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New York State Documents Collection Development Policy


Since its creation in 1818, the New York State Library has been a repository of state publications of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, commissions, public authorities, and other agencies of state government. The State Library is the official New York State Document Depository and has the world's largest collection of New York State documents. In June 1993, the New York State Document Depository Program was recognized in law with the approval of Chapter 176, Laws of 1993, the Printing and Public Documents Law.


A New York State document is defined as a work1 of government2, regardless of form, format, or copyright, created in whole, or in part at state expense3, and intended for publication, distribution outside the authoring agency, or required by law. Original public records4 are excluded from this definition.

1 Work: Informational matter produced by any process, including: annual and biennial reports; audits; financial reports; research reports and studies; directories; statistical compendiums; books; maps; surveys; published rules, regulations, codes, and laws; newsletters; bulletins; state plans; periodicals, magazines, and journals; transcripts of public hearings; brochures, pamphlets, and other ephemera5.

2 Government: Any state office, department, division, board, bureau, commission, corporation, authority, or other body under state authority, including, state-supported institutions of higher education. This definition also includes publications of private bodies and consultants when these have been issued under contract with or supervision of a state agency.

3 State expense: Any authorized work paid for, or partially paid for with state funds, including those financed without state funds when those publications have been issued under contract with and/or under supervision of a state agency.

4 Original public records: Original or official public records are those created or received under law for administrative, operational, or internal use in connection with an agency's operation, transaction of public business, or other activities, or because of the informational value of the data in them. Examples include: forms; contracts; correspondence; memoranda; internal procedure manuals; records of an archival nature; interactive, non-discrete, constantly changing electronic items, such as Web sites, databases, active server pages, and software programs. The New York State Archives is responsible for preserving original government records.

5 Ephemera: Minor transient materials designed to be useful or important for only a short time such as broadsides, flyers, pamphlets, and realia.

Collection Development Policy

The New York State Library collects all New York State documents in electronic format and up to four copies of all paper, and other tangible state documents, such as CDs and DVDs, for the permanent document collection, with the exception of certain kinds of ephemera where two copies are retained. Ephemera not selected for the document collection will be offered without restriction to Manuscripts and Special Collections, the State Museum, or the State Archives.

All documents added to the permanent collection, with the exception of ephemera, will be digitized, if not already available in electronic format from the authoring agency. Exceptions to this digitization policy also include privately copyrighted documents and realia.

A single archival print copy of selected static textual and two-dimensional visual items, which have no paper equivalent, will be created and added to the permanent document collection.

Tangible documents received in sufficient quantities are distributed through the New York Document Depository Program.

Last Updated: June 1, 2021