The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
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March 2003

Special Collections & Indexes—Public Documents and Patents

The Public Documents & Patents Department at the Main Library is the largest documents depository in the Greater Cincinnati area, with over 290,000 print publications, 1 million microfiche publications, 6 million patents, 100,000 maps, and 4,000 CDs and DVDs. For more information, read this feature article about the department.

Within this comprehensive collection are several collections of note.

Serial Set

Serial Set Image

The Serial Set is a collection of House and Senate reports and documents from 1789. It includes reports from Congressional committees on pending legislation plus diverse documents published on order from Congress. Here are found accounts of the sinking of the Titanic, records of the impeachment inquiry on Richard M. Nixon, reports on the attack on Pearl Harbor, and annual reports from early government agencies. The Serial Set comprises the longest-running serial in America. When coupled with the department’s extensive collection of published Senate and House Hearings, it offers a rich source of primary documents on U.S. history.
Public Documents & Patents Department

Patent and Trademark Collection

Guitar patent image

As a Patent and Trademark Depository Library, the Public Documents & Patents Department holds a complete collection of all U.S. patents and trademarks ever issued. The collection ranges from the historic Wright brothers airplane patents to whimsical patents for dimple makers and bird diapers. Patent formats include print, microfilm and optical disk. In 2002, a back file of the entire collection was completed on DVD, making this collection even more accessible. The Library also has a deep historic collection of British patents, dating from 1640, with indexes and illustrations. Smaller collections of Canadian and European patents are also part of the department holdings.
Public Documents & Patents Department

Map Collection

The department keeps over 100,000 current maps from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The department’s largest collection is of topographic maps for all U.S. states, including older maps for the tristate area. Hydrologic, seismic/tectonic, bathymetric, mineral, satellite, and nautical maps are also included in the collection. These holdings are in addition to the map collection housed in the History & Genealogy Department.
Public Documents & Patents Department

Nautical map image