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ASERL Centers for Excellence at Duke University: Getting Started

Information related to collections developed as part of Duke's participation in the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries' (ASERL) Collaborative Federal Depository Program (CFDP)

About ASERL Centers of Excellence

This ASERL program envisions the creation of comprehensive collections of U.S.government information from each Federal government agency. Built upon the foundation of existing holdings at existing Regionals, these collections will become more complete with assistance from Selectives in the ten ASERL states. The program envisions at least two centers of excellence for each agency to ensure an appropriate level of redundancy within the Southeast for both quick delivery and preservation. Centers of excellence would:

  • actively replace damaged or lost pieces,
  • seek to fill holes in their collections, as necessary, via Needs and Offers lists,
  • provide active preservation for the collection,
  • catalog the pieces that they own on OCLC and identify them as the archival copy,
  • participate in GPO’s program to set holdings on OCLC for Regionals free of charge, if eligible,
  • participate in the ASERL union catalog (Kudzu) and ILL/Document Delivery agreements.

ASERL believes creating these “centers of excellence” will result in more reliable and predictable access to Federal publications for all libraries and citizens in the Southeastern states by specifying which Regional Depository libraries have the most complete holdings for each agency.


Duke University Libraries are home to Centers of Excellence six government agencies: the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the International Trade Administration, the International Trade Commission, the Military History Center, the Naval History Center, and the Women's Bureau. 


*information related to the ASERL COE program comes from "Overview of ASERL’s Collaborative Federal Depository Program (CFDP)," available here.

History and Holdings of the Duke Libraries in the FDLP

Duke University’s commitment to federal documents began in 1890, when Trinity College became a depository for federal documents. Duke is now a selective depository, and the present legal requirements stipulate that a selective shall make federal government publications available for free use by the general public and develop depository collections to meet the needs and format preferences of their primary library users and the general public.  The federal documents collection at Duke Libraries currently includes a range of physical formats, including fiche, maps, pamphlets, monographs, serial sets, CDs, DVDs, and floppy disks. On-campus, most of these materials are located on the second floor of Perkins (approx. 2,200 shelves).  The map collection is located in the basement of Bostock.  A small Federal Documents Reference Collection is located on the first floor of Perkins.  A sizable percentage of the print collection has already been moved to the Library Service Center (LSC).  The Goodson Law Library also serves as a selective depository.

While DUL once received thousands of federal documents in print, we currently receive approximately 200 print documents annually, with discovery records provided to Duke through MARCIVE.  The discovery of electronic federal documents is predominantly provided by MARCIVE records made available through our subscription to TRLN’s Documents without Shelves program.

UNC-Chapel Hill serves as our regional depository and is required to permanently retain all federal government publications in either printed or micro-facsimile form, except superseded publications which may be discarded as authorized by the Superintendent of Documents.  Duke Libraries’ proximity to UNC-CH affords Duke users access to a comprehensive federal documents collection and allows DUL to be selective in its holdings with a focus on materials in higher demand and formats whose local access is preferred, such as for maps.


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Your Librarian

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Carson Holloway
Librarian for Military History, History of Science and Technology, Britain, Ireland and Commonwealth

Perkins and Lilly Libraries