April 23, 2018

Notable Government Documents of 2012: Looking Back, Moving Ahead

While the 2012 presidential campaign raged, and the brink of the fiscal cliff loomed large, government information continued to be disseminated unabated. One year ago, there was a great hue and cry because the 2012 edition of the Statistical Abstract of the United States would be the final edition produced by the government. By now, those who have used the privatized, online version find much to appreciate: expanded footnotes for each table, hyperlinked to the agencies, databases, and publications of origin; American Psychological Association (APA) and Modern Language Association (MLA) style citation suggestions for each table, a major boon for academics; and keyword search engine and relevance sorting. Of course, while a semi–silver lining took shape in that particular cloud, 2013 brought the sequester, casting its shadow on initiatives and agencies, including the Census Bureau yet again, which stands to take a $46 million hit that would delay the distribution of the 2012 Economic Census, curtail ongoing research, and impact planning for the 2020 decennial census. Time will tell how many more tried-and-true government resources will be affected and what kinds of workarounds might emerge to deliver data in a timely way.

GPO initiatives

Under the leadership of acting public printer Davita Vance-Cooks, the Government Printing Office (GPO) continued to forge ahead with technological measures in support of its mission of keeping America informed. Building on the success of its first mobile web application, the Member Guide for the 112th Congress released in 2011, GPO launched an app for the FY13 federal budget in February 2012. In its first 24 hours of availability, there were roughly 53,000 views. GPO was recognized with an achievement award from the Center for Digital Government for the budget app. Later in the year, GPO went on to partner with the National Archives’ Office of the Federal Register (OFR) to create a presidential documents app, in support of the White House digital strategy for the federal government. Also in 2012, GPO expanded its distribution of federal ebooks by signing agreements with both Barnes & Noble and Apple to make a variety of popular titles available. Focusing on internal efficiency, the agency launched an e-learning tool to support virtual training and meetings across the depository library community.

Marking time

Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the Depository Library Act of 1962, the legislation that established the structure of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) as we know it. As a result of the act, the number of libraries participating in the program, the public’s awareness of government information resources, and government information dissemination all increased. Currently, there are more than 1,200 FDLP institutions, of which 47 are regionals. The most recent change in regional oversight happened early in 2013, when GPO and the University of Minnesota Libraries (UMN), Minneapolis, finalized an agreement by which UMN’s regional library would provide service to selective depositories in the state of Michigan. Also in 2012, the Depository Library Council, the public printer’s advisory group, turned 40. The E-Government Act of 2002, dedicated to improving citizen access to government information and services, marked its first decade. Among other things, the act was responsible for establishing and maintaining what is now the USA.gov portal.


In an effort to streamline access to federal agency information provided through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), FOIAonline was launched in October 2012. The site allows FOIA requests to be made electronically and tracked online. It lets guest users search previously released records and generate reports, while registered users have a fuller range of options. The bad news is that only a handful of agencies have opted to participate in this initiative thus far. The good news is that FOIAonline is a step forward, at a time of renewed controversy over government transparency. While the government responded to a record-high number of information requests in 2012—more than 603,000—it rejected over a third, citing various FOIA exemptions including national security ­concerns.

Early this year, legislation was introduced to enhance open access (OA) to government-funded research. The Federal Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) would require that electronic versions of research articles appearing in peer-reviewed journals be made freely available within six months of publication. This would apply to agencies with external research funding in excess of $100 million. Supported by many library associations and other organizations, FASTR would also provide for text mining and data management and long-term preservation, though those would not come cheap. It remains to be seen how the legislation will fare and whether its provisions, ultimately, will improve access to government information. In the meantime, the White House OA directive, which applies to agencies investing at least $100 million in external research or development funds, went into effect in February.

With regard to the 2012 list, the Notable Documents panel thanks all who participated in the nominating process this year. Nearly all of the publications are available online, many with no-cost print counterparts.


Attu Boy. by Nick Golodoff. U.S. Dept. of the Interior, National Park Svc. Alaska Regional Office. 2012. 153p. illus. maps. SuDoc# I 29.2:AT 8/2.
Here, Golodoff brings to life a forgotten period in American history. At age six, he witnessed the Japanese invasion of Attu, in the Aleutian Islands. He recounts how he and 41 other Attu residents were taken to a POW camp in Japan, where they remained until repatriation at war’s end. Family photographs illustrate the Attu village and its ­residents.

Bedrock Geologic Map of Vermont. by Nicholas M. Ratcliffe & others. U.S. Geological Survey with Vermont Geological Survey. 2012. (Scientific Investigations Map, No. 3184). map. SuDoc# I 19.91/3:3184.
The entire history of Vermont’s state mapping program is celebrated on this website. The bedrock map is accompanied by historical and current photographs and videos, geological survey reports, and biographies of state geologists.

Bumble Bees of the Western United States. by Jonathan Koch & others. U.S. Dept.
of Agriculture, Forest Svc., San Francisco Pollinator Partnership. 2012. 143p. illus. maps. SuDoc# A 13.2:B 39/9. $15.
Brightly illuminated with close-up color portraits, this companion volume to Bumble Bees of the Eastern United States completes the first series of field guides to focus on genus Bombus. For the amateur observer, diagrams of body parts help distinguish among species and between queens and workers within a species. Maps document the impact of climate change on range and habitat of this important pollinator.

Celebrating 30 Years of the Space Shuttle Program. ed. by William Wallack & George Gonzalez. National Aeronautics & Space Administration. 2012. 284p. illus. ISBN 9780160902024. SuDoc# NAS 1.83:2012-01-835-HQ. GPO Stock# 033-000-01355-8. $48.
This reference tool is both a celebration of the successes of the NASA shuttle program and a requiem for the astronauts lost in the Challenger and Columbia disasters. Arranged chronologically, with an entry for each mission, it includes statistical data, mission objectives and contributions, formal portraits of crew members, candid photos from space walks, life aboard the shuttle, and more.

Council of War: A History of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1942–1991. by Steven L. Reardon. National Defense Univ. for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Office of the Director, Joint History Office. 2012. 584p. illus. ISBN 9780160912238. SuDoc# D 5.2:H 62/5. GPO Stock# 008-020-01622-5. $70.
This scholarly history traces the development of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) from its origins during World War II through the Cold War. It documents the JCS coordination of national strategic policy and the impact on defense and domestic policies in the period as the United States emerged as a superpower.

Coyote and the Turtle’s Dream. by Terry Lofton. U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Svcs., Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Native Diabetes Wellness Program. 2011. 236p. illus. SuDoc# HE 20.7002:D 54/9. Free.
Honoring traditional storytelling techniques, this novel targets middle schoolers in Native American and Alaska Native communities, where type 2 diabetes is prevalent at higher rates than among other ethnic groups. Using characters from the original “Eagle Books” series and an original plotline, it promotes a diabetes preventative diet, behaviors, and lifestyle.

Earth as Art. by Lawrence Friedl & Karen Yuen. NASA. 2012. 166p. illus. ISBN 9780160913655.
SuDoc# NAS 1.86:NP-2012-07-889-HQ. GPO Stock# 033-000-01358-2. $44.
Taken from NASA’s Landsat 7 Earth Observation satellite, the 75 photos in this collection honor the aesthetics of color, shape, and texture created by light and its interplay with water, atmosphere, ice, and landscape.

The End of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: The Impact in Studies and Personal Essays by Service Members and Veterans. ed. by J. Ford Huffman & Tammy S. Schultz. Marine Corps Univ. 2012. 254p. illus. ISBN 9780160905469. SuDoc# D 214.2:D 71. GPO Stock# 008-000-01063-3. $13.50.
This report combines personal testimony of gay marines with formal studies and other documentation to assess the effect of DADT and of its repeal. Contributors include gay and straight officers and enlisted service members, civilians, politicians, academics, and others.

FDR and the Land: Roosevelt Estate Historic Resource Study, Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site. by John F. Sears & John E. Auwaeter. U.S. Dept. of the Interior, National Park Svc., Olmsted Ctr. for Landscape Preservation. 2011. 424p. illus. maps. SuDoc# I 29.58/3:R 67.
Maps and drawings illustrate this historical overview of land use on the Roosevelt estate near Hyde Park, NY, on the Hudson River. Hundreds of vintage photographs depicting lawns, forests, gardens, the Roosevelts themselves, and their groundskeepers acclaim FDR as a conservationist and forester.

Homesteading on the Pajarito Plateau, 1887–1942. by Judith Machen & others. Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Energy Dept. Cultural Resources Report, No. 313). 2012. 122p. illus. Free. [Available from Los Alamos National Site Office, National Nuclear Security Admin., Dept. of Energy, 505-667-6819]
Using original family photographs and descendant interviews, this report chronicles the homesteaders in the Los Alamos area of northern New Mexico. Beginning in the 1880s, these rugged individuals scratched out a livelihood raising cattle, sheep, and assorted cash crops, or hired themselves out as laborers when their own crop failed. The individuals and families are the focus, but the text also considers their context within the national homesteading movement and the national tourist industry.

Leaving: Policies, Pressures, and Detainees Returning to the Fight. U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Armed Svcs., Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. U.S. GPO. 2012. 89p. illus. maps. ISBN 9780160903861. SuDoc# Y 4.AR 5/2:G 93. GPO Stock# 052-070-07641-1 $12.
In 2011, committee staff undertook a comprehensive, bipartisan assessment of the Guantanamo detainee release program. In the process, they consulted senior officials in both the Bush and Obama administrations and experts (including former detainees), received briefings from the Department of Defense and the State Department, and reviewed thousands of pages of documents. The report documents a high (27 percent) and increasing rate of released detainees re-engaging in acts of terrorism.

Mysteries of the Sun. National Aeronautics & Space Administration. 2012. 1 videodisc. color. 35 min. SuDoc# NAS 1.86:SU 7/5/DVD.
Filled with eye-dazzling charts, diagrams, and illustrations, this book briefly outlines our current knowledge of the sun, its effect on the earth, and the different NASA satellites that have provided the observations and research. Its prose style is appropriate for all ages, especially for adolescent and YAs.

Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic. by Maggie Silver. U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Svcs., Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. 2011. online (12p.) SuDoc# HE 20.7002:P 91/2.
The CDC here promotes emergency preparedness in graphic novel format, with the case of a young couple surviving a zombie plague because (spoiler alert) they had assembled a kit of emergency supplies, the local first responders had received training, and the CDC isolated the virus, created an adequate supply of the antidote, and had the means to ship it where it was most needed. Very cleverly done; worth checking out.

A Review of ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious and Related Matters. U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, Oversight & Review Div. 2012. online (512p.). illus. maps. SuDoc# J 37.2:F 26.
Political considerations aside, this DOJ report is notable because it summarizes what is known about the drug cartels operating in the Southwest border regions and the history of U.S. law enforcement initiatives that have attempted to control gun trafficking and other criminal activities. Parts have been redacted owing to ongoing grand jury investigations.

River of Interests: Water Management in South Florida and the Everglades, 1948–2010. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville Dist. 2011. 339p. Illus. maps. ISBN 9780160901348. GPO Stock# 008-022-00350-9. $89. SuDoc# D 103.2:EV 2.
This thoroughly researched and footnoted report describes the historical conflict between environmentalists and economic interests in the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee, and the Kissimmee River region in south Florida. Dozens of maps, some dating back to the mid-19th century, and color photographs familiarize the reader with this fascinating ecosystem.

Sea Unseen: Scanning Electron Microscopy Images from Puget Sound and Beyond. by Carla Stehr. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. 2010. 98p. illus. SuDoc# C 55.302:SE 1/9.
In this online exhibit, NOAA presents the results of 30 years of research in the Northwest’s Puget Sound region, in an exhibit of electron microscope images of tiny marine plants and animals. It’s not just about science; these images invite the viewer to appreciate the aesthetic qualities of this fantastic world of textures, silhouettes, and shadows that are invisible to the naked eye.

Stories of Hope and Recovery: A Video Guide for Suicide Attempt Survivors. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Svcs. Administration. 2012. online. video available in both streaming and downloadable formats. SuDoc# HE 20.402:SU 8. Free. [Available as DVD.]
This inspiring video focuses on the struggles of three individuals who survived suicide attempts. In interviews, they relate their personal stories in order to bring hope to people suffering from the mental and physical disorders that might result in suicide.

Tunnel Vision: The Life of a Copper Prospector in the Nizina River Country. by Katherine Ringsmith. U.S. Dept. of the Interior, National Park Svc. 2012. 119p. illus. maps. ISBN 9780615635460. SuDoc# I 29.2:P 94/6. GPO Stock# 024-005-01301-6. $36.
This NPS report is, on the surface, a biography of Martin Radovan, explorer and copper prospector, who arrived in Alaska in 1900 and spent the next 70 years working his claims, discovering new ones, and guiding tourists and historians. It is also a homage to the hardy souls who made the trek to Alaska in the days of the Gold Rush. With hundreds of historical photographs and maps of Alaskan villages, landscapes, and mines.

Transforming the Security Classification System: Report to the President. U.S. Public Interest Declassification Board. 2012. online. illus. SuDoc# PR 44.8:D 35/C 56.
The board that authored this report was created by Congress in 2000 to advise presidents and executive branch agencies on declassification practices. The board is a public advocate, whose mission is to promote the fullest possible public access to government records. The report is also noteworthy for the light it sheds on current and past administration records classification practices.

2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: Goals and Objectives for Action; A Report of the U.S. Surgeon General and of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Svcs. 2012. online (182p.). illus. map. SuDoc# HE 1.2:SU 3.
Suicide is among the top five causes of death among Americans under age 45; 7.8 percent of high school–age students report having attempted suicide in the past year. Based on new research, this revision of our national strategy updates 13 goals and 60 objectives that focus on identifying mental and physical disorders that result in suicide, recognizing at-risk groups, developing effective intervention strategies, and coordinating public/private sector program ­implementation.



The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Central Arkansas Lib. Syst. 2006.
The Encyclopedia of Arkansas Project, according to its website, is an attempt to collect and disseminate information on all aspects of the state’s history and culture as a means of promoting the study, understanding, and appreciation of Arkansas’s heritage.


California High Speed Rail Authority Document Library. by California High Speed Rail Authority. 2008. OCLC # 263099099. Free.
A searchable library of documents associated with the work of the authority that contains links to official published reports of the authority, including environmental documents as well as business and implementation plans.

Challenges Facing California’s Olive Oil Industry. by California Legislature, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Olive Oil Production & Emerging Products. California Senate Pubns. 2012. illus. OCLC # 820377099. $10 +tax (incl. s/h).
A new California State Senate Subcommittee on Olive Oil and Emerging Products held a hearing at which lawmakers heard testimony from speakers who presented accounts of the challenges faced by the state’s olive oil producers facing unfair competition from unscrupulous European producers and importers. This publication is the hearing’s accompanied report and transcript.

Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta Historical Ecology Investigation: Exploring Pattern and Process. by Alison Whipple. San Francisco Estuary Inst., California Dept. of Fish & Game, Ecological Restoration Program. (SFEI-ASC Pubn., No. 672). 2012. 408p. illus. maps. OCLC # 809278501. $75 + s/h.
This joint study of the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta serves to improve the understanding of what the Delta looked like and how it functioned prior to the significant modification that has occurred over the last 160 years. This historical reconstruction documents the variations and the extent of habitat types throughout the delta for an improved sense of species support functions and physical processes within the native landscape. Knowing how different parts of the vast historical delta have changed can lead to future restoration strategies. The website also has GIS data for ESRI ArcMap 10 available.

San Francisco Data. by City & County of San Francisco. 2009. Free.
The Open Data Portal (data.sfgov.org) was developed “to enhance open government, transparency, and accountability by improving access to data” and “help constituents make better use of information.” It is hoped that the resulting innovation in interaction with government will lead to economic as well as social benefits for all.


IndianaMAP. Indiana Geographic Information Council. Free.
IndianaMAP is the largest publicly available collection of Indiana geographic information system (GIS) map data. It is made possible by an alliance of partners from federal and state government, local organizations and agencies, and universities and managed by the Indiana Geographic Information Office, a state government agency, among others. Data sharing between federal and state agencies is one of the fundamental roles of the IndianaMap alliance. New GIS layers include the latest election data for the Indiana General ­Assembly.


Criminal Investigation of Potential Misconduct at the Massachusetts State Lab. by John Verner. Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General. 2012. 101p. Free.
A collection of reports from the Massachusetts State Police exposing potential misconduct at the Massachusetts State Lab. Potent stuff.


A Guide to the Education Building, Celebrating 100 Years, New York State Education Department Building. by Univ. of the State of New York, State Education Dept. 2012. 48p. illus. OCLC # 823344472.
More than just the “working home” of a state administrative agency, the neoclassical- style New York State Education Building is a national treasure celebrating the stories of education through architecture, painting, and sculpture in the country’s longest colonnaded structure.

Focus on Nature XII. ed. by Patricia Kernan & Robert Naczi. New York State Museum. 2012. 98p. illus. $5 + $5 s/h.
Focus on Nature (FON) is a biennial exhibition of scientific, natural, and cultural history. It began in 1990 in conjunction with the Northeast Natural History Conference. This publication accompanies the 12th ­exhibition.


ACCESS North Carolina: A Vacation and Travel Guide for People with Disabilities. by Div. of Vocational Rehabilitation Svcs. State of North Carolina, Dept. of Health & Human Svcs. 2012. 469p. illus. maps. OCLC# 79438094. Free.
ACCESS North Carolina mixes text and icons to offer basic tourist site data. Users can tell at a glance if a site is accessible or partially accessible for persons with ­disabilities.


Spectacular North Dakota Hikes: Bring the Dog. by Susan Wefald & Janet Flom. North Dakota Inst. for Regional Studies. 2011. 169p. illus. maps. ISBN 9780911042757. OCLC# 755092440. $25.
“Two of North Dakota’s most avid hikers, Susan Wefald and her dog Sandy, share their notes on 50 of North Dakota’s best day hikes.” For armchair and seasoned hikers looking to traverse North Dakota’s diverse landscape with this entertaining duo. “Bring your dog!”

Flowers Between the Frosts: How To Grow Great Gardens in Short Seasons. by Dorothy Collins. North Dakota Inst. for Regional Studies. 2012. 174p. ISBN: 9780911042764. OCLC # 793104802. $14.95 + $4 s/h. www.ndsu.edu/ahss/ndirs/publications/publication4.
Gardening writer Collins produced about 2,800 gardening articles during her 55-year career, addressing “the rewards and the challenges of gardening in a climate known for hot, dry summers and cold, windswept winters.” This book gathers some of her best advice, “along with a few sprigs of Midwestern charm and whimsy.”

Home Lawn Problems and Solutions for North Dakota. by Alan Zuk & others. NDSU Extension Svc., North Dakota State Univ. Circular H (NDSU Extension Svc.), 1553. 2011. 31p. illus. OCLC # 781177604. $2.50 s/h.
Responding to inquiries about home lawn care and problems, this NDSU Extension publication aims “to assist the homeowner first in identifying these problems and, secondly, providing advice on actions they can take to solve these problems.” A gardener’s delight.


Common Birds of Ohio: CD Guidebook. by Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources, Div. of Wildlife. 2012. unpaged. illus. OCLC # 813173313. Free.
Complementary to a CD with songs of 103 of Ohio’s most common breeding birds found primarily in upland habitats, this book offers a description and photo to accompany each bird’s sound.

Dragonflies and Damselflies of Ohio Field Guide. by Dave McShaffrey & Robert C. Glotzhober. Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources, Div. of Wildlife. 2012. 71p. illus. maps. OCLC # 824954248. Free.
This colorful and easy-to-use field guide assists budding entomologists to identify Ohio’s many dragonflies and damselflies.

Fall/Winter Recreation Guide. by Ohio Development Svcs. Agency. Office of TourismOhio. 2012. 48p. illus. map. OCLC # 824986005. Free (request online or by phone).
This limited-run publication includes articles and suggested itineraries that highlight seasonal fun.

Ohio’s Family Fun. by Ohio Development Svcs. Agency. Office of TourismOhio. 2012. 47p. col. illus. map. OCLC # 822028024. Free (request by phone or online).
This limited-run publication entices tourists to the Buckeye State through its various information sources.


Documents.OK.gov. by the Oklahoma Dept. of Libraries & Oklahoma Office of Management & Enterprise Svcs. 2012. Free.
A product of new legislation, Documents.OK.gov is an initiative that requires the state’s chief information officer to develop and maintain an online presence for the deposit of publications by state agencies. Constituents can access thousands publications and documents dating back to 1978.


Active Early: A Wisconsin Guide for Improving Childhood Physical Activity.
by Wisconsin Community Nutrition Team, Div. of Public Health, Obesity Prevention Unit. 2011. 73p. illus. OCLC# 778070492. Free.
Per this document, “By developing and implementing program policies to improve the nutritional quality of food, encourage physical activity and educate child-care providers, parents and caregivers, children can develop a sound foundation for optimal growth and development.” The guides are based on current scientific evidence and “suggest key areas for improvement and information on how to implement strategies for developing program policies in child-care settings.” Giving Wisconsin children the chance to adopt “healthy habits that will last a ­lifetime.”

2009-2011 Biennial Report: Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. by Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. 2011. 80p.illus. maps. Free.
The board is responsible for investing the principal of its school trust funds in accordance with the Wisconsin State Constitution and Chapter 24 of the state statutes. This title details the board’s activities for years 2009–11.

Wisconsin Scorecard: How Wisconsin Compares to Other States. by Ryan Miller & others. Wisconsin Legislature, Legislative Reference Bureau. 2011. 9 p. illus. OCLC # 772640205. Free (limited copies available for distribution).
This compendium of state rankings considers how Wisconsin compares to other states. A handy reference guide for legislators organized into four umbrella sections: Demographic and Social, Health and Education, Government Finance and Economic, and Environment and Energy Rankings.


Cannabis Production and Markets in Europe. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs & Drug Addiction, dist. by Renouf. 2012. 268p. illus. maps. bibliog. ISBN 9789291685028. pap. $45.
Though cannabis is the most widely used illicit substance in Europe, the cannabis market in the region is largely unexplored. This title covers the plant’s botany, cultivation, production, potency, value, and use. Also discussed are differences in European national laws. This authoritative work will be useful to both scholars and general ­readers.

Climate Protection and Development. ed. by Frank Ackerman & others. Bloomsbury Academic/United Nations, dist. by Bernan, Renouf & UN Pubns. 2012. 182p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9781780931692. pap. $38.
Can the world arrest global warming without sacrificing economic development? The authors believe a low-emissions, high-growth strategy can gain global support, and they explain in detail what the stakeholders must do. The text is superbly written, and while it is mainly intended for researchers and policymakers, this work will be useful to concerned citizens as well.

Closing the Gender Gap: Act Now. Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development, dist. by Bernan, OECD Online Bookshop & Renouf. 2012. 349p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9789264179363. pap. $112.
This report examines the inequality of women in the areas of education, employment, and business and tells us what governments can do to level the playing field. The authors discuss how these inequalities are perpetuated and argue that gender fairness accelerates economic growth. Every chapter is loaded with interesting facts and tables. Parts of this work require an understanding of statistical analysis, but even the average college freshman will learn a great deal from this publication.

EU Drug Markets Report: A Strategic Analysis. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs & Drug Addiction & Europol. 2013. 154p. illus. maps. bibliog. ISBN 9789291685950. OCLC# 827975504.
The two major EU agencies concerned with illicit drugs here provide a comprehensive analysis of the European drug market. At the core of this work are six chapters on the markets for the most heavily used drugs: heroin, cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, methamphetamine, and ecstasy. Each chapter begins with statistics on prevalence, treatment, arrests, seizures, price, purity, and related deaths. The authors then discuss issues regarding production and precursors, consumption, and trends in trafficking and its relationship to terrorism and the role of the Internet. The depth of analysis places this report among the most significant works on this topic.

Green Economy in a Blue World. UN Environment Programme & others. 2012. 131p. illus. maps. bibliog. ISBN 9788277011042. Free.
Our seas are among our most valuable natural resources, yet human beings are exploiting them. The authors argue that sectors dependent on the marine environment, such as aquaculture and coastal tourism, can become more profitable while also reducing their environmental footprint. The book likewise explores how sectors such as agriculture, energy, and deep-sea mining can contribute to the creation of sustainable marine environments. Thematic maps and illustrations are used very effectively.

Human Development and the Shift to Better Citizen Security. Caribbean Human Development Report 2012. UN Development Programme, dist. by Bernan, Renouf & UN Pubns. 2012. 227p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9789962688082. pap. $30.
This first Caribbean Human Development Report is based on new survey data, previous research, and consultations involving over 450 stakeholders in the seven English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean countries. The authors focus on two questions: Why has violent crime in these countries skyrocketed? How should governments respond? They examine types of violent crime, causes of youth violence, the role of gangs and organized crime, the lack of confidence in the police, and the need to reform criminal justice systems. An excellent resource for a wide range of users.

The League of Nations: From Collective Security to Global Rearmament. by Marit Fosse & John Fox. United Nations, dist. by Bernan, Renouf & UN Pubns. 2012. 154p. illus. maps. bibliog. ISBN 9789211012484. pap. $22.
Dozens of books have been written about the founding, accomplishments, and demise of the League of Nations. This one is exceptional in two respects. First, more than 100 illustrations complement the text. The cartoons, which are critical of the organization, are both entertaining and instructive. Second, the quality of the writing is exceptional. Readers interested in the consequences of World War I and the causes of World War II will be ­fascinated.

Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters To Advance Climate Change Adaptation: Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge Univ., dist. by Bernan, Renouf & UN Pubns. 2012. 582p. illus. maps. bibliog. ISBN 9781107025066. $170; pap. ISBN 9781107607804. $$80.
This leading international authority on climate change, including its mitigation and effects, has produced a comprehensive study on strategies for managing the risks posed by climate extremes. The intended audiences are policymakers and scholars with some prior knowledge of the topic, but the summary and case studies are very accessible.

Memory of the World: The Treasures That Record Our History from 1700 BC to the Present Day. UNESCO, dist. by Bernan & Renouf. 2012. illus. maps. ISBN 9789231042379. pap. $50.
This beautiful and often poignant work describes the 245 documentary records of our cultural heritage inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World Registry, for example, Azerbaijani medieval manuscripts on medicine and pharmacy, Korean printing woodblocks, and the Human Rights Archive of Chile. In addition to a textual description, each entry features the location of the resource, a justification of its inclusion in the registry and, with few exceptions, illustrations. Indexes provide access by country and inscription.

Mercury: Time To Act. UN Environment Programme. 2012. 42p. illus. maps. bibliog. ISBN 9789280733105. Free.
Nations will soon gather to sign the Minamata Convention on Mercury—the first treaty controlling this element’s release into the environment and restricting its use. This booklet provides the rationale for supporting the convention by describing the threat mercury poses. The text is clear and compelling, but the illustrations and maps are this title’s strongest feature.

New Heroin-Assisted Treatment: Recent Evidence and Current Practices of Supervised Injectable Heroin Treatment in Europe and Beyond. by John Strang & others. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs & Drug Addiction, dist. by Renouf. 2012. 170p. bibliog. ISBN 9789291684953. pap. $45.
Each year, heroin overdoses kill about 2,000 people in the United States alone. Supervised injectable heroin (SIH) treatment has emerged as a means of helping patients who do not respond to more accepted treatments. Written for a very broad audience, this book brings together the major studies on this topic in order to address two questions: Is SIH effective and, if so, how can it be safely administered? The authors also discuss legislation and legal issues.

UNESCO World Heritage Atlas. UNESCO Pub./DeAgostini Libri, dist. by Bernan & Renouf. 2012. 280p. illus. maps. bibliog. ISBN 9789231042393. Bernan $80, Renouf $90.
This exquisite volume celebrating the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention includes detailed maps showing the locations of the 962 natural and cultural sites on the World Heritage List together with photographs and descriptions of selected sites. The color palette and graphic design are stunning; the symbology for identifying sites, especially those that are endangered, is attractive and presents information in novel ways. The atlas includes foldout maps that are folded so precisely it is impossible to damage them while flipping through the pages. The heavy bond paper and sewn binding give this volume the stability. Its only flaw is the small-font index. For both public and academic libraries.

United Nations World Water Development Report 4. 3 vols. World Water Assessment Programme, dist. by Bernan & Renouf. 2012. 866p. illus. maps. bibliog. ISBN 9789231042355. pap. Bernan $100, Renouf $99.
This comprehensive overview of issues affecting the world’s freshwater resources consists of four parts. Part 1—status, trends and challenges—addresses major long-term problems. Part 2—the thematic section—examines how decisions concerning water are affected by risk and uncertainty. Part 3 contains the assessments of the UN regional commissions and concise documents on topics such as water quality and the effects of decertification on water resources. Part 4 consists of case studies. Beautifully illustrated and clearly written; readers seeking in-depth knowledge of global water issues should start here.

Marianne Ryan (marianne-ryan@northwestern.edu) is Chair of the Notable Documents Panel of the American Library Association’s Government Documents Roundtable (GODORT) and Associate University Librarian for Public Services at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

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The Latest Trends in Library Design
Hosted in partnership with Salt Lake County Library and The City Library—at SLCo’s Viridian Center—the newest installment of our library building and design event will let you dig deep with architects, librarians, and vendors to explore building, renovating, and retrofitting spaces to better engage your community.


  1. AJ Groome says:

    SO excited to see this!
    (note the absence of sarcasm, I really am)

  2. Thank you very much for recognizing our Report to the President on “Transforming the Security Classification System” as one of the Federal Government’s most notable documents of 2012. In drafting this report, we solicited public input on our blog, “Transforming Classification” and used feedback and suggestions in shaping our recommendations. We continue to advocate for fundamental transformation of our secrecy system – this reform is needed for our democracy to thrive. A new system must be informed by the new ways we work and use information and must include the smart use of technology to improve both classification and declassification as well as limit secrecy. Our public discussion continues on our blog – http://blogs.archives.gov/transformingclassification/
    We invite you to join the conversation on this important topic. Thank you for your recognition!