‘Round the Table • wikis.ala.org/godort

GODORT Annual Conference Highlights

GODORT Steering I

Mike Smith, GODORT treasurer reported that GODORT’s balance at the end of the fiscal year was up slightly, and had gone down slightly in the intervening months. With DttP going online we expect to see significant savings. In the coming year we expect to realize income from Proquest for the Serial Set book.

Bill Sudduth, GODORT councilor, reported on resolutions and issues before Council and stated that he would speak to Alan Inouye about including a GODORT member on the OITP Advisory Council.

Shari Laster, chair of the Ad-Hoc Committee on GODORT Virtual Meetings, reported:

Their proposed initial approach includes a list of suggestions that Steering could discuss and choose from to move forward to support virtual meetings:

  1. Appoint a temporary liaison from Steering to the Bylaws and Organization Committee in order to collaboratively develop a PPM chapter that lays out requirements for virtual meetings. These expectations may include: types and purposes of virtual meetings, a clear process for adhering to ALA’s Open Meeting Policy, specifications for quorums and voting in the virtual environment, and roles and responsibilities within GODORT that support virtual meetings. The PPM chapter will remain the responsibility of Steering to review and update.
  2. Pursue negotiations for a one-year subscription to Adobe Connect that will allow any member of Steering to initiate and host a virtual meeting. Depending on usage and participation, this subscription could be an ongoing expense for GODORT. Steering should also arrange for an initial orientation session for its members to understand the functionality and options available in the platform.
  3. Create or assign a continuing or indefinite appointment within Steering for a virtual meetings coordinator. Whether the responsibility is assigned to an existing role (such as the webmaster or the immediate past chair) or a new role, identifying a specific person who can assist Steering members in using virtual meetings technologies, create and maintain a list of existing best practices resources, and educate new users in using the platform to which GODORT provides access, will smooth the transition to a more virtual participation environment.
  4. Clearly communicate to all appointees for all GODORT committees and roles that virtual participation is a requirement for committee participation. All GODORT members who accept an appointment, whether virtual or traditional, are expected to monitor and respond to email messages, make an effort to attend virtual meetings scheduled between conferences, and participate in committee activities throughout the year.
  5. Strongly encourage ALA to improve conference infrastructure by providing free, fast, and reliable Internet access at all meeting venues.

(The full report can be found on ALA Connect at http://connect.ala.org/node/248244.)

It was asked if GODORT could use ALA’s Adobe Connect subscription. GODORT could, but ALA policy is that it can only be used while an ALA staff member is present and it is difficult to schedule Roz to attend our meetings. It was agreed that this is another reason that we need more ALA staff-support time. (Steering may move this forward as a request.)

Stephanie Braunstein, chair of the GODORT Ad-Hoc Committee on Reorganization, reported:

The committee report is organized around three “scenarios” designed to illustrate possible structures. None of them is to be considered “all or nothing.” It is expected the GODORT Steering or GODORT Membership will select elements from any or all of the scenarios and combine those elements to make a workable whole. They recommended that, once a structure has been developed, another group be appointed to work out an implementation plan. These are the three scenarios:

Scenario 1 (Simple Streamline) would involve a merger of committees, reducing the number to seven (including the Executive Committee). The suggested number of committee members per committee can be viewed on the rubric. The three current Task Forces would become Discussion Groups. Each Discussion Group would have a coordinator, a coordinator-elect, and a secretary. The term “Task Force” would be reserved for sub-units working on specific projects for specific amounts of time.

Scenario 2 (Divide and Discuss) would involve a merger of committees, reducing the number to five (including the Executive Committee). The three current Task Forces would become Interest Groups. Each Interest Group would have a coordinator, a coordinator-elect, and a secretary. The term “Task Force” would be reserved for sub-units working on specific projects for specific amounts of time. Joining the “Interest Group” designation would be the following units that are currently committees: Cataloging, Education, Govdocs for Kids, REGP—bringing the total number of Interest Groups to seven.

Scenario 3 (Rename and Reframe) would involve a merger of committees, reducing the number to six (including the Executive Committee). A newly conceived “User Services” committee would be formed, made up of Interest Group leaders (seven).

All scenarios would include eliminating internal liaisons. Instead, monthly conference calls would be held among Committee Chairs/Interest Group Coordinators/Executive Board Members.

All scenarios would include the following conference meetings schedule: Friday, Executive Board/Steering; Saturday, Committees and Interest Groups; Sunday, Membership, a program or panel discussions; Monday, Executive Board/Steering.

All scenarios would include the addition of three at-large members to Executive Committee, to be elected one each year for a three-year term. Steering would then consist of the following:

  • Executive Committee Members
  • Chair
  • Chair-Elect
  • Past-Chair
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Councilor
  • Three at-large elected members

(The committee’s full report and the rubric that outlines the elements considered can be found on ALA Connect at http://connect.ala.org/node/248106.)

The report and the rubric where disseminated to be discussed at meetings during conference. All the groups who reported back voted for Scenario 2 in principle. Some chairs made a point of stating that this did not mean that they wanted all the elements from Scenario 2—they wanted some elements from the other scenarios. As an overarching scenario/philosophy/structure they voted for Scenario 2.

General Membership Meeting

The reports from the task forces and committees covered the points they have listed in their summaries in this article. Most Coordinators/Chairs stated that they will continue the discussion of the goals of their task forces and committees virtually between conferences. If you are interested in being part of the discussion for a specific committee or task force, please contact the Coordinator or Chair.

John Shuler, Chair the Legislation Committee, stated that Legislation will work with other groups to come up with a cohesive GPO funding statement, look at some issues related to open access legislation, and look at the GPO national plan. Will work to reformulate the conversation on advocacy, ALA wide.

Sarah Erekson, GODORT Program Committee Chair, mentioned that the preconference on data visualization is filling fast. Register soon if you are interested. MAGERT is looking at having a bus that would take people from the Convention Center to the campus for the program. (It is some distance away.)

Bernadine Abbot-Hoduski, chair of the Preservation Working Group, stated that they are developing a day long preconference on preservation for 2017. They are looking at a structure for preservation that would begin with inventory, then assessment, then locating funding. If you have ideas for speakers, please communicate with the group.

RDA is being updated, the update is expected to take approximately three years. It was suggested that GODORT develop a document on best practices for cataloging government documents.

Barbara Miller gave a report for the Adhoc Committee on Reorganization: Scenario 2 was the overwhelming favorite, Internal liaisons would be eliminated and Task Forces would become Interest Groups. Ms. Miller thought that Scenario 2 was favored because of a conviction that Publications was so complex that it must remain a separate committee. One suggestion that came out of the meeting was a volunteer form to discover people’s skills and interests in preparation for appointing or asking people to run for office. In general there was concern that Scenario 3 would be unmanageable because too few people would be carrying too much responsibility. People asked that terms (such as interest groups) be defined. The idea of “committee” tends to be people working on business-related things, where interest groups lend themselves to people coming together for discussions about problems they may have.

Stephen Woods, GODORT Chair, reminded members that the ongoing discussions of GODORT goals and structure has included some webinars. They can be found at:

The Fireside Chat on GODORT’s goals and structure was held on September 4, 2015. The link to the recording is https://meeting.psu.edu/p5thqhpimbf.

Subsequent Fireside Chats with Task Force Coordinators available at https://meeting.psu.edu/p49u9pbwops/Committees.

Chairs can be found here: https://meeting.psu.edu/p98hs4byo90.

David Utz and Stephen Woods conducted an open meeting on GODORT Reorganization: Bylaws, PPM, and GODORT Steering Committee on December 3, 2015. The recording can be found at: https://meeting.psu.edu/p1cx17ddtq0.

The information gathering stage is coming to an end. We’re going to begin moving to the implementation stage.

GODORT Steering II

Bill Sudduth, GODORT councilor, reported that:

Council passed the resolution against Islamophobia.

Council will appoint a taskforce to help ALA deal with issues related to accessibility at conferences.

Council will discuss a proposal to ask the Library of Congress to change the LC Subject Heading “Illegal Aliens” to “Undocumented Immigrants.”

COL will bring forward a resolution honoring retiring Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

Midwinter registration was 10,736—172 more than last year in Chicago.

Action Items:

Awards Committee: Steering approved the Awards Committee’s recommendations for Awards.

Membership: moved that up to $300 be allocated to purchase GODORT-branded promotional items for the Annual Conference in 2016. The motion passed.

Nominating Committee: Steering approved the slate of nominees brought forward by GODORT Nominating.

Program reported that the proposals for 2017 were Government Information adds Objectivity and Authority to Research and a pre-conference and follow up conference session on preservation.

Stephen Woods, GODORT Chair, began a discussion of Missions, Vision, Values, and Goals. There was some discussion of process and time line.

Summary of Legislation Committee Actions at ALA Midwinter 2016, Boston

The Legislation committee met two times in Boston, both times with the ALA’s Committee on Legislation’s Government Information Subcommittee, and discussed future goals and projects for the coming year. Out of these discussions, the following framework was proposed to guide our mutual interests. The framework was accepted, in principle, by the ALA Committee on Legislation, and introduced at the GODORT membership meeting.

Government Information Next Initiative (GINI): A Framework in Four Phases

Purpose: To facilitate existing and future long-term collaborative efforts in advocacy, education, and practice among the American Library Association’s various communities that share a common purpose to ensure the sustainability of library-based expertise that directly supports active community civic engagement and government information resources/services at all levels of government. Particular emphasis will be placed on the impacts and changes unleashed by the rapid evolution of e-governance and digital public information resources over the last fifteen years.

Phase 1 (January–July 2016): Identify relevant ALA policy statements, advocacy efforts, expertise resources, and best practices that prepare libraries, librarians, and their communities to take advantage of government information resources at all levels of governance.

Phase 2 (August 2016–January 2017): Identify comparable efforts and resources within library associations at the national, state, and regional levels that can work with relevant groups in ALA through GINI.

Phase 3 (February 2017–August 2017): Building on the connections and levels of expertise outlined during the Initiative’s first two phases, propose at least three specific projects/efforts from interested ALA groups, along with possible working partners from state/regional/national associations that emphasize the library’s critical role in facilitating civic engagement, government information accessibility and preservation, as well as build on existing systems of advocacy within the associations that encourage a robust national ecosystem of library services and collections that deliberately engage the basic civic rights/mechanisms to government information and access. Announce the three projects at the 2017 Annual Conference.

Phase 4 (September 2017–August 2018): Implement the three projects and present initial results at the 2018 Annual Conference.

GODORT Federal Documents Task Force (FDTF)

Minutes from FDTF at the 2015 ALA Annual Conference will be sent via email to attendees for changes and approval.

Catherine Johnson of ProQuest requested volunteers to provide input for a ProQuest Supreme Court Database Product.

GPO personnel provided an update on their systems, cataloging, Regional weeding pilot project, and work to get FDSys approved as a Trustworthy Digital Repository.

GODORT members who would like to participate in the virtual FDTF conversation between meetings should contact Justin Otto at justin.otto@mail.ewu.edu.

This document, created by an FDTF Working Group was approved by COL, January 8, 2016:

Getting Government Information to Your Constituents: The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP)

Providing no-fee public access to federal government information, to:

  • Entrepreneurs, to identify opportunities and learn best practices
  • Voters, to understand and then act on proposed legislation
  • Veterans, to connect them to needed services
  • Students, as they become our next generation of leaders
  • Historians, to understand our past
  • Researchers, to build on federally funded research
  • Local policy makers, to craft policies that move us forward

Congress established the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) as one way to meet their obligation to inform constituents, giving the Government Publishing Office (GPO) the responsibility of managing the program and the Joint Committee on Printing the oversight of the program. Members designate libraries in their congressional districts as depositories. These libraries appoint a librarian, experienced with government resources, to assist the public. This partnership between Congress, libraries, and the GPO results in professional research assistance for local constituents.

GPO works with agencies to produce their publications and distributes them to depository libraries, ensuring public access. Additionally, regional libraries within the FDLP are responsible for providing permanent access to these collections. A unique benefit to this program is the librarian’s knowledge of the collection and research assistance delivered to constituents in a Member’s Congressional District.

While the Internet offers broad access to a range of information, FDLP libraries are uniquely positioned to help researchers locate accurate federal information. While federal agencies post some publications on their websites, there is no guarantee that access to those materials is permanent. The partnership of the GPO in creating metadata and preserving electronic publications and FDLP librarians in providing direct service is essential to ensure reliable public access.

Two examples from depository librarians are:

Bill Olbrich at the St. Louis Public Library was able to help concerned citizens with accurate information from his depository collection.

“The police shooting of unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014, raised questions about the government’s actions. The United States Government Manual served as the starting point for understanding the Justice Department and the Civil Rights Commission. We found Justice Department statistics from Crime in the United States, 2013. The Census Bureau’s incarceration statistics drove home the obstacles faced by young black men today. More recently, citizens used the Congressional Record through GPO’s digital platform, FDsys to find the discussion of lessons learned in Ferguson.”

Depository librarian David Smith in Port Huron, Michigan, reported:

“This past May, St. Clair County Community College here in Port Huron, Michigan, had their winter commencement. The school has a large nursing program, and a couple of their recent graduates stopped in to look at the Occupational Outlook Handbook. They wanted to do some research on where to look for hospital jobs throughout the United States.”

*Members of Congress can include a link from their congressional websites to their districts’ depository library to help constituents access government information.

GODORT International Documents Task Force (IDTF)

  • The IFLA Conference will be hosted in Columbus, Ohio, this August.
  • Jim Church has posted the Government Information and Official Publication Section call for papers. The topic is Government Information Publishing Programs: Past, Present and Future.
  • Jim Church is planning a satellite session with some of the NGOs (World Bank, IMF, OECD) to discuss statistical information.
  • The task force discussed the reorganization goals. There was agreement that a discussion/interest group was appealing and that people that attend IDTF come to hear vendor updates and issues relating and pertaining to the international community. It was agreed that if IDTF is to move toward a discussion forum, the goals should be somewhat fluid and that action oriented items should be moved to a task force that IDTF could task with pertinent issues. There was not a strong opinion whether we should fit under the heading Information, Education, or Advocacy. Everyone noted that advocacy is a key part of IDTF and gave examples (Canadian DSP letter) where the IDTF has stepped up and written letters to various international departments, government and agencies.
  • New UN iLibrary will be released Feb.ruary 2016.

GODORT State and Local Government Documents Task Force (SLDTF)

  • The wiki will have Google Analytics in the future. Will reorganize the SLDTF site after GODORT is reorganized.
  • Rich Gause is coordinating a LibGuide for GIC that includes a state-by-state listing (http://guides.ucf.edu/gic-states).
  • Five-year goals were discussed. The discussion included concerns about sustainability, development of short informative webinars, creating a forum for discussion of state docs issues, partnerships for webinars, conferences, and discussions.

GODORT Bylaws and Organization Committee

Although a quorum of Committee members was not present, and the Committee was unable to conduct any official business, those present informally discussed significant activities of the Committee Chair since the 2015 Annual Conference, and the Committee’s (draft) Strategic Plan and Five-Year Goals.

The principal recommendation of the Committee’s (draft) Strategic Plan and Five-Year Goals is the “sunset” of Bylaws and Organization, as a GODORT Standing Committee. In discussing this plan, the GODORT chair suggested that the current (draft) plan should be amplified to describe specific alternatives to replace the Bylaws Committee. This should be expressed as a measurable expected outcome, including a “job description,” for the Committee’s “successor” within GODORT, as well as specifics concerning the functional importance of the Bylaws and the Policies and Procedures Manual.

In the context of this discussion, the suggestion was also made that “educational sessions” concerning the GODORT Bylaws and the Policies and Procedures Manual would be very useful for new/returning members of the Steering Committee.

GODORT Cataloging Committee

Four out of nine committee members attended. There were an additional thirteen guests.

The committee heard reports from GPO, MARCIVE, Hathi Trust/Metadata Registry for US Federal Documents, and the Federal Documents Task Force.

There was discussion, based on a report given by the FDTF liaison, concerning MARC field 583 that is being used to record the condition of a book for preservation and whether there was going be a standard practice for entering the data. There was also discussion concerning whether the government printer or publisher that is a distributor be added as a data element in field 264. Currently, this data is not considered a core element in RDA and does not need to be added. An action item was considered concerning whether GODORT should recommend as a best practice that a government printer as distributor be added as a data element to the cataloging record. The action item was tabled because not enough committee members were present to vote.

The committee is working on reviewing/revising its mission and goals for the next five years. Several goals are being considered. This work will be continued virtually. There was also discussion concerning the Toolboxes for Processing and Cataloging Federal, International, and State/Local Government Documents on the GODORT wiki and how these might be updated.

GODORT Government Information for Children Committee

  • Is prioritizing work on Spanish Language Government Documents guides.
  • National/State History Day: the program is thriving, The theme for 2016 History Day is Exploration, Encounter & Exchange. The Government Documents and National History Day Projects: Pursuing Primary Sources webinar is available at login.icohere.com/connect/d_connect_itemframer.cfm?vsDTTitle=Government+Documents+and+National+History+Day+Projects%3A+Purs&dseq=21288&dtseq=97330&emdisc=2&mkey=public1172&vbDTA=0&viNA=0&vsDTA=&PAN=2&bDTC=0&topictype=standard+default+linear&vsSH=A#.Vh01XQKRmxQ.
  • Visit www.nhd.org/webinar-supplements/ to see videos created by GODORT-GIC, Smithsonian Libraries, NARA, and others as supplementary materials for National History Day.
  • GIC may request funding for attendance at the NHD Committee from GODORT Steering.
  • GIC members contributed to outreach for 2015’s Constitution Day Poster Contest. Will work on outreach strategies for 2016 at ALA Annual.
  • GIC will edit some of the state sections on the GIC Clearinghouse, http://guides.ucf.edu/gic.
  • GIC’s position in GODORT’s structure and meeting times were discussed.

GODORT Membership Committee

  • Committee and guests spent the majority of the meeting brainstorming and discussing five-year goals for the committee, including various ideas for promotional activities and ways to improve outreach.
  • We also began planning ALA Annual Conference activities, including the GODORT 101 session, GODORT Buddy Program, and potential promotional giveaways such as magnets, bookmarks, rulers, etc.
  • Action item brought to Steering and approved: Membership Committee will use up to $300 for promotional GODORT-branded giveaways to be purchased for the upcoming Annual Conference.

GODORT Program Committee

At the Annual Conferece, GODORT will cosponsoring a preconference “Making Sense of Data through Visualization” with MAGIRT. This will be held on Thursday, June 23, 2016, at the University of Central Florida. This all-day session will be an extension of the joint program that was offered last year.

The pre-conference description is:

“Visualization is an increasingly powerful means of exploring and communicating data, especially in the areas of government documents and geospatial information. While not every specialist in these areas will have extensive training in visualization, learning basic data cleaning and visualization techniques can greatly enhance existing access to data and library services in these areas. This pre-conference program will lead participants through a series of hands-on exercises designed to help them learn both data cleaning techniques and data visualization principles. The program will include a catered lunch and time to consult with the presenters on individual projects.”

  • A shuttle to and from the off-site event will be provided.
  • Catering for lunch as well as morning and afternoon breaks will be provided.
  • Seating is limited. Right now, we have about thirty spots. We are hoping to make a few more seats available, because of expected demand.

The GODORT Annual Program, “Government Data Centers: A Look Under the Hood” will be held on Monday, June 27, 2016. Speakers will be from the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), Princeton University Library’s Data and Statistical Services, and potentially, a State Data Center.

The program description is: “Researchers across a broad spectrum of academic disciplines rely on data that is collected, processed, and disseminated by governments at all levels. For those new to supporting research with government data, the repositories providing access to these resources can be as mysterious as a sealed car engine. Join GODORT as we take a look inside government data distribution centers to see what makes them tick.”

We have cosponsors from various ALA units outside of GODORT, specifically, ACRL/LPSS (Law and Political Science Section) and ACRL/Numeric and Geospatial Services Interest Group. Other groups, such as RUSA/BRASS (Business Reference and Service Section), may also cosponsor. These groups will help us publicize the program and reach new audiences interested in government data sets.

GODORT Publications Committee

DttP will be moving to an e-only format, hosted by ALA’s Open Journal Solutions (OJS) platform, beginning with the fall 2016 issue. The decision was made for several reasons, primarily financial and access. The move to OJS will allow for greater discoverability of DttP content, and articles will be more accessible—individual articles will be made available in both PDF and HTML formats.

DttP will continue to solicit and run advertisements. A decision yet to be made involves the current content embargo—more discussion will take place on this issue, and we welcome member and subscriber feedback.

Please contact Elizabeth Psyck (psycke@gvsu.edu) and/or Valerie Glenn (vglenn@gmail.com) if you have questions, comments, etc.

The Publications Committee met virtually on January 21, 2016. The deadline for receiving nominations for the Notable Documents issue has passed, and selectors are now reviewing nominations. The Occasional Papers Editorial Board is reviewing and revising the guidelines for that series, and is also identifying additional promotion opportunities. The rest of the Committee’s discussion involved goals for the next several years.

GODORT Rare and Endangered Government Publications Committee

The Rare and Endangered Government Publications committee (REGP) held a virtual business meeting following the ALA Midwinter Meeting. Committee members and guests discussed the goals statement approved by the committee in December 2015, and programming for Annual 2016.

As part of REGP’s efforts to build relationships with other organizations, volunteers contributed reports on HathiTrust, the Society of American Archivists (SAA), the Rare Books & Manuscripts Section (RBMS) of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), the Government Documents Special Interest Section (GD-SIS) of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), and IASSIST (International Association for Social Science Information Services and Technology). The committee also plans to investigate opportunities to collaborate with the Preservation & Reformatting Section (PARS) of the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS).

REGP will continue to hold one conference call between each conferences. Open meeting notifications will be posted to ALA Connect, and members of ALA are welcome to contact the Chair to be added to the “Friends of REGP” email list.

Preservation Working Group

Developed these papers:

Government Publications Librarians—Valuable Link Between Government Information Publishers and the Public

Government Publications Librarians are an essential link between publishers of government information and the public. Librarians in all types of libraries answer help patrons access government information. When the request is complex they turn to the expert librarians in the Federal Depository Libraries for help.

Government Publications Librarians understand the structure of government, the types of information that agencies publish, the multitude of publishing formats (paper, fiche, digital) and the classification systems (Superintendent of Documents, Dewey, LC) used to retrieve government publications. They know where to find government publications republished by non-government publishers.

Government Publications Librarians help library users navigate the thousands of federal .gov domains and federal microsites available over the internet. Although there are tools to access online information available to the public, users still need experts to help them narrow search results to eliminate irrelevant information. When the direct route to government information is unavailable; for instance when government is shut down, when a site is unavailable or when older information has been removed—then librarians can find alternative sources such as the paper and microform editions housed in libraries, the cooperative digital sites compiled and hosted by libraries, and the information available through non-government publishers.

The Government Documents Round Table should take steps to publicize the value of the Government Publications Librarian in helping the public access government information in all formats by:

  1. Urging publishers who republish government publications to highlight the value of the Government Publications Librarian by featuring profiles of them in their newsletters, journals, and ads in other journals.
  2. Featuring a profile of Government Publications Librarian in each issue of DttP.
  3. Encouraging librarians to write letters to newspapers promoting preservation of both historic and born digital government publications and the value of the reference service provided by Government Publications Librarians.
  4. Encouraging librarians to write articles for their local and state library associations and their library school alumni newsletters promoting Government Publications Librarians working in their state.
  5. Encouraging Librarians to designate their donations to their alma maters for the preservation of paper and digital government publications collections.
  6. Working with ALA and GPO to create posters that promote the value of Government Publications Librarians and their collections. Posters and other information could be shared over social media, blogs, and websites
  7. Encouraging GODORT members to present programs on the preservation of government publications collections and their library experts at their state and local library association conferences and meetings.
  8. Sending an educational packet from GODORT to other units of ALA explaining the importance to all librarians of preserving government publications collections and librarians.
  9. Asking the government publications interest groups and committees of other national library associations such as the American Association of Law Libraries, Special Library Association, and the Medical Library Association to join GODORT in promoting the preservation of government publications collections and the librarians who provide access to them.

See the appendix “The Necessity of Government Information Reference Services Librarians” written by Kathy Karn-Carmichael, Kay Cassell, and Rachel Dobkin

GODORT Preservation Working Group

Historic Collections of Federal Government Publications Libraries Must be Preserved for the Use of the American People

The historic collections of federal government publications in paper and digital formats must be preserved for the current and future use of the American people. Hundreds of millions of tax dollars have gone into the printing, binding, cataloging, and provision of some two million federal government publications to depository libraries. The United States Code, Title 44, Section 1912 authorizes two libraries in each state to receive all publications in the program and requires them to “retain at least one copy of all Government publications either in printed or microfacsimile form (except those authorized to be discarded by the Superintendent of Documents); and within the region served will provide interlibrary loan, reference service, and assistance for depository libraries in the disposal of unwanted Government publications.”

The National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) in their 2013 report “Rebooting the Government Printing Office: Keeping America Informed in the Digital Age” pointed out that the Library of Congress recognizes only print and silver microforms as meeting preservation standards. They recommended a comprehensive plan for preservation of the paper/print collection that will require supplementing digital documents with full print collections, in controlled environments and in geographically dispersed locations. There is a danger of permanent loss of information if a significant number of paper/print documents are disposed of before a comprehensive preservation plan is developed. (Finding III – 3 Preservation of the Legacy (Tangible) Government Collection)

In 2015 the Government Publishing Office (GPO) established the Federal Information Preservation Network (FIPNet), to bring information professionals together to ensure access to the national collection of government information for future generations. Preservation partners include federal depository libraries, the Library of Congress, other national libraries, the National Archives and Records Administration, and other bodies interested in preservation of Government information.

GPO recognizes that without action taken to prevent “decay, neglect, obsolescence, damage, theft, and content degradation” a priceless resource will be lost to the American people. GPO will work with depository libraries and others to identify and catalog Government publications, to store and conserve paper and other tangible publications, and to harvest and host digital content.

The NAPA in their Finding III – 4 Preservation of the Digital Government Collection reported that many stakeholders—including depository libraries, LC, and NARA—have concerns about digital preservation because digital publications and data are less stable and have a shorter lifespan than print products. While printed copies of the proceedings from the First Congress are retrievable, it is unclear if some digital documents created in the last decade can be accessed due to outdated versions of software used in their creation, as well as outdated formats (including floppy disks and microfiche), and hardware incompatibility. Experts are researching and coordinating efforts to develop digital preservation guidelines, and progress is being made, but no consensus or track record currently exists for how best to ensure long-term preservation of digital content. Print or microfilm will need to be part of the solutions for the forseeable future.

The urgency of supporting libraries who wish to preserve their paper Government publications has increased since GPO issued a new policy in October of 2015 allowing the regional depository libraries to discard some of their publications after keeping them for seven years, only two years longer than the selective depository libraries if the publications are “available on GPO’s Federal Digital System in a format that meets the standards of the Superintendent of Documents as authentic with the digital signature of the Superintendent of Documents.”

The Congressional Joint Committee on Printing recognizing the concerns of many in the library and archival community directed that “A minimum of four tangible copies of the publication exist in the FDLP distributed geographically.” GPO produced a chart showing their ten printing regions with the number of depository libraries in each region. It would make more sense to require that at the minimum a paper copy should be preserved in each of those regions.

Publishers who republish government publications in microform and digital format agree with librarians that paper editions must be preserved. Readex and Dartmouth College Library showed the way when they worked together to preservethe complete paper US Congressional Serial Set while Readex used the library’s set for their digitization project.

Cataloging and inventorying the government publications in these historic collections is essential for cooperative projects among libraries and Government bodies. GPO and cataloging vendors like Marcive have electronic cataloging records for government publications back to the 1970s and GPO’s Historic Shelf list. It is anticipated that libraries would request records for particular agencies and time periods.

Possible funding sources include:

  1. Congressional appropriations for the Government Publishing Office and federal depository libraries to inventory, catalog, and preserve paper and digital Government publications;
  2. Special grants from IMLS for libraries, who are committed to preservation;
  3. Grants to libraries from tech companies that have digitized Government publications using the resources of libraries;
  4. Funding from the users of Government publications, including historians, economists, businesses, and educational institutions;
  5. Funding from foundations focused on access on to government information; and
  6. Support from advocacy organizations such as the Sunlight Foundation.

GODORT should prepare an educational packet, including statements adopted by GODORT (Libraries—the Last Best Place for Preserving Paper and Digital Government Publications, Federal Depository Library Program Sustainable Structure for the 21st Century, Digitization andnd Preservation of Historic US Government Publications, Born Digital Government Publications: The Elephant in the Library), information about the libraries in the FDLP and where they are located.

GODORT should organize a pre-conference on the preservation of paper Government publications with experts from Library of Congress, National Library of Medicine, Government Publishing Office, National Archives and Records Administration, Dartmouth College, University of North Texas, the American Institute for Conservation of Historic Works, Society of American Archivists, Internet Archive, and HathiTrust.

GODORT should ask other units of ALA to co-sponsor a preconference, for example ALA, ALCTS, Preservation and Reformatting Section, ALA Rare Books and Manuscript Collection (ACRL), ALA Committee on Legislation Government Information Sub-Committee, GODORT Rare and Endangered Government Publications, and GODORT Legislation Committee.

Report by the GODORT Preservation Working Group [Tom Adamich (Co-chair), Bernadine Abbott Hoduski (C0-chair), Sarah Erekson, Jim Noel (Marcive), alar Elken(Newsbank/Readex), Andrew Lass (ProQuest)]

GODORT Education Committee

On December 7, 2015, the GODORT Education Committee met virtually to discuss the committee charge and past and future projects. There was general agreement that the charge could be tightened up and made more active. The committee discussed whether or not it serves the public, and consensus was that although serving the public is the ultimate end of all we do, the Education Committee creates resources to enable government information specialists to better serve the public rather than interacting with users directly. The committee discussed its past projects, deciding that the GODORT Exchange and the Government Information Competencies are valuable and do not duplicate work that is currently being done elsewhere in the government information community. Goals were set to refresh and promote these resources, and the other resources on the Education Committee wiki will be archived on a “past projects” page.


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