About Government Documents
The Depository Program
The J. R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library is a "selective" depository for United States government publications. Michigan Tech was also a State of Michigan depository through 2007. The term "selective" means that only those government publications that support the various departmental missions of the University and reflect the interests of the residents of the area are selected. A government publication (or document) is an official publication (book, serial, or non-book) produced by or printed at the expense of an official government entity.
Because the US federal government is the world's largest publisher and also the world's largest sponsor of research, much primary research material unavailable elsewhere can be found in depository libraries.
As a selective Federal Depository, the library receives about 50% of the documents made available by the United States Printing Office. The collection currently consists of approximately 470,000 print and 490,000 microfiche items. The Michigan Depository consists of approximately 12,000 print items.
History of the Collection
The core of this documents collection began with the personal depository collection of Senator J.A. Hubbell (one of only two such personal depositories in the history of the Federal Depository Program). This depository was established in 1876, roughly nine years before the founding of the Michigan Mining School, which is the predecessor of today's Michigan Technological University. This makes it one of the oldest depositories in the state. Thus the J. R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library Government Documents collection is both a historical and a current research resource. It is particularly strong in early mining and mining engineering documents.
If you cannot locate the source you need through the Online Catalog, inquire at the Reference for assistance. Resources that are not part of the J. R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library's collections can be requested by completing an interlibrary loan request form.