It's not all on the net: Identifying, preserving and protecting rare and unique federal documents

Document Type


Publication Date



government documents, federal information


19 Government Information Quarterly 87 (2002).


The notion that all the government information that researchers will ever need is available, or shortly will be, in a user friendly, electronic form on the Internet, is a far cry from the reality facing most government information professionals. Paper and microfiche, the familiar, tangible products of the Government Printing Office, remain a substantial part of most federal document collections. Although GPO is on the path to a “more electronic” environment it is not likely to become a paperless agency anytime in the next several years, if at all. This paper will offer a brief introduction on means to identify rare and unique federal documents, will discuss some of the preservation options currently being utilized in document collections and will consider if the current interest in digitization offers government information professionals a viable means of responding to the growing preservation problem that rare or unique paper documents present.


Social and Behavioral Sciences