New York State Documents: A Finding Guide
The Cornell University Library has received New York State documents as an official depository since at least 1955, although we have have many older documents as well. Under this original depository program, we were a full depository and received all of the state's major publications which were available for the NY State Library to send us.
The present depository program began in 1989. As a New York State Documents Depository Library we receive a wide variety of documents in paper form. As a New York State Documents Research Depository Library, Cornell also received an extensive collection of documents on microfiche; most documents which the New York State Library received from issuing agencies from 1989 through 1994, excluding most copyrighted material, are included in this microfiche set. The microfiche program ceased at the end of 1994 and was replaced in 1995 by scanned documents on the New York State Library's Web site. New York is cutting back on the number of printed documents it issues and sends to depository libraries. Be aware that state documents that were once issued in print may be available now only in electronic form through Excelsior, the New York State Library's online catalog.
Many state documents have not been included in the New York State depository program in the years past. To locate these documents, use Excelsior. Records for non-depository documents are often indicated in the Excelsior record with a note: "not in Checklist." These documents may be available on interlibrary loan from the State Library.
NEW YORK STATE DOCUMENTS COLLECTIONS
NYDOCS: New York State Document Classification System: The Arrangement of New York State Documents in Libraries (shelved with the MICROFICHE 932 GUIDE in the Olin Reference microform shelves) is an explanation of the NYS document classification system.
PAPER DOCUMENTS: ALL YEARS
Cornell's paper New York State documents collection includes documents from our very oldest titles through the newest documents issued this year. Paper documents, monographs, serials, and maps are cataloged individually and assigned Library of Congress call numbers and subject headings. They are found in the Olin stacks, as well as in other subject collections across campus.
Identifying and Locating New York State Documents: General Indexes and Catalogs
PRIMARY INDEXES AND CATALOGS
The first step in locating print NYS documents is to search Cornell Library Catalog and the card catalog. The catalog include entries for individual New York State documents: books, serials, and maps in the Cornell University Library.
If you cannot locate the document in our catalog, search EXCELSIOR, the New York State Library's online catalog. Excelsior includes many non-depository documents not available at Cornell and some not listed in the CHECKLIST (next item).
The CHECKLIST of Official Publications of the State of New York (Olin Ref Z 1223.5 .N56 +), the most extensive list of New York State documents available, covers 1947 - March 2004. The print version of the CHECKLIST has annual indexes and one cumulative index which covers 1947-1969.
The online version of the CHECKLIST covers June, 1989, to date. The online version includes annual indexes from 1996 forward.
ADDITIONAL INDEXES AND CATALOGS
The New York State Documents Catalog is a dictionary catalog which provides subject access to documents from December 1973 to December 1991 (Olin Ref Microfiche Z 1223.5 .N56 .D55). Thirty-four fiche shelved in a microfiche binder in the reference book stacks.
The Subject Index to New York State Publications is an annual index to documents issued from 1980 to 1994. It was created to be used with a Research Publications microfiche set covering 1980-1988 which we do not own. It also indexes the microfiche set covering 1988-1994 which we do own (see below). Since it includes "most of the items" in the CHECKLIST, it can be used for print documents. "[N]on-periodical publications" only. (Olin Ref Z 1223.5 .N56 .S94; also in ILR, Mann, and Law reference).
DOCUMENTS ON MICROFICHE: 1989-1994
The depository diazo microfiche collection of documents from New York State legislative and executive agencies is Olin Microfiche 932. Coverage begins with documents in the 1989 CHECKLIST and extends through 1994. Some documents published before 1989 may be included in this microfiche collection. During this time, the State supplied only microfiche version of depository titles. Olin Microfiche 932 is filed in the diazo microfiche section on the Lower Level.
Identifying and Locating Microfiche NYS Documents
Microfiche copies of NYS documents are filed by New York State Document call number, a system based on the name of the issuing agency.
Just as with paper documents, the CHECKLIST of Official Publications of the State of New York (Olin Ref Z 1223.5 .N56 +) and its online version can be used to identify documents in the microfiche collection. (A duplicate set of the monthly CHECKLISTS for the years covered by the microfiche set (1989-1994) is shelved in Olin Reference in the microform guide shelves as Olin Microfiche 932 Guide. It is easier to use the online CHECKLIST for those years, however.)
EXCELSIOR, the New York State Library's online catalog is an excellent resource for locating NYS document titles on microform. It has the added advantage of including cataloging and holdings for serials that continued publication after the end of the microform set. And the scanned version of post-1995 documents may be available online via Excelsior.
The Cornell Library Catalog has bibliographic records for the microfiche set from 1989-1991 which include the New York State document call number in the public catalog NOTES field of the catalog record. Many records for Cornell's paper documents in the Cornell Library Catalog are derived from NYS Library bibliographic records and include the NYS document call number, providing a link to the microfiche set for 1992-1994, when Cornell also has the paper documents.
Bibliographic records in OCLC WorldCat can be used for locating New York State documents since they include the New York State document call number in the "Class Descrpt" field.
The annual indexes in the Subject Index to New York State Publications (Microfiche edition, Olin Ref Z 1223.5 .N56 .S94) also covers 1989-1994 .
ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS: 1995 TO DATE
Most New York State documents from 1995 onward that are cited in the CHECKLIST are available as PDF files linked from the Electronic Access field in the "New York State Library's online catalog, EXCELSIOR: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/xcelsior.htm (The online version of the CHECKLIST indicates if a document has not been scanned). Four computers in the Electronic Text Center have TIFF viewer software installed, should you encounter a document available only in that version. Eventually all the TIFF versions of scanned documents will be repalced by the easier-to-use PDF version.
A very useful overview with help for searching EXCELSIOR for e-documents, using those documents, and the changeover from TIFF/GIF to PDF files is available on the NYSL Web site, Accessing the Digital Collection of New York State Agency Documents. Highly recommended.
NYSL receives New York State documents in formats such as diskettes and CD-ROMS. Electronic New York State documents in these formats are not usually supplied directly to depository libraries.
Many New York State documents are now available online directly from state agency Web sites. Some useful Internet starting points for NYS government information are:
New York State Government Information Locator http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/ils
New York State Archives http://www.archives.nysed.gov/aindex.shtml
New York State Government Web site http://www.state.ny.us/
New York State Division of the Budget http://www.budget.state.ny.us/
New York State Education Department http://www.nysed.gov/
New York State Assembly http://assembly.state.ny.us/
LEGISLATIVE DOCUMENTS PLUS
From 1820 to 1829, legislative documents were published in their entirety in the Journal of either house (see LEGISLATIVE JOURNALS, below). The most important component of our historic New York State documents collection is the bound series of collected documents known as the "Legislative series of documents," covering 1830 through 1976. These series include not only legislative documents but also some publications of the executive and judicial branches.
Similar documents following this set were received and cataloged individually either as serials or monographs; search the Cornell Library Catalog for individual titles. Cornell has some documents which are included in the collected series cataloged separately as well.
INDEXES TO THE LEGISLATIVE SERIES OF DOCUMENTS
"Journals of the New York State Assembly and Senate have been published since 1777. The text of a journal consists of summaries of floor proceedings, some resolutions, and some bill amendments introduced by the opposite house. The text of the bills themselves is never included." [Butch, 32] These journals are listed in the Cornell Library Catalog; keyword search "new york state legislature assembly" AND journal. For the Senate version, substitute senate for assembly. The Journals are an important resource for establishing legislative intent.
There are no subject indexes to the Journal, per se. However, the New York Times Index (1851 to date: Olin Ref AI 21 .N56) and Historical Index to the New York Times [online] (1863-1905, 1913-September 1922) can serve as a surrogate subject indexes. Legislative proceedings are often discussed in the newspaper.
RECORDS OF THE STATE LEGISLATURE IN THE STATE RECORDS AND ARCHIVES ADMINISTRATION
The Guide to Records of the New York State Legislature in the State Archives and Records Administration "describes selected records, dating from the colonial period to the 1980s, which are preserved and made available for research by the New York State Archives and Records Administration (SARA)." [Introduction] This guide lists the kinds of legislative records held by SARA. (Olin Reference Z 1223.5 .N56 G94 +)
The New York State Historical Literature collection contains electronic versions of scattered 19th century NYS documents among its 655 browseable and searchable online titles scanned and indexed by CUL. Browsing the titles beginning with "New York State" is one way to see what's available here.
There is no separate documents collection in the Cornell University Library. Help locating and using government documents of all kinds is available from the Reference staff in Olin Library.
Last update 9 July 2013 [MOE]