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March 2010 Lost Docs Report and Appeal


In February 2010, we posted 25 “lost docs” e-mail receipts sent by GPO to the librarians who reported these missing documents. These civic minded librarians in turn e-mailed us their receipts. How many reports did GPO receive? Only they know, but the more people who send their fugitive docs e-mail receipts to, the more accurate our count will be.

This month’s count is particularly underreported. Owing to my attendance and blogging at the 2010 Public Library Association Conference and participating in an excellent distance delivered Museum Registration class, I was unable to post many lost documents receipts I got. They will be posted in April. My apologies to the librarians who sent me reports but failed to see them posted.

Of the 25 reported items that were posted to the blog in March, three items have been cataloged by GPO since the initial report. You can view this list by visiting and looking at the postings with March 2010 dates. We are appreciative of these new records.

In our view, three of the items reported to GPO and posted to the blog in January 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 and looking for items with March 2010 dates.

In two of these “false positive” cases, it looks like GPO had received the tangible item near the published date of the item and cataloged an electronic equivalent, but did not distribute the tangible item to the Federal Depository Library Program. This may or may not be in accordance with GPO SOD 301 which states that budget permitting, tangible documents will be offered when both tangible and online formats are available.

With the available information in these two CGP records, it is unclear whether GPO made a conscious, budget related decision to not offer these publication or just forgot to send them out. We encourage GPO to begin putting notes explaining why a given item was not distributed to the FDLP into the item’s bibliographic record.

If you are interested in viewing this category of publication, visit and look for items with March 2010 dates.

We strongly encourage people with instances of CGP cataloged but non-distributed federal documents to use GPO Help and not GPO’s Lost Docs form.


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 We welcome any item reported to GPO in the past month. It is best if you can send us the receipt the same day you get it from GPO. Some e-mail programs will support auto-forwarding. If so, please consider autoforwarding items where the subject contains “lostdocs submission.”
  2. Visit the blog at 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
    or better yet incorporate the feed into your website or blog.

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