TITLE: Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications (MOCAT)

ACCESS: http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/dpos/adpos400.html

Undoubtedly, the United States is the largest producer of information in the world today. We also have one of the most liberal policies concerning access to federally produced information. With this quantity of information readily available to the public, those searching for government information can easily be overcome by information overflow. To counter this problem the GPO created the online version of the Monthly Catalog which documents publications produced by the government. In June of 1994, the GPO implemented this site to provide WWW access to the myriad documents created by the government. Information at this site augments materials in the print version of the Monthly Catalog.

GPO reports that "the online catalog consists of bibliographic records published in the Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications (MOCAT) since January 1994. These records describe Government information products available through the Federal Depository Library Program. The MOCAT database is updated daily with preliminary cataloging records that will be edited and published in future issues of MOCAT. The GPO Access system provides online access to the Congressional Record, the Federal Register, the full text of all published versions of bills introduced in Congress, the Congressional Record Index, the History of Bills, the Lobby List, the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations, the U.S. Code, Public Laws of the 104th Congress, and, through the Federal Bulletin Board, more than 6,000 other files from 25 Federal agencies."

This site develops its value by allowing searchers to gather citations to federally produced information from an immense database of information providers. By searching the database, a user may quickly develop a comprehensive set of citations on almost any given topic. In some instances the document is available in electronic format directly from the site. Where the document is not available online, the searcher can determine its exact location through the use of a query screen. Input of state and/or area code information to this screen returns a listing of each depository library in the selected state that holds this title.

Boolean, proximity operators and truncation are all available in the search function. Available fielded searches may increase the chances of obtaining meaningful hits in an expedient manner. The search results present a summary record for each publication. This includes title, format (i.e. microfiche, CD-ROM), date of publication, issuing agency, SuDocs Class Number and Depository Item Number. If the publication is for sale by GPO, a GPO Stock Number will also be provided. A link is available to display the publication's cataloging record. Documents available online have a URL to access the appropriate site.

This is an important site for libraries that house government documents and equally important to those that do not. Patrons benefit from a quick response as to what documents are available and where they are located. This site is a win for the government, the patron and the librarian.

Timothy E. McMahon
Regional Coordinator
Metrowest Massachusetts
Regional Library System
December 16, 1997

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