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Panama and the Canal at UF: Center of Excellence

This guide discusses the Smather's Libraries holdings for the Panama Canal Zone, including digital collections.

Panama Canal Center of Excellence at UF

As a Federal Depository Library, the Government Documents Department holds approximately 1,500 items published by the Federal Government relating to the planning for, building of and ongoing operation of the Panama Canal. These holdings include 33 linear feet of publications produced by the U.S. Panama Canal Commission and its predecessor agencies, the Panama Canal Company/Canal Zone Government, the Panama Canal, and the Isthmian Canal Commission. Congressional hearings, committee reports, maps, and general documents concerning the Canal are included in this collection.

What is a Center of Excellence

This program seeks to provide workable solutions to address the increasing cost of managing, preserving, and providing access to large collections of Federal government publications through the creation of several comprehensive collections, known as "Centers of Excellence" (COE)*, of U.S. government information from each Federal government agency. Built upon the foundation of existing holdings at Federal Depository libraries, these collections will become more complete with assistance from both Regionals, libraries who collect government information comprehensively, and Selectives, libraries who collect government information selectively, in the ten ASERL states.

Centers of Excellence will:

  • inventory holdings and ensure accurate cataloging and holdings records for the extant collection
  • actively replace damaged or lost pieces,
  • seek to fill holes in their collections, as necessary,
  • provide active preservation for the collection,
  • catalog the pieces that they own on OCLC, the worldwide union catalog for libraries, and identify them as the archival copy,&
  • participate in GPO's program to set holdings on OCLC for Regionals free of charge, if eligible,
  • enhance the visibility of, and accessibility to, their collection through digitization of holdings or linking to available public domain digital copies, as feasible,
  • actively participate in ILL/Document Delivery agreements, and
  • provide expert reference service for and promote the use of their collection.

ASERL believes creating these COEs will result in more reliable and predictable access to Federal publications for all libraries and citizens in the Southeastern states by specifying which Federal Depository libraries have the most complete holdings for each agency. ASERL appreciates the effort that all service points at their “centers” are putting into making sure their users know about the availability of these rich resources.

 Contact information:

  • The University of Florida serves as a COE for the agencies on the following pages. Contact Chelsea Dinsmore with questions
  •  Cheryle Cole-Bennett, Coordinator, Collaborative Federal Depositories Program. Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL).  (

 * The phrase Center of Excellence is used here as it is used within the U.S. FDLP to identify a library establishing a collection and related services focused on a specific Federal agency or subject area represented by Federal documents. This is distinct from, and unrelated to, the Florida program of the same name that is intended to bridge the gap between academia and industry.

Panama Canal Collection

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