Copy Cataloging, OCLC and United States Government Documents
United States government documents have long been underutilized. Plagued by insufficient bibliographic control throughout most of the twentieth century, U.S. government documents did not begin to receive adequate bibliographic records until 1976 when the Government Printing Office started to use OCLC’s standard bibliographic rules. When libraries moved their card catalogs to online public access catalogs (OPAC), most pre-1976 government documents records were not entered into these new digital catalogs. As a result, many historically significant government documents remain hidden from the public because of their lack of presence in the OPAC. However, through a piecemeal effort, many bibliographic records for historic government documents have been entered into OCLC’s WorldCat by a number of libraries. Copy cataloging services offered through OCLC’s CatExpress and Connexion provide a means for librarians to add, with relative ease, bibliographic records of many pre-1976 government documents to local OPACs, thus rescuing them from obscurity.
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