorded and can be accessed after the presentation is over. If you have ideas about a future webinar topic contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Digital Imaging 101: Converting Tangible Publications to Digital Assets
    Want to digitize publications from your collection and don’t know where to begin? Want to contribute what you scan to the content on FDsys/govinfo? This webinar looks at developing and managing digital imaging work and how to understand and follow the Guidance for Contributing Digital Content to FDsys/govinfo. (Presented Monday, March 20, 2017)
  • Planning for and Managing Storage for Digital Collections
    Are you creating digitized or harvested digital content collections? How do you evaluate the digital storage you have? This webinar looks at various digital preservation infrastructure requirements, assesses risks for digital storage media, and discusses cost-effective ways to plan and develop secure storage for digital assets. (Presented Wednesday, April 12, 2017)
  • Everything You Need to Know About Microfiche
    Managing a microfiche collection can be challenging, especially as this format becomes obsolete and collections of fiche begin to show signs of physical degradation. This webinar discusses how microfiche is made, examines risks and risk mitigation for microfiche collections, and options for reformatting microfiche to digital. (Presented Tuesday, May 9, 2017)
  • Nothing Ever Happens Until it Does: Disaster Prevention, Response, and Recovery
    While natural disasters can damage or destroy library collections, the collection space and the building that contains it may be a greater threat. This webinar discusses how to assess risks to collections within the building environment, how to develop a basic plan to monitor those risks, and how to respond to and recover from small-scale disasters. (Presented Thursday, June 1, 2017)
  • Knowledge is Power: Assessing Collections for Preservation Planning
    A knowledge of collection content, condition, risk assessment, and use are essential elements to preservation planning. This webinar will look at how to conduct a condition assessment for library collections, how to evaluate the results, and document the need for change. (March 28, 2018)
  • Collection Stewardship: Protecting the Access Rights of Present and Future Users 
    Basic preventative preservation practices keep collections accessible to our readers. This webinar will cover collection housekeeping and maintenance practices, discuss rehousing and repair for collection items, as well as options for becoming a formal GPO Preservation Stewardship partner. (April 30, 2018)
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