DLC Vision: Future Scenarios

"2021: A Depository Odyssey"

Dream up the future. What does government information look like?

Is HAL in charge of your depository library? Why, why not? Are you Dave, out in the cold? What does your service look like? Your collections? What do you do in a typical day?

For the final session of the Spring 2006 meeting of the Depository Library Council in Seattle we’d like to hear from you. What’s your “future scenario” for the Federal Depository Library Program, for government information?

Some elements to include:

  • collections - physical and electronic
  • services
  • collaboration
  • relationship with federal government - governance
  • structure of "system" (FDLP)
  • metadata - cataloging - invisible (virtual) finding aids - whatever you want to call it

Any others you can think of, or want to include.
Duncan Aldrich and Bill Sudduth have dreamed up their versions of the FDLP in 2015 or 2021. Does it look like your vision?

Please email your Future Scenarios to bselby@virginia.edu.
You can also read and comment on any Future Scenarios that have been posted.

We'll collect the future scenario's posted and discuss them at the final session of DLC, Wednesday, 10:30am, in Seattle.

So, take charge, BE HAL! Let us know what you'd like the future to be. Let us know what you think the future will be.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

3. Adding Value

Delivery of government information to a diverse user population is the core principle of the program. Easy to use access tools are necessary to optimize this, as is organizing and positioning collections and tools in such a way that users will encounter them in their general search efforts. How will librarians organize collections and deploy access tools to maximize search and retrieval, and to integrate government information into information resources generally?

  • What kinds of value-added collections will libraries create, such as integration of government documents with other publications? How will libraries share these value added resources?
  • What kinds of delivery mechanisms will libraries make available to remote users?
  • What sort of access tools will libraries develop both within and without the FDLP? Searchable full-text collections of fugitive documents? Harvested FDSys metadata linking to specialized local collections?
  • To what extent are libraries able to create instruction regarding all aspects of government information discovery and use and share that instruction with anyone and any institution that needs it?


  • Added Value History

    Libraries are often hotbeds of experimentation. If you look at the early days of the internet, Virginia (CCDB), Cornell (USC), Purdue (GPO Access), Berkeley (1990 Census), Oregon State (Economic Census), Michigan (Economic Bulletin Board), and Louisiana State (list of federal agencies) - among others - took the lead in making electronic government information more usable. Ultimately the government got the hint and followed suit (well, maybe not STAT-USA).

    There are the large retrospective conversion projects at Michigan, Stanford, Northwestern, and Wisconsin.

    You only have to look at the GODORT Handout Exchange, especially the subject guides, to see how libraries are integrating documents with non-documents. Mary Finley's (CSUN)work on social issues is a terrific example. Jerry Breeze (Columbia) has done a wonderful job of sorting out intelligence information.

    The question is not whether we can do this but how we can recognize and enhance it.

    By Blogger Gracie, at August 04, 2005 7:45 AM  

  • One way libraries add value is by including records for selected web resources in our online catalogs. If GPO is assigning web-based titles to appropriate item numbers, the web resources in the catalog should have subject coverage matching our selection profile, and should therefore be titles of interest to our local patrons. Our OPAC software allows the patrons to do a fairly precise search of a focused collection, so their results should be much more relevant than if they did a similar search on Google.

    Libraries in general, and depository libraries in particular, need to energetically lobby ILS producers to give us the ability to extract statistical reports on the usage of hot links in our OPACs. Until we can get this "circulation" data, it will be very difficult to assess local interests and to demonstrate that usage of government resources warrants continuing to purchase and load records into the OPAC.

    The link checkers in our catalogs will also help us spot broken PURLs so we can inform GPO.

    By Anonymous Lori, at August 15, 2005 11:59 AM  

  • The comments below reference the Adding Value section of the September 2005 Depository Library Council publication The Federal Government Information Environment of the 21st Century: Towards a Vision Statement and Plan of Action for Federal Depository Libraries. Discussion Paper

    I find "Adding Value" to be the strongest part of this paper. The Depository Library Council (DLC) recognizes that all government information professionals and institutions have an obligation to serve people where they are. They offer suggestions about where our users are including: popular web sites (Google, Yahoo, other search engines); FirstGov, agency web sites, etc.

    The authors of the paper also point to the promotion of the virtual reference Government Information Online project as an example of the value that we can add. No argument there.

    The authors note that Federal Depository Libraries (FDLs) would benefit from coordinating their searchable web content to reduce duplication and increase quality. Further, these benefits would be greater if FDLs cooperated to ensure interoperability "across retrieval tools, databases, and digital collections developed at different institutions."

    A final positive of this section is the discussion of fugitive documents. The work described here is interesting and I hope that a link to Walter Warnick's work can be provided by DLC.

    In my view, the main weakness of this section is an unawareness of where our users are. First, there is no mention of the 66 million, mostly older and rural Americans who do not use the Internet. Surely some of them want government information, but the world envisioned by the DLC has no room for them.

    I'm not sure that the DLC or the government information community at large is sure where our online users are either. Over 53 million Americans use Instant Messaging (IM), but nowhere in the discussion paper do I see a mention of these users. IM isn't just for teenagers anymore. Pew Internet estimates that 11 million Americans use IM at their job to increase productivity.

    On the other hand, there is significant discussion about working with Google Uncle Sam on page five of the discussion paper, but how many people use this resource outside the documents community? Despite an hour's search through the open web and proprietary databases, I couldn't come up with usage figures for Google Uncle Sam, although Google Main accounts for about 43% of all reported search engine hits. There is no link to Uncle Sam either from the Google home page, or their "more" page. There is a link to Google Uncle Sam at the bottom of the advance search page, but you have to scroll to get to it. So why spend so much effort trying to optimize a search engine that few of our general users will see?

    I think that the government information community needs to take at least a little bit of time to study where our users are so we can go to where they are and not where we think they are.

    Although I don't claim to know where all our users are, I have some additional suggestions for services and publicizing the existence of government information resources and expertise:

    - Partner with FirstGov's toll-free government information line either help staff the line or accept referrals from it. Make sure we promote this phone number to the millions who are offline.
    - Start making contact with local media outlets, local governments, and Congressional delegations and offer these links for their web sites:
    +Government Information Online
    +Local FDL e-mail/chat ref
    +Statewide/regional chat ref

    They'll thank us for taking questions off their back and making them look like good citizens.

    - Send the sites above to government associations and related publications like:
    +Government Executive

    I'm sure that you can think of others. The basic idea is that while we're studying where our users our, we can start promoting our expertise to people in government who presumably have greater recourse to government information.

    By Blogger Daniel, at September 08, 2005 6:55 PM  

  • Great ideas, Daniel. Our hope is that others can/will brainstorm such ways to expand "deploy our expertise" and "add value" to provision of government information. I think the Google UncleSam idea would definitely need to incorporate somehow raising it's profile - adding a specific link to it on our web pages, and GPO's web pages, and others. The main purpose would be to figure out a way for some search engine to search official government information - .mil, .gov, .us AND materials provided by official FDLPs. Other suggestions on how to do this are MOST welcome.

    By Blogger BarbieUVA, at September 10, 2005 2:09 PM  

  • A posting today from the Library of Congress sure provides yet another example of how libraries can add substantial value. The site the message promotes links to Congressional Hearings, floor debates, and votes for Supreme Court Justices - those that were confirmed and those that weren't. The links to PDFs of these materials lead to scanned images served from LC. Great job LC!

    This brings to mind a couple of questions that really pertain more to collections than to added value, but since I started here I'll proceed.

    First, when transcripts pertaining to John Roberts are made available on GPO Access, will there be advantages to holding the materials in one's own collection over linking to authenticated copies on GPO Access? Or of course, are there advantages to the linking scenario? And a final thought on this first question, would you think librarians would be more inclined to collect and link to these files in house or to link to the remote copies?

    Second, would the scanned image posted by LC be considered an official copy by the legal folks?

    Below find the links to the LC Web pages. Again, thanks to Emily Carr at the LC Law Library Reading Room for posting these to Govdoc-l:

    Supreme Court Nominees - Not Confirmed
    * Bork, Carswell, Haynsworth, and Thornberry

    Supreme Court Nominees - Confirmed

    By Blogger Duncan Aldrich, at September 15, 2005 11:36 AM  

  • Scott Matheson just mentioned something on GOVDOC-L that made me want to come back here and add another second. He was discussing the e-LCSH (specifically its restrictions in the name of cost recovery) and wondered aloud if CDS would object to an in-house mapping of the LCSH to the floors of the library. It just so happens that I've been working on just this sort of thing in my spare time: I'm trying to build a GIS geocoder that can index library stacks instead of streets so that a user could enter in an "address" (call #) and be shown a map to their materials. I'm nowhere near finished, but I believe that it's a fine example of what librarians can bring to Documents that GPO will not have the time or inclination to do. It's adding value, to be sure, and if I ever finish it I suspect it will stand as testament to the notion that FDLibrarians are already doing great work to make information sets more palatable, dynamic, and powerful for users. Taking away access to the raw materials of such projects – that is, records and content from GPO – would cripple many such projects. I guess I'm a little raw about the fact that I more or less just entered the field (~2 years), I'm fairly technologically-savvy, and I've been eager to work on just these kinds of projects; building machines that set functional, assistive user experiences on top of the fecund store of government information we have in our collections. If this information is no longer in our collections for us to work with, these machines have no engines.

    By Anonymous Chris Miller, at October 10, 2005 10:24 AM  

  • Here are my very rough notes from the two topical Adding Value" breakout sessions from DLC.
    Barbie Selby
    Adding Value – Statements/Questions

    Is it now, or should it be in the future, the responsibility of federal
    depository libraries to "add value" to federal government information?
    Why or why not?

    • We all do add value. Expertise of librarians is added value. Reference work with gov info. – build an expertise by answering questions. Helps in reference work when the gov info librarians KNOW the agencies and know the history of agencies. Definitely adding value.
    • Use expertise to add value to collections – web pages – more detailed than a cataloging record.
    • Design web pages for specific audience.
    • web pages – more library guides. WE are the value that’s added.
    • Web only publications – what do we do about them?
    • added value – broken links in bib records – find the info when the link is broken.
    • – reporting from a very diverse small group – web presence. Know our collections. Answer to the question – YES, but what if we can’t because we don’t have the staff to do it? How do we balance – more produced than we’re able to handle. But, now we have the whole web – people find out about info, and ask us about things we don’t know about.
    • Univ. of Az library – partner with area libraries. Creating tutorials for products that people don’t know how to use. Usability tests. Share with other libraries.
    • Enhancing Value – not “adding value” – we’re the filters. “What is the BEST” value?? But, enhancing value is being placed on libraries to DO this. Balancing Act – is there the commitment to do this?
    • using your time well – make sure you are linking to guides of others that are making – cooperative, adapt others’ guides. Make your own for for things that are used a lot
    • Create info in the area where YOU do have the expertise – Baltimore – neighborhood data – reaggregate data and push BACK to the agency – MAKE NEW info. Productoion
    • Univ. of Maryland – consortium – Urber password – pre processing for selectives

    Session 2
    • Univ of Delaware – Yes, we’ve always done that and continue to do that. Sense that we’re doing more in the electronic world than we did in the print world. If there’s stuff on the internet that you host people will find it – esp if you’ve made a mistake
    • New Mexico State Library – find fugitive docs, enhance cataloging.
    • UCLA – creating guides, and grab content from other folks to put in our guides – sharing content – “creative stealing”
    • Dennison – Do some things with Browse Topics and other types of guides to link state and federal information together
    • Harvard - Always added.
    • Univ of Mich – GPO’s responsibility to provide “plain vanilla” products – is it a depository libraries or the commercial entity to enhance value?
    • Univ of Utah - We take every other collection and add value, certainly shouldn’t treat gov info any less well than our other materials. But, gov info is different and special. Shouldn’t be “least common denominator” should be the BEST access

    How can smaller depository libraries be expected to "add value" to government information? Should they be? What roles might they play in "adding value?"

    • Fed Reserve Library – 2% depository – enhanced value products – on web. People link to it. Library community can team together. Put out a “call” for specific guides. Find the someone who has the expertise to write the guide.
    • Google will put things up “high” when other link to
    • ILL “net borrower” concept. Smaller Libraries can contribute but in different ways
    • Urban library – Stanford, Ct - lots of immigrants – Spanish documents.
    • Free Lib. Of Phily – expertise in YOUR local community – no matter HOW small your library is. Enhanced value for YOUR community. Also, referral – experts in proper referral
    • Broward Co. Library – Everyone adds some value somewhere. How do you define a small library?? Even large libraries have competing and conflicting priorities – budgets – small even if library is BIG. So, it’s more difficult for them to “enhance value” with very limited resources. If you place additional responsibilities on some of these libraries – they may say “this isn’t worth the trouble.” If you require enhancing value they folks may drop out.
    • Public library – Best thing about FDLP – advocacy – “I hate to be idealistic, or maybe I don’t hate to be idealistic.” Even without lots of resources you can push info to colleagues, local government agencies. Advocate for access to public information.

    Session 2
    • San Bernadino Law Library – YES, 24/7 consortium – smaller libraries give fewer hours, but to contribute. Local expertise – add value.
    • Contribute in unique ways. What are the values we get from participating in FDLP. In past, in print world, we got the materials. If they are only available electronically that cost savings wouldn’t be there. Individuals – share knowledge among institutions.
    • Wooster library – retrospective cataloging – contributes to everyone. Participating in digitizing project. Had to borrow documents from another library to have a more complete set to digitize.
    • Mentorship on new professionals.
    • Colgate – Mentor old documents librarians who don’t get certain sorts of questions. Public librarians can help with questions like starting a business that they get more often that small academic libraries
    • Bowling green – small libraries may be closer to their community than a larger library. Print out many documents for users. For some users they may subsidize printing costs.
    • Yale – Question the question – what’s the definition of small –
    • Question the question – Don’t write the question in. By being a depository you’re adding value – there’s no “should” there.
    • Wooster – host light archives – are most of the volunteers in large libraries – what would that mean if only larger libraries hosted the light archives.
    • cooperative arrangements geographical consortium to do things like light archives
    • Utah – small library – “should” know about the sorts of gov info that’s most pertinent to the people in their community. “To each according to their needs, from each according to their ability”
    • City college of NY – large academic library – but couldn’t commit to be a light archive . But interested in “extra light archive” – archive certain agencies.

    Should FDLs seek to partner with Internet "memory organizations" like Google, Memory Hole, Internet Archive to provide government information? Should this partnering be done through GPO or directly between the library(s) and the organization?

    • UVA – Web sites like the Internet Archive – many ways they can disseminate information – can check UVA home page across the years. UVA has guides to different collections – submit these to Internet Archive. Guides are STILL available in submitted to IA. GPO take all cataloging records for electronic and give/sell them to IA, Google, Memory Hole.
    • Cal. State Library – Partnerships with Google can take many forms. Part of mass digitization will be gov. publications. Also, WorldCat Google partnership. Purpose of partnership with Google – preservation OR access??
    • Dept. of Interior - is it access that we want? How do we make it profitable for the company? Profitable for company – give them exclusive use?? BUT??? What do we want – access or Preservation???
    • Should GPO or individual libraries do partnering with these memory organizations. Libraries could report back to memory organizations. Floppy discs online and U of Texas Cyber Cemetary – GPO registry of these sorts of projects.
    • Univ Maryland – collaborate initiatives to enhance value – map conf. – people are doing this. Registry of expertise and/or products. GPO/FDLP should have a role in such a registry. Whether a “document” or “somebody’s head”
    • Registry – who’s role is it to do this – GPO has said it would take on the registry role for digitizing.
    • UC Irvine – digital registries – should GPO be doing that? Continue to do registries. Google probably won’t do that.
    • if FLDP focus is turning away from collection building to outreach. IF the GPO consultant program isn’t going to happen THEN some other mechanism needs to be developed. Depositories are creating tutorials – central clearing house for online tutorials and guides. AND advertised HEAVILY. So everyone knows about these clearing houses. What incentives do FDLs have to remain in the program. What are we getting out of it? Used to be print publications. GPO provides password and access to propriority databases – doesn’t go far enough. Other databases that GPO has tried to get, but failed. Try harder. GPO has in its strategic plan – customized datasets to make money. Perhaps, GPO could look harder to provide these datasets to the FDLs.

    Session 2
    • Univ of the South – Beyond searching for archived materials. Are these groups going to have the same ideology as we would have about archiving etc. Are people comfortable in seeing advertisements in their online government information?
    • State Library of NC – not total agreement within groups – GPO should explore such partnerships with such entities – learning their mechanisms, their capabilities, etc. Everything is going to be gone tomorrow – constant change. Test for a couple of years – try lots of things. NO one answer for preserving this stuff yet. The more we can learn the better off we’ll be.
    • NM state Library – advertising – NPR doesn’t call it advertising, but gets close. Do we question their views just because of their “sponsor’s”
    • Used the Internet Archive a lot – working on a browse and subject search to access so you don’t know the original URL. Grace doesn’t want GPO involved – GPO may take information down because of politics. Can’t trust Internet Archive to keep material up – USS Cole stuff taken down
    • Explore with Internet Archive – learn from them
    • government information is much too important to leave in the hands of the government.
    • Google – good idea, but keep in mind to visit gov info pages lots of times so they appear high in Google.
    • what might we learn/exploit from privates - archiving, interface,
    • Element of the question that no one has addressed – if GPO the one who should do anything about retrospective digitizing process. Should they even be doing that? Is it their responsibility to do the retro stuff. Maybe they don’t have a responsibility to do the retro digitizing. What’s OUR responsibility?
    • If need for information requires going back
    • Wooster – two different types of projects – historical digitization – GPO may have some responsibility – coordinate\ing retro digital. Archiving forward – GPO take the lead. Work with Internet Archive because they have expertise in that sort of thing.
    • Bowling Green – Clinton left office, she relied on them. Left office, went away, then back up. Lucky they got saved. Relevant to be guarding against happening
    • NARA contracted with Internet Archive – webharvest.gov - have captured many older government web sites.

    What other kinds of value-added services, tools and supporting collections can we envision as part of the new FDLP? Does GPO have a role in these activities? If so, what is that role? If not, why not?

    • Mark Anderson – Down side of cooperating with Google – contracting with Google to do digitization projects – downside – all kinds of overlap – list of databases because some provide resources that the others don’t provide. Google – we’d probably have to pay for that too. IF contract with some commercial resource we might should look to providers which already deal with government information. Don’t want to pay for content we already have.
    • Linda Fredericks – “we should be stakeholders” – current climate – “protect our interest – we need to be at least a stakeholder”
    • The group with the “really good ideas” – Steven Hayes – Beginning to use IM (not chat). How can we have a virtual IM depository librarian on duty lots of the time? Log on to IM. Role for GPO – technology must be behind this – master integrator – send IM messages to X, then Y, then Z. And, turn it into a knowledge base.
    • Beta being tested Gov Info Online –
    • Amy West – Large institutions – GPO provide standards, standards for XML markup, STANDARDS. Standardization for descriptive aspect.
    • Arlene Ca – Maryland – Metadata – vision misses addressing FRBR – needs to be part of Vision document. Say something about FRBR in vision. GPO should be working on crosswalks from MARC data into other metadata schemes. We shouldn’t duplicate this crosswalk making.
    • Marianne Mason (Iowa) – Role for GODORT. Browse Topics began with GODORT Ed. Committee. Maybe make the Browse Topics available on front page of GPOAccess
    • GPO, GODORT, other players –
    • Univ AZ –– GPO – change SuDoc – integrate classification system. Abandon SuDoc classification.
    • platform information is safe on and platform it will be distributed on – Keep in Mind. Librarians have given away our expertise.
    • Great things in place that are underutilized – for a variety of different reasons. Take advantage of work, don’t reinvent what’s already there. Make better use of what we have already. “Let’s just work harder”

    Session 2
    • cataloging records in a timely fashion, training, advertising and marketing plan, wiki – we want from GPO
    • City College of NY – wants catalog up. Want what’s there now to work
    • Elevate the deep web to an accessible area – we want it and we want it now
    • want the old Monthly Catalogs fully digitized and searchable so we can finish our cooperative cataloging projects
    • Using and understanding the vast amount of data that’s now available – use raw data – how, and how to build tables, etc.
    • Colgate – old fashioned idea – NY state depositories – 12 school cooperative catalog – put together historical COMPLETE runs of documents.
    • Utah – Library roles – GPO – enhanced training – who would we contact at the Department of Interior to get more training – referral network. Take that knowledge and ability to train people in our state, etc.
    • Tulsa – Copyright Would like to do video conferences – knowing about that sort of thing would be very good.
    • things take money and time and staff – how to bring in other money – money – grants, congress, etc. Need the means to do what we want.
    • Training, training, training

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