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Minnesota State Depository System, 1981-2003

In 1981, the State Document Depository Program was established by a Department of Administration Commissioner's Order. Many partners worked together under the former Minnesota State Depository System.

  • The Legislative Reference Library identified and obtained state publications, prepared documents for filming and sent them to the Minnesota Department of Administration Micrographics Unit for filming. Library staff cataloged documents into shared library systems (MNPALS and OCLC) and retained the full collection of documents in microfiche as well as most documents in paper.
  • The Minnesota Department of Administration microfilmed and distributed the microfiche to the state depository libraries and sold selected state documents in paper.
  • State agencies provided documents to the Legislative Reference Library. Individual agencies paid the cost of filming their documents for the system.
  • The State Document Depository libraries received shipments of microfilmed documents and made the fiche collections available for use. Microfiche shipping lists are available from January 1999-May 2003: Minnesota State Documents Lists ("Docs on Fiche").

The State Document Depository Program served two important functions during its existence. First, it ensured access to agency documents at many academic and public libraries around the state. Second, it ensured that agency documents would be preserved and available to researchers in succeeding years.

In recent years, with the rise of Web-based information and broader distribution of agency information, the microfiche lost value as a tool for current access to documents. It is a not a user-friendly format, and the processing time meant publications are not available in a timely fashion.

The microfiche distribution program was also not complete, as some agencies simply refused to pay for microfilming and their documents were not included in the program. Even so, the program was considered valuable by librarians around the state as a way to ensure access to important documents in the future. In August, 2001, a group of librarians representing different types of libraries and different areas of the state met to discuss the State Document Depository System. Given the uncertain technical and fiscal implications of current electronic storage methods, librarians felt that the current microfiche-based State Document Depository System serves an important archival function, and should be continued. For detailed background and discussion, read the following documents from the focus group meeting:

In December, 2003, DocuComm, the division of the Department of Administration responsible for filming state documents and billing agencies, moved to a complete outsourcing of its operations to a private corporation, ACS. With this switch, 18 months of state documents were shifted to the ACS office. Legislative Reference Library staff members worked with the staff of ACS, who then billed the publishing agencies for this final filming.