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Government Documents & Information: About the Department

Information from the federal, state, local and international governments

About the Department

McFarlin Library has been a 'partial depository' for federal government publications since Jan. 10, 1929. Generally, a member of Congress designates a library for entry into the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP).  We have not been able to find documentation at either TU or at the Government Printing Office (GPO) to say exactly who sponsored McFarlin but we will continue to research our history. McFarlin has also served, from 1979 to mid-2015, as a depository for publications produced by the State of Oklahoma and received via the Oklahoma Publications Clearinghouse unit of the Oklahoma Dept. of Libraries.

The Depository Collection and services are an integral part of the Library and University missions to promote scholarship, critical thinking and responsible citizenship.




 The primary users of the Depository collection are the students, faculty and staff of the University of Tulsa. McFarlin Library also makes U.S. government publications available for free use by the general public and serves the citizens of Oklahoma's 1st Congressional District. This area includes the majority of Tulsa County, Washington and Wagoner Counties as well as parts of Rogers and Creek Counties

 McFarlin  follows the access policies described in the Legal Requirements & Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Program, the Depository Users and Service Expectation  and the Free Public Access guidance notes developed by the U.S. Government Printing Office.  .

Following library policy, all visitors must sign in at the Circulation Desk on the Plaza Level of McFarlin.  Visitors may request the daily guest login information if they need to access our online resources. Patrons under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult unless prior arrangements have been made. 

Library materials, including Government Documents circulate to our primary users and to patrons who have purchased Access/Circulation cards.  All circulating materials may be borrowed via ILL.

 A patron from outside of the library's principal user group may be limited to using only depository information resources in paper, microform, electronic or online



The Collection and its development



The University of Tulsa is a private doctoral degree granting institution. The Government Documents collection has been built to support the curricular and research needs of the University's undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty as well as the larger Tulsa community. The Government Documents Coordinator oversees the annual selection review in consultation with other library subject specialists.  At present, the library selects approximately 10% of the  item numbers available. The selection list is undergoing vigorous review to reduce the selection rate and to convert to an authorized electronic edition where available. In addition to the Basic Collection and Essential Titles, collection development has focused on the following broad subject areas: anthropology, business and economics, health and psychology, history/international relations/politics, natural and physical sciences, especially petroleum engineering and geology,  Native American topics, and state/regional/local topics.

The University of Tulsa is fortunate to have a second depository at the Mabee Legal Information Center (MLIC) which contains legal and regulatory materials. We work closely with Tulsa City-County Library depository colleagues to insure all citizens have free access to government information. The 20 depositories in Oklahoma work together and through our two regionals to share government information content. The Regional website includes the Oklahoma State Plan for the FDLP and other links of interest to the state.

Not all of our Government Documents have a bibliographic record in our Library catalog. We use the Z39.50 protocol to catalog current receipts using the Catalog of Government Publications. Retrospective cataloging is a slow but ongoing project being done in-house.

The library has built the print documents collection to be historical  therefore it is not extensively weeded. Officially designated superseded titles may be retained for research purposes.  McFarlin and the  MLIC  have jointly purchased the Proquest Serial Set online database. At that time we transferred our print Serial Set volumes to our offsite storage location which is only 1.5 miles from the University. Other materials may be considered for offsite storage as we identify an online equivalent and as space there is available. We can easily retrieve documents from  there on either a same day or next business day basis.

The majority of the collection is in print but there is also a sizeable microfiche component which includes FBIS, NASA technical reports and thousands of Dept. of Energy technical reports.  The microfiche collection is located in cabinets just outside the documents stacks. We have 3 reader/printers to facilitate use of this format. There is no fee to make copies from the microfiche.

 The CD-ROM collection is also located in cabinets outside the documents stacks. We do not provide a publically available computer to use the CD-ROMS. We do circulate the material to patrons with checkout privileges.  Others may borrow the CD-ROMS via ILL.

Following the FDLP transition to an electronic/virtual  collection, the library is adding online contents for subject areas of primary interest. All users can download this content which can then be saved on a portable drive, emailed as an attachment,  or printed.