At Best Practices Exchange 2007, I listened to Todd Welch talk about the Colorado Plateau Digital Archives at http://www.nau.edu/library/speccoll in the context of his work with OAI (Open Archives Initiative) compliant data.
I've heard about OAI, read articles about OAI and even had fellow FGI volunteers explain OAI to me but for some reason it didn't take. It kept being some technical standard that I probably know something about but made my eyes glaze over when it was mentioned.
But Todd's talk changed that. I still don't know OAI well enough to try to explain here and my notes from his session are somewhat thin. But I now have a good grasp of WHY it's important.
Designing databases and other applications to by OAI compliant allows other people to harvest data about about your project and reuse it in other applications. For example, OAIster gathers descriptive data (metadata) about collections around the world and makes them searchable in one place.
There are benefits to narrower applications than OAIster. For example, Todd said that if other states in his area ran OAI compliant databases that could both generate and import data in OAI format, all of the states could build stronger collections about the Colorado Plateau because all the bordering states would have each others records to search.
So now I get that part and hope I've communicated a little of the magic to you. It's enough that I'm now at least somewhat interested in finding a way to issue my state's depository shipping lists in an OAI compliant format, but I'm not sure where to begin. My list is generated by our SIRSI Unicorn system and then reformatted in Word for the print version and finally marked up in HTML for web access and LOCKSS harvesting. I'd need a solution that added very little work to what I'm already doing. Any ideas out there?
Susan Nevelow, author of the Library Law Blog recently wrote:
In the shameless self-promotion category, my article on FOIA and how to reclaim information disappearing from government web sites, Let the People Know the Facts: Can Government Information Removed from the Internet be Reclaimed?, 98 Law Library Journal 7 (2006), which was originally posted on this blog as a draft in June 2005, has been awarded the Law Library Journal article of the year award by the American Association of Law Libraries.
We don't think that's shameless. We're happy to recommend your work to others. Especially when it is a timely reminder to our readers that if your library depends on pointing to third party servers instead of serving locally housed electronic collections through the Internet, you could lose access in the blink of eye with NO public process.
There is another way. But you have to ask GPO and Congress for it.
Let's have a warm welcome to the newest podcast in our government podcasts directory:
District of Columbia Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency - Brief video programs for the public on crime, criminal offenders and the criminal justice system. Some episodes in Spanish.
At the recently closed Best Practices Exchange 2007, Kelly Eubank of the North Carolina State Archives presented how NC has made archived agency web pages available throught their use of the Archive-It tool.
The NC collection can be found at http://www.ah.dcr.state.nc.us/archives/webarchives/index.html.
Looking at all the collections available from the Archive-IT web sites, it seems like a number of state governments are using this tool:
- Alabama - several collections
- Arizona - several collections
- Indiana State and Local Documents by Indiana University
- Virginia - several collections by Library of Virginia
- Nebraska - County gov't sites saved by Nebraska Historical Society.
- North Carolina - several collections
- North Dakota - several collections
- Tennesee - several collections
- Utah - several collections
Let's hear it for all of the these state libraries, archives and universities trying to gather the information output of their state agencies.
FGI would warmly welcome any detailed statements from owners of the collections above, particularly about their future access plans.
According to Secrecy News, Army Documents Posted "Illegally," Army Says - "A U.S. Army official told the Federation of American Scientists that Army documents on the FAS web site had been published by FAS "illegally" and must be removed."
Thankfully, Steven Aftergood has stood his ground and pointed out that public Army documents, like other government documents are in the public domain and cannot be copyrighted. Thus, the Army cannot dictate where they can and cannot be hosted.
Government officials and others can review our background on copyright page, itself copied from a government document in the public domain.
Hopefully this was just a misguided low-level official and not the start of yet another high-level effort to assert centralized control of government information.
Thanks to Secrecy News for standing tall. Maybe we should all start posting PUBLIC military documents on our servers and notify the army publications directorate.
To the best of my personal knowledge, Nebraska is the third State Library Agency to set up shop in Second Life, following Kansas and South Carolina.
I did not see any reference to government information in Nebraska's announcement, but the Library is planning a rotating photo exhibit. Photo exhibits seemed to work well for Kansas and I wish this new effort well.
The big party is May 11, 3-5pm Central Time. I won't make it then because I can't install the Second Life client at work, but I will try to visit the NLC building and get back to you.
There were so many good presentations at Best Practices Exchange 2007, that is doesn't seem fair to single out any one of them as "really cool", but I can't think of another phrase for Robert Hulshof-Schmidt's Creating an Online Documents Repository on a Shoestring presentation.
Robert is on the staff of the Oregon State Library and he described how his library used a new depository law, the mixed blessing of a statewide Content Management System and some nifty programming to create a system that automatically harvests agency publications, deposits them to a library web server and creates a URL for document catalogers. It's not entirely automated. Nothing can be in the current state of affairs, but it sounds like it minimizes the need for human review of a lot of files.
Another nice feature of the Oregon system is that it automatically converts ingested documents into either HTML (if text based) or PDF (if binary based, like Word/Excel). So it looks like OSL is able to do some important potential preservation work at the point of ingestion.
Oregon's document repository can be found at http://egov.oregon.gov/OSL/GRES/REPOS/.
The Open House Project has posted a clever YouTube video about their efforts:
If you're a YouTube member, please rate or comment the video. If not, please consider linking to it in your blog or web site.
FGI participated in the Open House Project and contributed to the report.
We have updated our Spring 2007 Depository Library Council Conference page by adding notes from Washington Regional Herrick Heitman and adding GPO's iTunes conference proceedings podcast. The audio quality is excellent and I strongly suggest subscribing.
Kudos to GPO for bringing these excellent recordings to the wider community.
As James Staub noted a few days ago, GPO has posted crystal clear audio of the recently closed Spring 2007 Depository Library Council meeting on a new podcasts page.
GPO's page is a true podcast since they offer a subscription through iTunes. Thanks GPO!
Comparing their page with our podcast page, they have everything we had with the exception of the LOCKSS session. They also had several other sessions our recorder couldn't get to.
Therefore, as a gesture of goodwill, we have pulled our less than perfect audio files from our podcast feed with the exception of the LOCKSS session. We congratulate GPO on its fine and swift work in making the work of the Council available to the entire community.
Assuming this is the way and schedule that GPO plans to provide future DLC/FDLP conference content, we will cease our duplication of audio effort, though we'll still continue to post participant notes.
Keep up the great work!