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December 2009 Lost Docs Report and Appeal

In September 2009 we at Free Government Information (FGI) started the “lost docs blog” at lostdocs.freegovinfo.info to collect your receipts from GPO about the fugitive documents you reported through GPO’s lost docs form at www.fdlp.gov/lostdocs or through GPO’s Help system at gpo.custhelp.com.

Here is the December 2009 Lost Docs Report and Appeal:


Thanks to the continued generosity of documents librarians, we posted 93 reports of fugitive documents submitted to GPO. More than two thirds of these items were reported during November/December 2009.

Of these 93 reported items, nine items have been cataloged by GPO. You can view this list by visiting lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/category/found/ and looking at the postings with December 2009 dates. We are appreciative of these new records.

In our view, seven of the items reported to GPO and posted to the blog in December were either out of scope for the Catalog of Government Publications (CGP) or were already in the catalog. You can view these items by visiting lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/category/false/ and looking for items with December 2009 dates.

This month we added a new subcategory of fugitive document to the blog, that of “needs URL addded.” These are reported documents where a record of the tangible version is in the CGP, but the record makes no reference to online availability. Since we feel that documenting online availability is important, we left them listed as fugitive documents because the electronic version are unknown to GPO. This month there were 20 items where the CGP knew about the tangible version but not the internet version. You can view these items by visiting http://lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/category/catalog-eversion and looking for items with December 2009 dates. If your library has any of this documents, please consider adding an 856 field to the record(s) so your patrons will be able to link to the electronic version(s) through your catalog.


If you like the concept of a public listing of fugitive documents reported to GPO, there are a number of easy ways to help us:

  1. If you report a fugitive document to GPO, send your e-mailed receipt to lostdocs@freegovinfo.info. We welcome any item reported to GPO in the past month.
  2. Visit the blog at lostdocs.freegovinfo.info and comment on the listed items. Comments can include — Did your library receive the item? Did you find it in the CGP? Do you think the item is out of scope for the CGP? Did you report the item as well and so on.
  3. Post the blog link to your website or share it on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media.
  4. Subscribe to the blog feed at lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/feed/
    or better yet incorporate the feed into your website or blog.

UPDATE 1/5/2010

John Stevenson, my friend and distinguished government information librarian, reminded me that current GPO cataloging policy is to create multiple records for a given work based on format. This means that instead of adding a URL to an 856 field in an existing record, GPO would create a new record based on the electronic format of the document. I wonder how efficient that is, but that’s another post for another time.

So we have renamed our new category “eVersion Needs Cataloging.” You can get a feed for just these items by subscribing to http://lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/category/catalog-eversion/feed/.

Keep comments and your lostdocs receipts coming!

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