Government Documents Collection Description
The Ross-Blakley Law Library of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University became an officially designated U.S. Government Depository Library on August 31, 1977. John J. Rhodes, then the Representative for the First Congressional District in Arizona, made the designation, which Carl LaBarre, Superintendent of Documents, memorialized in a letter to the Law Library Director, Richard Dahl.
Since its first days, the depository collection was organized and housed as a separate collection, with only a few of the serial titles being integrated into other areas of the library. Art Betancourt, Library Assistant, Sharon Firestone, Librarian, and Richard Nash, Associate Director, organized the initial selections and prepared for the arrival of the materials. Donna Larson-Bennett came to the Law Library from ASU's Hayden Library in 1984, and was the Depository Librarian responsible for the collection until June 2000. The government documents program has been managed by Elvie Calhoun since 1989, and is administered by Victoria Trotta, Associate Dean for Information Technology and the Ross-Blakley Law Library.
Housed originally in a side room in the basement of the Law Library, the fledgling collection of federal publications grew to fill the Basement East room in the Law College building. The John J. Ross - William C. Blakley Law Library, which opened in 1993, enhanced access and highlighted the importance of government documents to legal research by housing it in the library's compact shelving. The collection is now located in the comfortable, light space of the main floor on the south side of the building.
The collection focuses strongly on information of particular interest to legal researchers, and tracks the general collection development policy of the Law Library. Publications of the United States Congress, the Office of the President, and major regulatory agencies are selected. In addition, certain departments are emphasized, e.g. The Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior. Despite the relatively recent depository designation, the library has an excellent collection of publications printed before 1977. Gifts from other libraries have completed the large sets of administrative and court decisions; and gifts from Hayden Library of congressional hearings, prints and reports also enhanced the legislative holdings. In addition, the Law Library subscribed to the full Congressional Information Service, CIS Index Microfiche Collection from 1986 to 2003. Legislative material is now available online via the Internet.
The Government Printing Office has created a digital library, FDsys, to preserve access to the public. Many titles that were once available in physical form are now only available electronically. In keeping with selection guidelines for law libraries, the Ross-Blakley Law Library no longer selects items that are linked to the electronic source through records maintained by Hayden Library in the Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC). The current selection rate of the Ross-Blakley Law Library is 12% of the total items offered through the Federal Depository Library Program. The library primarily collects only those items that are distributed in tangible format.
Today, all currently received government documents can be found through the OPAC. A retrospective conversion project to enter older materials into the OPAC is in progress. Although most of the Ross-Blakley Law Library's collection is non-circulating, the public is welcome to use the government documents collection in the library. Documents and other titles that do circulate may be checked out by library patrons at the front desk in the lobby. Publications that are available via the Internet can be accessed by Links provided in the OPAC. There is a computer work station designated for use in viewing CD-ROMs, and OPAC and Internet access is available on any of the Public Access Computer Stations throughout the library. Microfiche readers and a Micro-fiche/film reader-printer are also available. Help with accessing and using the Law Library's collection, including government documents, is available from reference librarians throughout the year.