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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
BUREAU OF EDUCATION,
Washington, November 5, 1913. Sir: One of the greatest needs of our elementary and secondary schools, both public and private, is the need for suitable material to supplement the meager outlines and brief statements of the textbooks in geography, history, hygiene, nature study, agriculture, and other subjects. This need is greatest in country and village schools, which are without access to public libraries. Among the publications of the Federal and State Governments, reports, bulletins, circulars, and special documents, are thousands of pages of matter of highest value for this purpose. Frequently these are published under titles that in no way indicate their fitness for this use. Very frequently the usable matter covers only a few pages in a document of several hundred pages. Few are the teachers who know of the existence of any of this matter. If this bureau had sufficient funds, it might render a valuable service to thousands of schools and millions of children by carefully selecting this material, classifying it by subjects, grading it for classes according to their advancement, and having it reprinted for general distribution, either free of charge or at a price only sufficient to cover the cost of printing. If this could be done, the school work in these subjects might be made far more interesting, thorough, and practical than it now is, but the bureau has no funds with which to undertake this important work. To the end that teachers and school officers may have some knowledge of the nature of some of this material, I have had the accompanying briefly annotated lists of a few of these publications prepared by Mr. Frederick K. Noyes and ask that they be published as a bulletin of the Bureau of Education. Respectfully submitted.
P. P. CLAXTON,
Commissioner. To the SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.
TEACHING MATERIAL IN GOVERNMENT
For the purposes of this bulletin, teaching material is defined as follows:
1. Any publication suitable for text use..
2. Any publication containing pictures or facts which may be serviceable in illustrating or supplementing the texts already in use. Such a publication may be useful as collateral reading or may furnish the basis in whole or in part for a supplementary talk by the teacher.
3. Any publication which may add to the value of a library in the course of accumulation by school or teacher; such publications, for instance, as source documents, annuals, works of reference, or reports of detailed investigations, the results of which are likely to stand for some time. But publications of this kind which are too voluminous, technical, or expensive are generally excluded.
HOW THE LIST HAS BEEN SELECTED.
The method of selection is indicated in part by the definition of teaching material just given. In addition, the following classes of publications are omitted:
1. Generally speaking, publications of minutely local interest.
2. Works on scientific, sociological, or economic questions 10 years old or older. This rule, like all others given, is laid down for general guidance rather than for inflexible observance.
3. Books containing only a few pages of available matter and many pages of unavailable matter.
4. Speeches in general, especially those delivered in the course of legislative debates.
Possibly the objection may be raised that too much material has been barred; but on the other hand this bibliography makes no pretensions to being complete. Rather it is intended to be suggestive of the vast stores of teaching material which lie embedded in Government documents, many of which give no indications, from their titles, of their value for educational purposes. It remains for other lists, compiled for special localities or covering special topics or courses, to go more into detail. A directory of such lists as these which are already in existence will be found on page 9.
HOW THE LIST IS CLASSIFIED.
No attempt has been made to group the entries on a closely scientific basis. Instead, the basis of classification is that of the school course. In elementary and secondary schools—especially in those of the rural regions, for which this bulletin is more specifically intended-geography includes not only physical, commercial, and political geography, but also such subjects as anthropology, meteorology, and geology, in so far as these subjects are dealt with at all. Hence, in this list all these classes of works are placed under the general heading of geography.
Again, nature study in the type and grades of schools considered generally means also zoology, entomology, and botany as well; and entries treating of these sciences in their non-economic relations are entered accordingly. The only notable exception to this rule is that entomological publications on household pests are put under hygiene. Of course, when any publication treats of a given plant or animal with a view to teaching how it may be raised or profitably exploited, such a publication is listed in its proper class under agriculture or other suitable heading.
This method of classification has led to some overlapping, but to little or no more—so it is thought—than is encountered in the school curriculum itself.
ORDER OF ENTRY NOTATIONS.
Nearly every entry observes the following order: Author, title of work, date of publication, number of pages, Government branch which issues it, serial number of the publication, if any; and price. Unless otherwise specified every publication listed is an octavo, paper-bound, and is issued at Washington, D. C., from the press of the Government Printing Office.
This is an "author catalogue;" that is to say, the entries are grouped under each heading alphabetically by authors. However, when much space may be saved by using a subject heading, such heading is introduced in its proper alphabetical position.
Special mention should be made of the annual reports of the Smithsonian Institution. Working in pursuance of the terms of its charter, under which it was established "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among mankind,” this foundation prints a “Report” every year containing a number of articles on miscellaneous scientific subjects. The report as a whole can be listed under no one subject; nor is it practicable to list separate papers under their respective headings, for the reason that in this case the teacher would virtually be asked to pay for a book of several hundred pages in order to get an article of only some 10 or 20 pages, without knowing whether the rest of the volume contained sufficient matter of personal interest to make the investment worth while. It was equally impracticable to publish the entire list of contents of the reports, owing to the limitations of space. For these reasons, the publications of the Smithsonian Institution have been generally omitted. However, it may be added that many articles from the Smithsonian's reports have been reprinted separately. Which of these separates are now in stock can best be ascertained by addressing the chief clerk of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C. The Superintendent of Documents, the official sales agent of Government publications, has none of these separates for sale.
HOW THE PUBLICATIONS MAY BE EXAMINED BEFORE THEY ARE
Every congressional district contains one public library to which all Government publications are sent. In addition, each United States Senator has the privilege of naming another of these “depository libraries," and in every case the State libraries are ex officio depositories. Thus, there are nearly 600 libraries at which the Government documents listed here may be examined. Moreover, in the States which maintain a system of “traveling libraries,” it may be possible for the teacher to make arrangements with the State librarian whereby the publications may be forwarded to the teacher's home address for 'examination.
All or nearly all the publications issued by the Government were not intended primarily for school purposes. For this reason their greatest availability lies in using them as illustrative or supplementary aids; and so it is necessary for the teacher to exercise careful discrimination in ordering and using them.
HOW THE PUBLICATIONS MAY BE OBTAINED.
Documents and reports of the Senate and House of Representatives may be obtained from Senators and Representatives if they have not exhausted their allotments. As only a small number is allotted to each Member of Congress, it is not likely that they can supply the older publications. If Members of Congress can not supply congressional publications, they may be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents at the prices given in this list. The executive departments and bureaus do not distribute documents and reports issued by Congress. Bureau and departmental publications for which a price is given in this list should be ordered from the Superintendent of Documents, as the departmental supply is exhausted. Read carefully the statement of that officer printed on page 11, on which he gives directions for ordering and remitting. The Superintendent of Documents has nothing except his own price lists for free distribution. If no price is given the publication may be obtained free from the office issuing it as long as the supply lasts.
It is impossible to make any hard and fast distinction, permanently covering all cases, between the Government publication which is free and that for which a charge is asked. The supply of a given document allotted for free distribution may be exhausted one month and renewed the next, a charge being made in the interim for those ordered out of the reserve stock; or the free supply may never be renewed, with the result that after a given time the document which was originally free will always rank as a sale publication.
With one exception, the entire series of Farmers' Bulletins, which consist of nearly 550 popularly written monographs dealing with almost every phase of country life and city horticulture, may be obtained free as long as the supply lasts, and at 5 cents per copy afterwards. The one exception is the Farmers' Bulletin, entitled “Fifty Common Birds of Field and Orchard,” which sells for 15 cents.
In ordering any publication from this list, copy the entire entry. Special rules for ordering from the Department of Agriculture and the Superintendent of Documents are reprinted elsewhere.
CLASSIFICATION ADOPTED IN THIS CATALOGUE.
a. Animal Husbandry.
b. Poultry and Bees. 4. Farm Economics.
5. Farm Engineering. II. Domestic Science. III. Economics.
1. Physical and Political Geog
raphy. 2. Commercial Geography. a. Forestry and Forest
Products. b. Other Physical Geog
VII. Nature Study.
LISTS OF GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS.
Treasury Department.—The Division of Printing and Stationery issues irregularly a brief list of the department's publications. The Public Health Service issues a fuller list of its own documents.