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Michigan Documents Collection Development Guide

The collection development policy for the Michigan documents collection is formed from the Library of Michigan Act (P.A. 540 of 1982), which states;

“The library shall serve as a depository for each public document issued by a state official, department, board, commission or agency.”

“The library shall maintain a complete collection of the public documents deposited under section 9 as a permanent reference file.”

Generally, this language is interpreted to require the Library to acquire all publications produced by all state government agencies and retain them permanently. In practice, LM takes a more selective approach, collecting content rich publications with current and lasting informational value that record state government activities, known collectively as Michigan documents.

This document provides guidance regarding the types of publications included and excluded from this program and will be updated as the creation and dissemination of state government information changes over time.

Unless otherwise noted, the information in these guidelines is applicable to all formats, including web-based and electronic documents.

Definition and Format of a Michigan Document

A Michigan document is defined as information, regardless of form or format, compiled by an entity of Michigan’s state government and intended for an audience outside of the authoring agency.

As of 2006, the designated format for Michigan documents is electronic, excepting those that are not available in electronic formats and titles contained in the Core List of Michigan Documents that are still available in print. In lieu of distribution to depositories, LM will provide access to archived electronic documents through LM Digital, Answer online catalog and the Michigan Government Web Collection. Retention of all electronic documents is permanent and the following criteria for type or content of a document is not format specific.

Documents Not Collected

As a rule, LM does not collect the following forms of commonly printed and published state government materials.

  • Forms
  • Announcements
  • Applications
  • Receipts and most financial records
  • Personnel records
  • Travel vouchers
  • FOIA request documentation

In addition to the general categories of materials noted above, the following is a more specific list of commonly published documents that we do not collect.

  • RFPs and RFP documentation, project documentation
  • Reprints of national/international standards that have been republished/disseminated by a state agency as standards for Michigan industries.
  • Webpages with title or subject designations that contain only generalized text and links to related resources, but no identifiable ‘documents’.  State government websites are captured in their entirety multiple times per year ensuring the look and feel and general content of the State of Michigan's web presence is preserved.

Internal, non-traditional or draft state government documents

In the interest of serving the primary clientele of the Library of Michigan (state government), LM acquires materials outside the traditional definition of a ‘public’ document. These documents are often internal in nature, relate to the business of running government, rather than reporting out on government activities or represent a sub-region or – division of data that is also compiled in a statewide document.

  • Agency/bureau/division (including LM) policy and procedure manuals and guidelines
  • Bulletins that update information that exists in rules, policies and manuals more frequently than the rules, policies and manuals are revised.
    • Example: State Tax Commission Bulletins, Revenue Administrative Bulletins
  • Internal agency and staff newsletters
  • Collections of documents compiled by state agencies and not normally added to the collection may be retained at the specific request of the agency.
    •  Example: Michigan Insurance Bureau Omnibus Report, White Pine Mine closing documentation
  • Training materials or materials distributed by an agency during training sessions that suggest a statewide standard for agency activities during that time period.
    •  Example: Library of Michigan’s Beginning Workshop Manual
  • Documents published by the county office of a state agency, such as Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), that relate specifically to that county.
  • Public Service Announcements, audio or video
  • Administrative law decisions/opinions/judgments published by state agency boards and commissions.
  • Library of Michigan/LM Foundation publications in the following categories:
    • Ephemera (bookmarks, postcards, etc.)
    • Map & directions handouts/brochures
    • Workshop announcements
  •  Interim Reports
    • Issued as an incomplete report when the agency does not have all of the necessary information at the time a full report is expected. Usually followed by a full or final report at a later date when all report components have been collected. If distributed, depositories will be instructed to retain or discard the interim report at their discretion upon receipt of the final report.
  • Draft documents
    • Normally, unpublished draft documents or reports will not be collected, either for Library of Michigan’s collection or for the depository distribution. However, draft documents that are published for public comment or for which the issuing agency has indicated there will be no final edition will be collected and retained permanently.

Documents published through state agencies for federal agencies

Many federal agencies work closely with and through affiliated state-level agencies that administer and promote the federal programs within the state. The publications produced on behalf of these federal programs may, or may not be, Michigan documents. Please note the following circumstances and the location designation for each:

  • If the state agency can be identified as the agency that is/was administrating the program within the state, then the publication should be added to the Michigan Documents collection.

Examples of these types of publications are the Depression-era federal relief agency publications, specifically the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps. These federal programs worked with and through several state agencies, including the State Library and the Dept. of Conservation. A more recent example is the National Agricultural Statistics Service, which cooperates with and produces Michigan agricultural statistics through the Michigan Agricultural Statistics Service division of the Michigan Dept. of Agriculture.

  • If the document was published by a federal agency in conjunction with a state agency, it is a Michigan document only if it was physically produced and distributed by the state agency, otherwise the title should be housed in the Federal documents collection.

Documents published under contract by affiliated private/non-profit agencies

State agencies often contract or make affiliations with private or non-profit agencies and organizations as well as educational institutions to perform specific state services. Publications produced by the contractual or affiliated entity are considered Michigan documents and should be acquired and preserved if they are partially or completely funded by the state agency, are published and distributed at the state agency’s request, or on its behalf.  Examples of these types 
of agencies are:

  • Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI) – works closely with Community Health and the Office of Highway Safety of the Michigan State Police, collaborating on multiple publications. MPHI is a clearinghouse for health and safety related publications and performs their own distribution.
  • Michigan Natural Features Inventory – a project within the Wildlife Division, Natural Heritage Unit that has produced a variety of publications, including maps, on behalf of DNR.
  • Library of Michigan Foundation – a non-profit foundation dedicated to raising funds for special projects within LM such as the Michigan Rare Book Room as well as for projects with other libraries and library organizations.

To view a table of types of documents and the associated collection decision, see the .pdf document linked at the end of this page. Any questions about the types of federal, state or local government materials collected and preserved by the Library of Michigan should be directed to 517-335-1477 or