Month of November, 2007
Recently, the 50-State Agency Database Registry produced an annotated list of searchable inmate locaters. Many states have databases on many given subjects, so the volunteer staff of the Database Register is interested in expanding the offerings on our subject-focused databases page.
We (the Registry volunteers) would like to do this with subjects of interest to the community. So tell us what we should do next, either by leaving comments here or by participating in a brief poll on the main page of the State Agency Database Highlights blog at http://statedatabase.blogspot.com.
For databases from the 50 states, please see the 50-State Agency Database Registry
An aspect of the job that I enjoy doing is public service. I really like the one-on-one contact that I have with my patrons. At times, you developed friendships with some of them. It has gotten to the point when they will stop by my office, the reference desk, or the gov. docs. desk to talk about what's going on in their lives or just have someone who will listen. There is this one patron whom I believe may have saved a great deal of money in pyschiatric services just because he stops by once a week to vent with me.
One of the biggest attractions of working at a library for me is the wonderful mix of research, history, and public service that is involved in the position. I am constantly learning something new everyday. Since my B.A. is in American history, I really am proud of the fact that I use my degree every day as a government documents coordinator. But, one of the aspects of the job that really makes it all worthwhile for me is the need to nurture. Being there for someone who might be in distress because they cannot find the resources they need or coming to you shyly because they need help using the online catalog. Yes, this is the part of the job I enjoy the most.
I guess, for me as a single male, that is the outlet for my nurturing tendencies. I imagine that for those of you who are married with children and grandchildren, having to nurture patrons as well might be more than you are willing to do. What I do know, though, is how appreciative they are after you have helped them. That usually makes my day and it also makes up for the times when I really don't want to be at work...its what motivates me to get up in the morning and head happily to work.
I am proud of the service the library community provides for its patrons and, for the most part, most patrons are grateful for the service you provide them. I really am very proud to serve my community as a librarian and for the opportunity to help meet their needs.
This is my last blog entry as guest blogger for FreeGovInfo. I am thankful for the opportunity to talk about life in the library.
I also would like to wish you:
I hope everyone had a nice and restful holiday. May all the turkey you ate gave you the opportunity for some nice long naps and re-energized you for this week.
Since we are all feeling restful and sharp-minded, why don't we take some time to think about how the depository system could reinvent itself. Let's throw in some ideas that will help the folks at GPO to do sme great things for us and them. When thinking of these ideas, begin by creating in your mind your ideal depository. Also, think about what could GPO do for us that would help you with your work.
Just some things off the top of my head.
Since the FDLP Desktop is still in beta, this is a good time to make suggestions that will make it ideal for our work.
- I would like to see the ability to tailor some tasks according to a depository's profile. For example, have the New Electronic Titles be tailored to your profile. I would like to login, click on the NET link and it show me all the online publications that are part of our profile. This way, we wouldn't have to print the list, then scan through each one and compare it to our profile before being able to download it onto the online catalog.
- The ability to download bib. records from the CGP.
- Would like to see the manual dealing with Inactive/Discontinued lists of item numbers improved so you can differentiate between inactive and discontinued. To me, these are two different things. Inactive implies that it may return at some point in the future while discontinued means it has ceased and there is no hope of its return. Separating the lists within the same manual would be good or creating a column for status detailing if it is inactive or discontinued would be helpful.
I do like the new look of the beta site of the FDLP Desktop. You will be able to instant message, email, and create buddy lists from within the depository community. Seems to be better organized than the old Desktop website. I like the calendar feature and the ability to order promotional items online is a great tool as well.
New Services Suggestions:
- Creating a full-text database of government publication periodicals/serials. The government offers a variety of interesting articles through its periodicals/serials and most people are missing out because most of them are not indexed by commercial publishers. The great thing about this would be that depositories would have free access to this database while non-depositories would have to pay a subscription fee. This would allow GPO to actually make money and, at the same time, provide a service that would be attractive to non-depository libraries. The database could eventually become something like JSTOR which would include articles going as far back as possible. Make sure there is a way to search for peer-reviewed articles as well.
- A GPO Gift Shop that would allow you to promote the depository better like good cotton t-shirts with the GPO logo on it and customizing it with the name of the depository and the name of the employee so it can be worn at work. Such t-shirts would also be bought by the general public just for the nifty GPO logo alone. The handbags that were recently distributed at the Fall conference for attendees is a great idea as well. I didn't attend the conference but noticed at a recent depository meeting for WA State librarians that someone had one. I admired it and one of the librarians at the meeting told me I could have theirs. Ever since then, I have been using it for work. Again, its promtoing the depository library and is quite an attention catcher....ah, remember the washable GPO tattoo that someone created for an event at their library?
- Instruction on how to maintain a collection that soon will become archival. How to do some basic repairs of tangible documents and how to preserve online documents.
New Digital Project Suggestions:
- Would like to see the Congressional Record from 1876 - 1993 digitized. Pre-1876 has been digitized by the Library of Congress via their American Memory collection and, of course, we have it available since 1994 via GPO Access.
- Find ways to provide community services at the local level. Oregon State University took a giant step at their library by providing limited day care at their library.
- Some depositories are providing services as passport centers.
What ideas do you have?
Where has the time gone? I was just looking at the list of FGI user accounts, and noticed that my account was created 3 years and 1 day ago!! In light of our 3rd anniversary, I'd like to highlight the FGI monthly archive located in the lower right column. This will add one more way of accessing FGI content besides the search, browse, categories and RSS feed. Take a few minutes, browse back through the last 3 years, and let us know if you have any favorites.
Thanks to all of our visitors (we get over 2000 hits/day!!) for continuing to come back and reading the FGI blog. We really appreciate it!
--The FGI admins (Jim Jacobs, Daniel Cornwall, James Staub, Shinjoung Yeo and James Jacobs)
While we haven't been great at generating comments, I wanted to toss out a discussion topic and see where it goes.
As I hope many of you know, the New York Times has dropped subscriber charges and the uber-capitalist Wall Street Journal will follow suit in the next few months. The NYT found they were losing more in ad revenue than gaining in subscriptions. New WSJ owner Rupert Murdoch is on record saying that ad revenue is where the money is.
What, if anything, does the death of premium subscriptions for propriety content, mean for electronic federal information that gets sold? Not just the GPO Sales program, but NTIS, PACER, so-called cooperative publications and the rest? What is their future? Do they have one? At least the NYT and WSJ had copyrighted materials they could defend. With some exceptions, federal information is public domain. Once you get it out of a paid system, you can use it how you want. It's not quite that easy since a few federal fee-based databases are licensed, but it's mostly true.
We at FGI think there is answer -- that selling federal information, aside from being an affront to the taxpayers who paid for the the first time, will not be viable. It wasn't when GPO tried it in the early 1990s and it won't be now. Eventually fee-based gov't information will need to be provided freely, like NYT and WSJ. Though without the ads. It's not inevitable, but even the market seems like it may be trending that way. What do you think?
An economic study funded by the Canadian government has concluded that heavy Peer-to-peer (P2P) users buy more music, not less as had been posited by entertainment industry organizations like the MPAA and RIAA. Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, has more background on his blog.
And why, you say, should FGI care about a Canadian study about file-sharing technology like Napster? Because this technology, a fundementally different 'Net architecture -- and one that looks and acts like a library consortium! -- is currently the architecture being used in LOCKSS and could be widely employed to much positive effect by libraries to build and share digital collections, that's why :-)
However, P2P has been under attack from entertainment industry organizations paranoid about copyright infringement. The attack has been so fierce that some states have begun looking into legislation against P2P (On September 16, 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger signed executive order S-16-04 charging the CA state CIO with the development of a statewide policy on P2P technology. See my P2P backgrounder for more). So legislation against P2P and the perpetuation of equating P2P with "piracy" has a deleterious effect on libraries and other cultural institutions trying to build systems of better digital access and preservation for the public.
- When assessing the P2P downloading population, there was "a strong positive relationship between P2P file sharing and CD purchasing. That is, among Canadians actually engaged in it, P2P file sharing increases CD purchases." The study estimates that one additional P2P download per month increases music purchasing by 0.44 CDs per year.
- When viewed in the aggreggate (ie. the entire Canadian population), there is no direct relationship between P2P file sharing and CD purchases in Canada. According to the study authors, "the analysis of the entire Canadian population does not uncover either a positive or negative relationship between the number of files downloaded from P2P networks and CDs purchased. That is, we find no direct evidence to suggest that the net effect of P2P file sharing on CD purchasing is either positive or negative for Canada as a whole."
Last year, Linda Zellmer from the University of Indiana, sent out an update to a Thanksgiving poster that details statistics for the various crops served during a Thanksgiving meal. I immediately printed it out and it is currently on a wall iin the Maps Area. The information comes from the Economic Census and it arose a great deal of curiosity from patrons. I am sure Linda will update it once the 2007 Economic Census statistics are available in a couple of years.
The Census Bureau also publishes annually statistics about Thanksgiving Day. Here's the information for 2007.
Nov. 22, 2007
In the fall of 1621, the religious separatist Pilgrims held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest, an event many regard as the nation’s first Thanksgiving. It eventually became a national holiday in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. Later, President Franklin Roosevelt clarified that Thanksgiving should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month to encourage earlier holiday shopping, never on the occasional fifth Thursday.
The preliminary estimate of turkeys raised in the United States in 2007. That’s up 4 percent from 2006. The turkeys produced in 2005 together weighed 7.2 billion pounds and were valued at $3.2 billion.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service
Weighing in With a Menu of Culinary Delights
The preliminary estimate of turkeys Minnesota expects to raise in 2007. The Gopher State is tops in turkey production. It is followed by North Carolina (39 million), Arkansas (31 million), Virginia (21.5 million), Missouri (21 million) and California (16.8 million). These six states together will probably account for about two-thirds of U.S. turkeys produced in 2007.
690 million pounds
The forecast for U.S. cranberry production in 2007, essentially unchanged from 2006 and 11 percent more than 2005. Wisconsin is expected to lead all states in the production of cranberries, with 390 million pounds, followed by Massachusetts (180 million). New Jersey, Oregon and Washington are also expected to have substantial production, ranging from 18 million to 52 million pounds.
1.6 billion pounds
The total weight of sweet potatoes — another popular Thanksgiving side dish — produced by major sweet potato producing states in 2006. North Carolina (702 million pounds) produced more sweet potatoes than any other state. It was followed by California (381 million pounds). Mississippi and Louisiana also produced large amounts: at least 200 million pounds each.
1 billion pounds
Total pumpkin production of major pumpkin-producing states in 2006. Illinois led the country by producing 492 million pounds of the vined orange gourd. Pumpkin patches in California, Ohio and Pennsylvania also provided plenty of pumpkins: Each state produced at least 100 million pounds. The value of all the pumpkins produced by major pumpkin-producing states was $101 million.
If you prefer cherry pie, you will be pleased to learn that the nation’s forecasted tart cherry production for 2007 totals 294 million pounds. Of this total, the overwhelming majority (230 million) will be produced in Michigan.
1.8 billion bushels
The total volume of wheat — the essential ingredient of bread, rolls and pie crust — produced in the United States in 2006. Kansas and North Dakota accounted for 30 percent of the nation’s wheat production.
The 2007 contracted production of snap (green) beans in major snap (green) bean-producing states. Of this total, Wisconsin led all states (310,200 tons). Many Americans consider green bean casserole a traditional Thanksgiving dish.
Source: The previous data come from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service http://www.nass.usda.gov/
The value of U.S. imports of live turkeys during the first half of 2007 — 99.5 percent from Canada. Our northern neighbor accounted for all of the cranberries the United States imported ($2.2 million). When it comes to sweet potatoes, however, the Dominican Republic was the source of 63 percent ($1.7 million) of total imports ($2.7 million). The United States ran a $4.9 million trade deficit in live turkeys during the period but had surpluses of $9.4 million in cranberries and $15.3 million in sweet potatoes.
Source: Foreign Trade Statistics http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/www
The quantity of turkeys consumed by the typical American in 2005, with a hearty helping devoured at Thanksgiving time. Per capita sweet potato consumption was 4.5 pounds.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008, Tables 205-206 http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/
An Organic Feast
Number of certified organic turkeys on the nation’s farmland, as of 2005. Most of these turkeys were in Michigan (56,729) or Pennsylvania (48,815).
Source: USDA Economic Research Service
The Turkey Industry
The value of turkeys shipped in 2002. Arkansas led the way in turkey shipments, with $581.5 million, followed by Virginia ($544.2 million) and North Carolina ($453 million). In 2002, poultry businesses whose primary product was turkey totaled 35 establishments, employing about 17,000 people.
Source: Poultry Processing: 2002 http://www.census.gov/prod/ec02/ec0231i311615.pdf
Forecast 2007 receipts to farmers from turkey sales. This exceeds the total receipts from sales of products such as rice, peanuts and tobacco.
Source: USDA Economic Research Service http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/farmincome/finfidmu.htm
The Price is Right
Cost per pound of a frozen whole turkey in December 2006.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008, Table 709 http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/
Where to Feast
Number of places in the United States named after the holiday’s traditional main course. Turkey, Texas, was the most populous in 2006, with 489 residents; followed by Turkey Creek, La. (363); and Turkey, N.C. (270). There also are nine townships around the country named Turkey, three in Kansas.
Source: Population estimates http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/010315.html, http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet
Number of places and townships in the United States that are named Cranberry or some spelling variation of the red, acidic berry (e.g., Cranbury, N.J.), a popular side dish at Thanksgiving. Cranberry township (Butler County), Pa., was the most populous of these places in 2006, with 27,509 residents. Cranberry township (Venango County), Pa., was next (6,900).
Source: Population estimates http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet
Number of places in the United States named Plymouth, as in Plymouth Rock, the landing site of the first Pilgrims. Plymouth, Minn., is the most populous, with 70,102 residents in 2006; Plymouth, Mass., had 55,516. Speaking of Plymouth Rock, there is just one township in the United States named “Pilgrim.” Located in Dade County, Mo., its population was 135.
Source: Population estimates http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/010315.html, http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet
Number of households across the nation — all potential gathering places for people to celebrate the holiday.
Source: Families and Living Arrangements: 2006 http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/families_households/009842.html
Editor’s note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; fax: 301-763-3762; or e-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
According to Wired News, the whistle-blowing site Wikileaks.org has leaked a never-before-seen military manual detailing the day-to-day operations of the U.S. military's Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The 238-page document, "Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedures," is dated March 28, 2003, and the ACLU has been trying unsuccessfully to FOIA pry it loose from the Pentagon since then.
The disclosure highlights the internet's usefulness to whistle-blowers in anonymously propagating documents the government and others would rather conceal. The Pentagon has been resisting -- since October 2003 -- a Freedom of Information Act request from the American Civil Liberties Union seeking the very same document.
The Wired article describes lots of other fun facts of the manual like schematics of the camp, detailed checklists of what "comfort items" such as extra toilet paper can be given to detainees as rewards, six pages of instructions on how to process new detainees, instructions on how to psychologically manipulate prisoners, rules for dealing with hunger strikes, and instructions on how to use military dogs to intimidate prisoners. We're attaching a copy of the document below in a more-the-merrier manner. Please download and propogate :-)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- who won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore! -- has just released their 4th assessment report on global warming entitled "Climate Change 2007." Released just in time for next month's world’s energy ministers meeting in Bali, Indonesia, to begin talks on creating a global climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. This has got to be among the most important government documents of the last decade and will hopefully move those policy makers to start addressing this dire situation NOW. Yesterday's NY Times has more on the document's release.
Some of the key findings from the Synthesis Report Summary for Policy MakerS (PDF) include:
- Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level;
- Global Green House Gas (GHG) emissions due to human activities have grown since pre-industrial times, with an increase of
70% between 1970 and 2004;
- There is high agreement and much evidence that with current climate change mitigation policies and related sustainable development practices, global GHG emissions will continue to grow over the next few decades;
- Key vulnerabilities may be associated with many climate sensitive systems including food supply, infrastructure, health, water resources, coastal systems, ecosystems, global biogeochemical cycles, ice sheets, and modes of oceanic and atmospheric circulation.
The Fourth Assessment Report (as well as all of the previous reports) are available electronically from the IPCC Web site. This report is released in four distinct sections:
- Working Group I Report (WGI): The Physical Science Basis
- Working Group II Report (WGII): Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.
- Working Group III Report (WGIII): Mitigation of Climate Change.
- The Synthesis Report (SYR): Summary for Policymakers (SPM).
Hardcopies of the full reports can be purchased from Cambridge University Press.
I'm sure you've all heard of the $100 laptop right? Shinjoung and I were lucky enough to have one to demo on our Internet Archive bookmobile trip and can vouch for their coolness! Not only is the One Laptop Per Child Project (OLPC) an admirable educational project (inspired by the likes of John Dewey and Paulo Freire) to get a laptop into the hands of every child in the 3rd world, it is a marvelous engineering feat of building a low-cost, power-efficient, responsive, durable and WiFi-enabled machine built specifically for children and using only Linux and other free and open-source software. Check out the NY Times' David Pogue and his nice little video review.
You all are in luck. From now until November 26, 2007, OLPC is offering a Give One Get One program where each person who donates $399 ($200 is tax-deductible) to buy a laptop for a 3rd world child will receive one as well. Please, please, please consider doing this. And perhaps if you get a group to do this (like we're trying to do at university that we work at), you can donate your laptops to children in your communities as well.