Government Information in Electronic Formats


Roberts-LaForge Library, as a selective depository of federal government publications, is obligated by law to provide public access to depository receipts, including electronic government information products. These products may be in a tangible format such as CD-ROMs or diskettes, or in an online format such as GPO Access.

Approved by the United States Public Printer, these guidelines follow the same principle of free access that governs the use of traditional depository materials spelled out in section 1911 of Title 44. The General Counsel to the Public Printer states that “any library selecting items in electronic formats must maintain a capability to allow for unimpeded use of those documents by its public patrons.”


  1. Roberts-LaForge Library provides free access to depository CD-ROMs, diskettes, and Internet resources for Delta State University and Delta area communities. University and library policies guide the use of these electronic resources.
  2. In order to provide access and efficient service, Roberts-LaForge Library makes every attempt to comply with the Federal Depository Library Program’s Recommended Specifications for Public Access Workstations in Federal Depository Libraries. For those needs that may exceed the public workstations’ capabilities, the Government Documents librarian will make every attempt to accommodate the patron.
  3. All depository electronic items are made available to patrons in the most efficient and timely manner. Most CD software is not regularly loaded on designated CD workstations. However, the software will be loaded upon patron request. Certain FDLP CDs circulate upon request. The circulation period for any government document, electronic or not, is seven (7) days. Please see a reference librarian for more information on circulating government documents.
  4. Internet access to government information is free and readily available on all public workstations. Printing and downloading (to diskettes or jump drives) are also available. For more information, please see the library’s Internet Use Policy for Federal Depository Library Materials.
  5. In accordance with section 4.6 of the FDL Handbook, the Government Documents Department maintains a web page for government information.
  6. Electronic government information is also available through the Roberts-LaForge Library’s online catalog. To access the catalog, visit
  7. Librarians will, when necessary, fax or email relevant government information to distant users.
  8. Roberts-LaForge Library provides reference assistance for electronic information through personal interaction, email, telephone, written guides/handouts, and online tools. Reference assistance is available at the point of need or through scheduling for in-depth research. Certain questions may be referred to another librarian or government contacts for more specialized needs.

For more information, please see the following documents:

Delta State University’s Computer Usage Policies

Depository Library Public Service Guidelines for Government Information in Electronic Formats

FDLP Internet Use Policy Guidelines

Recommended Specifications for Public Access Work Stations in Federal Depository Libraries

American Library Association. Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. January 1996.

Association of College and Research Libraries. Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries. July 2000.