Government Documents

Government Documents

Project Scope

The libraries of the Big Ten Academic Alliance universities are partnering with Google to digitize a comprehensive collection of U.S. Federal Documents.  It is believed this collection will include between 1 and 1.5 million volumes. Digital facsimiles of successfully scanned federal documents from Big Ten Academic Alliance institutions will be accessible through Google Book Search, with copies also being returned to the HathiTrust Digital Repository, where public domain material can be universally accessed.
This project is part of an over-arching Big Ten Academic Alliance Library Director–led initiative to assess the opportunities HathiTrust might provide for more cost-effective management of less frequently used print resources.  With four Big Ten Academic Alliance universities designated as comprehensive Regional Depositories for print documents (Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Nebraska), it is anticipated the Selective Depositories might be in a position to make coordinated decisions about print retention.  The U.S. Federal Documents collection is one of several categories of material where our libraries believe they can achieve efficiencies by better managing the relationship between digital and print resources, with assurances that an adequate number of print copies are available for future use.

Project Documentation

Documents Framework

Steering Committee Staging Plan

Implementation Team Charge


Recent Activity (as of March 2013)



Approximately 100,000 holdings were sent to Google for scanning. These duplicates cover the whole SuDoc range but are particularly heavy in the areas of Agriculture, Interior, Census, Labor, Transportation, and specific Congressional committees, from 1976 to the present. Minnesota intends to continue scanning government documents and other items in the next couple of years, working in conjunction with Google.

    Penn State


Penn State has sent 29,281 docs for sheet-fed scanning, including 25,870 items of Congressional committee hearings published between 1960 and 2009 and 3,411 from the Official Gazette of US Patent Office. They have also undertaken a large project to organize Department of Commerce documents, some of which will be sent to Google soon.


Approximately 92,000 documents have been scanned.  The material was drawn from the following agencies: NASA, Department of Defense, General Accounting Office (GAO), Labor Department, and Commerce.


Indiana has sent approximately 41,000 documents to be scanned, including approximately 35,000 items from the Google pick lists and around 6,000 Congressional Record volumes.


About 95,400 documents have been scanned to date, including 13,470 for the government documents initiative, plus 81,963 documents scanned before the initiative to scan government documents specifically was instituted. Michigan expects to send about 3,000 more documents in Spring 2013.

     Michigan State

Michigan State has begun sending items to Google, and will be looking at their government documents possibilities in 2013. 


Purdue has supplied more than 70,000 items to Google, including 16,815 individual documents from within the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1890-1899.