Government publications come from all branches, divisions and levels of government. They embrace the entire universe of information, as there are very few subjects outside the scope of government activities. They provide reasonably priced current information on a variety of subjects: history, geography, law and order, legislation and parliament, demography, weather, flood, famine, industry, business, banking, finance, health, nutrition, food, agriculture, women, minorities, sports and games, science and technology, communication and 'transport, standards and specifications: in fact, on all imaginable subjects. This immense body of informa tion, at a modest cost, makes government publications a worthwhile information resource for collection development.
Government documents also come in a variety of forms. They can be in different sizes, channels or media. There are books, technical reports, periodicals, pamphlets, microforms, posters, films, slides, photographs, maps, just to name a few possible varieties.
Besides publications of national government, international governmental agencies such as the United Nations and its family of organisations do bring out a very large body of valuable literature. Some libraries have a depository privilege of getting them but man', other libraries may have to procure them.
Some of the more important sources of selection tools are given below, particularly Indian, British and American.
U.S Superintendent of Documents. Monthly Catalogue of U.S Government Publications, 1895.
Selected U.S Government Publications, 1928 - Biweekly: Price List of Government Publications, 1898 - Irregular.
For the official documents of the United Nationals Organisation and its agencies, the following selection tools may be of use: United Nations Documents Index, 1950 - Monthly. New York, UN and Specialised Agencies Library.
Current United Nations Publications.
United Nations Books in Print. Issued annually in English, French and Spanish, and updated with supplements.
Although there are lists and catalogues disseminating bibliographical data on government publications, as a class of publications it is not well organised. The flow of information about government publications in libraries is rather unsteady and irregular. Therefore, special efforts are required to know about them and select them.