Earlier this week, the US Government Printing Office announced the expansion of its ebook program to increase public access to government publications. Though the initial release was limited to 100 titles, the plan is to make new titles available each month free of charge.
The public, and that includes students and teachers, will now have full-text (when available) access to the GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP).
The catalog is searchable by keywords, author keywords, title keywords, subject keywords and SuDoc Class numbers (ah, the library school memories!). The announcement suggested that among the most popular areas for searchers are titles relating to the military, national security, agriculture, science, and health.
Warning: the Catalog search is not really for the faint of heart. To find specific free ebooks, users should check out the catalog’s advanced search interface and select Government Ebooks from the Catalogs drop-down menu.
Because I wasn’t actually searching for anything urgent or specific, I was far more impressed with my results browsing New Titles and scanning the Electronic Titles and the New Government eBook Titles where I discovered such titles as the Department of Justice’s study, Changing Course: Preventing Gang Membership and the Army War College’s examination of the Effectiveness of Drone Strikes in Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorism Campaigns.
The government eBooks are available in PDF, Mobi and epub versions. MARC records are available. Once in a record of interest, it is very easy to explore subject headings to find more content.
This is not the kind of beautiful interface that will attract average searchers in the K12 crowd.
However, as it grows, it is likely to be very tool you need to support the interests of your high school social studies, science and technology teachers and those kids you know who are willing to dig, want to know more about the goings-on within our branches of government and its agencies, departments, offices, legislative committees and subcommittees.
I’d make a link on the appropriate guides and pathfinders.
Thanks to Gary Price for this lead.