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

4. Deploying Expertise

The focus here is not so much the old (pre-Internet) library-based reference model, nor even its more up-to-date email and chat reference variations, but on getting (delivering?) expertise to users where they are – in virtual space in their homes and offices. How do we go beyond the sophisticated, but library-bound vision of reference services proposed in John W. Fritch and Scott B. Mandernack's "The Emerging Reference Paradigm: A Vision of Reference Services in a Complex Information Environment" (Library Trends 50(2001): 286-305)?

  • How can we bring some of the sophisticated reference structure of the library and the expertise of government information librarians to the network itself?
  • How do we deliver reference services to those places on the web where citizens (virtually) congregate online?
  • How do we organize our operations to provide reference where it is needed?
  • What new technologies can help us expand our reach?
  • How do we identify and deploy specific kinds of expertise, such as in a particular kind of documentation or government process?
  • How can FDLs raise awareness of government information among public, school, and other types of librarians and libraries?
  • How do we train other professionals and interested groups with whom people needing government information interact? For example, local school teachers? PTAs? League of women voters? Other civic groups?
  • What has been learned from the national collaborative effort to provide references services to all customers, whether affiliated with a particular library or not?

11 Comments:

  • Reaching the User

    Okay, so here's my wild vision. I'll use Google's Uncle Sam as an example but this would apply to other search engines as well.

    1. Google should prominently list Google Uncle Sam as an option on its main page. (It is currently hidden.)

    2. A user could actually search for a government publication from an agency web site or GPO's infamous pdfs and find them on the first or second page.

    3. The user would have the option of downloading it directly. This assumes the publisher would recognize that most people can't download 100 MB and would have provided options: downloading the whole publication, downloading it in a self-extracting zipped format, or downloading it chapter-by-chapter.

    4. The user could also search by zip code to determine if there is any federal depository in the area that has a hard copy. This means GPO would still provide some hard copies.

    5. The user could then connect to his/her library and apply for the hard copy on ILL with a three-day delivery time OR apply for a Print-on-Demand (also three day delivery).

    6. The user could also search by zip code to get reference help, presumably from the library that has the paper. The tradeoff: if a library wants the paper, it will do compensatory e-mail reference.

    This "could" solve a major problem that large academic selectives are facing: they actually DO need the paper of some publications but aren't eligible to receive them.

    By Blogger Gracie, at August 03, 2005 2:58 PM  

  • Here's an idea for "deploying expertise." I had thought in terms of a link to "chat" with a government documents librarian on .gov pages, staffed 24/7, of course. How 'bout such a link on Google's Uncle Sam pages?

    By Blogger BarbieUVA, at August 04, 2005 1:05 PM  

  • Deploying Expertise

    That was more-or-less my idea, Barbie, but with a few modifications. The libraries involved in public reference via Google's Uncle Sam would get something in return for their services, like printed documents.

    We also need a realistic assessment from members of John Shuler's group about chat reference v. email reference.

    By Blogger Gracie, at August 04, 2005 1:46 PM  

  • To me deploying expertise parallels the comments Charles Seavy made in his August 2005 - American Libraries article, pp.44-46. The "new depositories" have access to electronic government information but not the expertise to utilize or mine the information. Trained government information professionals at "old depositories" need to reach out and provide training and assistance to these new nodes. Charlie's opinion is that the new depositories should seek out this expertise - my feeling is that the "old FDLP" needs to provide opportunities and reach-out. The model has already been proposed but GPO does not have the funding to hire the 6-12 consultants to get this vision up and running.

    By Blogger bill sudduth, at August 05, 2005 1:48 PM  

  • I want to second Bill Sudduth's comment that:

    "Charlie's opinion is that the new depositories should seek out this expertise - my feeling is that the "old FDLP" needs to provide opportunities and reach-out."

    If the "new nodes" don't have the expertise, how will they know to come to traditional FDLP libraries? We need to go to them. Good question is how? But to them we need to go.

    By Blogger Daniel, at August 07, 2005 3:30 PM  

  • After reading Charles Seavy's article in American Libraries I got inspired and volunteered to do a presentation at the next conference of our state library association. The title I proposed for my presentation is "Government Information 101: Online Sources That All Libraries Can Use." I intend to demonstrate Firstgov, GPO Access, American Factfinder, etc., and I'll distribute a bibliography with call numbers and URLs of several popular titles/sites. It's a start.

    Our state-level GODORT has tended in the past to plan programming that would mainly be of interest to GODORT members. I think now we need to start targeting and "training" the non-GODORT folks at these conferences.

    I had also thought about doing a "Government Web Site of the Week" kind of post on our state association listserv.

    In terms of reaching information users, if you work at a university, you may have access to the Facebook web site. This site allows students to create a profile listing their classes, their interests, etc., and to form groups based on shared interests. Each group has its own dedicated message board. When my university joined the Facebook and I overheard students excitedly telling each other about it, I joined it myself and created the "Gov-stuff 4 U" group. Two or three times each week I post amusing (I hope) messages on the board with links to government sites. Thus far my group has 11 members. Again, it's a start.

    By Blogger Lori, at August 15, 2005 12:18 PM  

  • Note: A hyperlinked version of this comment can be found at Free Government Information.

    The Deploying Expertise section of the DLC discussion paper has much to recommend it. It acknowledges that the web hasn't made our expertise obsolete and offers a number of practical ways we can reach out of the "documents ghetto."

    I like the idea of a national chat reference service, though I would encourage GPO and the depository community to explore piggybacking onto FirstGov's toll-free phone number to serve the 66 million largely older and rural Americans not using the Internet. I'd also like to encourage an IM based reference service for the over 50 million IM users in this country.

    I especially like the idea of Federal Depository Libraries (FDLs) earning printing and training credits for serving nontraditional audiences. I'm not convinced GPO is well funded enough to make this happen, but it's worth asking for.

    I only have two mild criticisms of this section. I wonder if either agency roles or library school roles belong in a final vision document. GPO, the Depository Library Council and the library community can be held accountable to what we write, but I personally don't see agencies or schools being bound by our commitments.

    One other small problem with this section is the suggestion GPO:

    "Partner with various Internet organizations to create systems like a “Google/Uncle Sam Plus” portal to market a government information link and resources in a memorable way for the general citizenry. This portal can be another “entry point” for users to attain government information and be referred to specialists or experts."

    No. Please, not another separate "one-stop government information portal!" Either build on the content in GPO Access or partner with FirstGov, which is fairly citizen-friendly. While I am a zealous believer in redundant content, I think multiple "all-in-one" portals from governments are confusing.

    In terms of training, I'd like to suggest that GPO and FDLs consider using Online Programming for All Libraries (OPAL) that many libraries, including the Library of Congress, are using for virtual training rooms and lecture halls.

    As I conclude my commentary on the DLC discussion paper, I would like to once again to thank the Depository Library Council for drafting this paper and putting on the table for comment. I believe they have succeeded in their threefold goal of:

    "1) define the current situation; 2) suggest new and reinvigorated roles for federal depository libraries; and 3) challenge others to do the same. "

    It goes without saying that the authors want more feedback and I hope many of you will give it to them -- whether on the vision blog, govdoc-l, or at next month's DLC meeting. But please do comment. The Council needs to hear from us -- whether or not we agree with the points made in their paper!

    By Blogger Daniel, at September 11, 2005 10:43 PM  

  • Would an online chat service actually generate much activity? How would you maintain quality control over who is answering the question?

    By Blogger btimmermann, at September 21, 2005 12:45 PM  

  • One thing that needs to be addressed in this section is that the Digital Divide is not just among the users but also among us depository librarians as well. As time goes on, more and more of us are going to need training, especially training that's accessible and convenient. Many of us wear several hats at our institutions and while we like to keep up with the latest technological innovations and the latest jargon, the only way we can do it is if we can quickly and easily learn from someone who has had the opportunity to go there before us. So I would like to see some emphasis on training the depository librarians first and then we in turn will have the ability to train others in our profession and the users. We may be the government information experts but acquiring more expertise in an efficient and friendly manner will ensure that we remain the experts.
    Deborah Mongeau

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 07, 2005 4:19 PM  

  • Depository Library Council
    Fall 2005 Meeting

    Deploying Expertise
    Monday, October 17th, 2005

    2 sessions: 10:30-Noon; 1:30-3

    Moderator: Chuck Eckman
    Observers: Cheryl Malone & Marian Parker
    Note taker: John Graham

    Chuck went over the ground rules. We asked six questions of the attendees. They broke into small groups for approximately 5 minutes for each session, then we had about 10 minutes of general discussion on each question.

    Discussion paper gave some examples of ways in which we could expand or display our government information expertise beyond our constituencies. Brainstorm on ways to make government information more widely available to citizens.




    His group talked about things libraries already do, such as virtual reference or websites. Other ideas: WIKI-type repository for expertise and develop a community list of experts.

    His group discussed outreach to non-FDLP librarians, as well as outside the library community, such as local businesses, Chambers of Commerce, etc. However, outreach does remove the librarian from the sponsoring institution.

    His group talked about giving talks to groups and library conferences. Working with local agencies, federal agencies, and sate data centers. Example of sending out information on new federal services, such as a Medicare.gov, to interested patrons and community groups.

    Her group stressed contacting business & community groups. However, there is a tension in doing outreach to community groups and balance regular duties.

    Her groups discussed ways to bring information to patrons who don’t use the library, example of New Mexico State Library’s outreach efforts. Training was listed as important, both from GPO and from libraries.

    Recap types of input. One of her group had a grant for an academic library to train public librarians in using government information.

    Know the libraries of all types, including non-FDLP, in your area. Challenge of getting many fellow staff to think about government information, for non-depository librarians.

    Additional comment, incorporate documents into reference classes, not just into a documents class.

    How do we leverage the quick turnaround of reference questions posted on Govdoc-l to help the general community?

    Her library has a chatroom function for librarians only at her institution. She also

    Her library refers Question Point queries to the appropriate department.

    His library helps train media specialists for using documents in K-12 applications. Also, include a documents component in any basic BI class.

    She asked if any libraries have offered classes for using government information for the public.

    She trained non-documents librarians at her library in using documents sources.

    Her library offers classes for the public on specific themes.

    Where is the expertise deployed? Inside the institution, outside, internationally? Offered via metadata, WIKI, chat reference, basic pathfinders.

    Chat reference was their main topic. We need GPO assistance with the technology and referral to get this started.

    Training other staff in your library is very important, especially non-documents staff, as well as reaching out to non-FDLP libraries in the area.

    Training is necessary for new staff. Work on a web-based tutorial for using documents sources. Better web pages for depository libraries. Outreach to local schools and other non-FDLP libraries.

    Easier access to Govdoc-l archives. RSS feeds, repackaging of data, local Census for instance,

    Training colleagues at home institution. GPO certification for librarians. Questions to agencies would be re-directed to local libraries. Expose library school students to documents throughout the curriculum.

    Local knowledge base for documents librarians, not simply posting questions on Govdoc-l.

    . Local hook or pull for expertise to make the effort sustainable.

    Supported idea that all librarians are documents librarians. Said many library schools are cutting back on documents classes.


    The draft paper talks about incentives. What incentives (carrots) would your library need, expanded POD, more paper documents, etc, to participate, for example, in a national government information chat reference service?



    Recognition from GPO is important, not simply tangible carrots.

    Her group focused on chat reference. Training and free software were big incentives. Mary Martin, Claremont College, hoped GPO could set up the chat service. Kay Collins said many of these questions rely on purchased databases. Amy Quinn said there already is such a service in Illinois.

    Incentives vary broadly by type of library. Recognition is important to her library. Her library launched the CRS reports warehouse, which brought her library prestige.

    His group talked about print materials, software, and training. Grants and assistance from GPO and IMLS.

    $500 is not enough. Relaxed or streamlined depository regulations & stipends to attend the conference.

    . Prestige was an issue, perhaps a GPO-certified librarian. More outreach requires many more incentives. Training is especially needed, especially on larger value-added projects.

    National rankings & prestige are important. Increase user satisfaction, reduce patron complaints, and maintain or increase national rankings. Another call for reducing GPO paperwork requirements.

    Examine incentives that match local mission & goals. Michelle McKnelly. What are the incentives available?

    Libraries may support his type of network, but local libraries probably don’t have time to participate. Linda Fredericks said money & staff are the incentives, but it is very unlikely GPO can provide these.

    Hard to identify which incentives to request. Server space, training, and PR are all important incentives. Having access to the knowledge base would be very significant. GPO funding for projects and staff would be ideal. Also need to retain depositories.

    Incentives vary by size & types of libraries. Many libraries are small and don’t have the resources to participate in the program to the level to be able to receive the incentive. Learning new skills & technologies is an incentive.

    Her group examined the logistics of providing this type of service. Staffing levels would be the biggest challenge.

    Publications accounts would be an incentive.

    Echoed the issues of personnel and library type. If there was a clear need for virtual chat that could be an incentive.

    echoed the danger of having libraries drop out the program. The incentive

    Incentives that only GPO can provide, such as NOAA account or authentic documents.

    Training issue was repeated. More formal levels of training were needed.

    Gap between expert user and actually have to do documents work.

    Suggested browse topics and online tutorials such as at the University of Michigan.

    Can we or how would we partner with entities such as Firstgov.gov or Google Unclesam to reach those who need government information?


    GPO get Yahoo and Google, Unclesam on Google’s homepage, have Google and Yahoo give ads for depositories, improve Firstgov.gov, no national email on Google.

    Link to national chat service from Google and boost presence of the Unclesam service on Google.

    . Michigan & Stanford could twist Google’s arm to boost documents’ visibility. Also, open URL’s to link to promotional items.

    Type in zip code to link to nearest depository. Suzanne Sears stressed Unclesam searches only .gov and .mil sites, but this misses some depositories. However, it will include .edu sites that are official partners.

    It may be difficult to get Yahoo or Google to participate as we wish. Have your site linked to as many sites as possible so Google will search your site. Google as a whole, not just Unclesam.

    We have to offer something of value before Yahoo or Google links to depository sites. Cass Hartnett asked for statistics on Unclesam or Firstgov.gov.

    Depositories could provide input to GPOAccess or agency sites to help them improve. Eliminate jargon we use, and make sites user-friendly. Also, younger users are not interested in using longer, text documents.

    Concept of local agency websites linking to the local depository library. The “grease monkey” technology customizes how web pages display on one’s computer, which gives the opportunity for provides contextual information.

    Why partner with Google or Yahoo? Government information is much larger than just the depository community. Perhaps we would share metadata or training to Yahoo or Google.

    Discussion of Google Scholar, which uncovers your holdings when patrons do Google searches. Clearinghouse of digitized a source that is already online.

    GPO could take the lead in these areas.

    . Finding ways to have government search results appear higher in Yahoo and Google Unclesam search results.

    If you type in a zip code in Yahoo or Google, you may be directed to local depository collections. But information should be widely available.

    . His group said users didn’t care where the information came from, government or not, that is what they need.

    General discussions of chat and email reference service, pros & cons of each method.

    Would you library be willing recruit or act as a liaison or mentor with non-FDLP partner libraries, educational programs, or civic groups in extending government information services? What incentives or support would institutions require to participate?


    Many libraries are already doing this function. However, this type of outreach varies by type of library. Staffing at the library is a key component of being able to do outreach. She does Census training for users in the northeast Oklahoma area, for example.

    Many academic librarians need public outreach to fill their tenure requirements. Also a national

    Doing outreach is very difficult due to staffing levels. Also cooperation among types of libraries to handle questions.

    Recognition & staff time issues are important. GPO could develop training to help.

    Some libraries are required to do this type of outreach, but staff time is difficult. Not all libraries recognize this is part of its mission. There are federal librarians in her area that will do outreach training.

    His group said their libraries have a low level of commitment to this type of activity. Coordination of efforts is key. More regional GPO outreach & instruction needed.

    Incentives vary by type of library. Some libraries don’t see this as their mission. Staffing is a key factor.

    Comments & Notes from participants
    • Expand our Expertise
    o Expertise has to coordinated so don’t dup efforts (i.e. don’t have 2 libraries create metadata for one agency pubs)
    o Ultimate goal? Why have more chat?
    o How do we market ourselves
    o With search results connect to FDL or gov docs somehow
    o “Ask a librarian” button on agency sites – route by zip code to nearby librarians
    o Include state and local government information – integrate information
    o Ask Ben – for adults
    o Need Incentives to participate past your institution?
    o Develop GPO certification for librarians in govt info
    o Yes – because moving from primary clientele
    o One currency is prestige
    o Yes – we’ll take whatever we can get, but we do lots for free
    o Yes – esp re POD (equip & paper & toner)
    o TRAINING is essential as we move from print to online – problem of achieving a high level of expertise – FDLP needs to train librarians
    o Certified GPO trainer
    o What do we want – how do we get there
    o Incentives unique to @ library POD accounts
    o Templates/finding aids/outreach
    o Travel grants to DLC meetings

    • Deploy expertise beyond our local users
    o State-wide workshops for all types of libraries
    o Give presentations at existing conferences
    o Partnering w/ state data centers
    o Websites with FAQs
    o Something re: Social Security Administration – partner with other federal agencies
    o Programs & announcements of special things that gov is doing
    o Grants for digitizing collections
    o e wikipedia-type info to create product!
    o List of experts to consult across the country
    o Create tutorials
    o “Fridays with Govt. Info” – different subject each week

    • Partner with Google, Yahoo, etc.
    o What’s wrong with FirstGov? Who runs it? It used to be better!
    o Ask for pop-up ads/side ads on Google, etc. re: FDLP & gov docs
    o Put Google Uncle Sam on 1st page
    o Docs librarians not using FirstGov
    o Get more gov docs in Google – lots of docs do come up on Google Scholar
    o Web bridge link in catalog record to related free info – (open URLs)
    o Get search engines to “tab” documents and provide links to local FDL via zip code
    o Have a link on search engines something like – “People who have asked your question found these links to be useful” with links to guides on using the information.
    o Google – be able to limit to fed or state – add .edu or .org to Google Uncle Sam
    o Get Google to identify FDLs as official govt contractors
    o Link projects to govdoc-l
    o Add metadata to sites
    o Go for Full Google, not just UncleSam
    o Get data on FirstGov & Google UncleSam to see what we’re asking to be part of.
    oPartner with agencies to improve their sites
    oJargon-free communication

    •Helpful incentives
    oStop cutting back on paper
    oNewsworthy reports in paper – 9/11, Starr, etc.
    o Free backup copies
    o Less bureaurcracy (more flexibility) – would like
    o Consistent formats for publications – don’t switch between paper and fiche
    o Full public access – issue/problem for some libraries
    o Essential titles in paper
    o PACER into FDLP
    o Access to historical bills (1789-1932) – LC can provide microfilm, we want it digitized
    o Training
    o Print on Demand
    o GPO sending us metadata
     Catalog records
     “more is better”
    o Personal (not Group) comment
     Interagency Seminar – someone said it should preceded this meeting. I think it should be run twice, once before and once after. This would enable twice as many of us to benefit from this training.
    o Continuum of perspectives regarding level of lacal collection that should continue – Where are you?
     We want to collect all that’s available in paper
     Define “collecting” for electronic – some downloaded but not all
     Collecting vs. access
     Other issues
    • Authenticity
    • Ease of use – electronic sometimes difficult

    By Blogger BarbieUVA, at October 28, 2005 8:13 AM  

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