Month of April, 2009
Of all the things I have read about the Google book digitization project and its consequences, this is one of the best. Listen to the interview (Lunchtime Listen!) or read the transcript.
- Google Faces Antitrust Investigation for Agreement to Digitize Millions of Books Online, interview with Brewster Kahle, Democracy Now!, April 30, 2009.
This is relevant to government documents since so many are in the project. The way they are treated and controlled by Google and Google's contracts and licenses and agreements will have lasting impact on long-term, free, public access.
Kahle highlights two things that, for me, are very important. First, at least some of the participating libraries are relying solely on Google and its restrictions and are not even getting digital copies from Google although they could.
BREWSTER KAHLE: Let's take the out of copyright, the stuff that's really--it's public domain, meaning belongs to the public. It's lived long enough to become part of the public sphere. But there are perpetual restrictions that the libraries must perform, that if they get these digital copies back, they must put up restrictions on use, such that they cannot be accessible by the general public.
AMY GOODMAN: Who can they be accessed by?
BREWSTER KAHLE: People on campus can use them, for the out-of-copyright works, but just on campus. And otherwise, they have to put up restrictions. And what's turning out is a lot of these libraries aren't even bothering to get copies back, because what can they use them for? I mean, in the future, people are going to want to have access to as many books as possible. And what Google is doing is pulling these together for many libraries to build a great collection. Terrific. But the bits and pieces that are going back to these libraries don't make up a great collection. And what they can do with them is very, very limited. So these libraries aren't, in many cases, even bothering to get the digital copies back.
Second, when Kahle asked if Google would share copies of digitized books with the Internet Archive, Google refused.
AMY GOODMAN: Conceivably, Google could give you the digitized copies, is that right?
BREWSTER KAHLE: Yes, Google could, but they have refused.
AMY GOODMAN: Why?
BREWSTER KAHLE: They say that they've paid for the work. They want to be the place that people go to get them. So they are going to be the proprietors of the public domain.
Although Google claims its mission is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," it would be more accurate to say its mission is to make money controlling the world's information.
You can read more about the resolution at PolicyBeta's post. The resolution would allow congressmen
to provide access to CRS Reports to the public on an official website. Rather than creating a new tool for public access, the resolution would let Members and Committees share reports with the public using the same online services that are available on Congress’ internal CRS website...the new resolution also requires that an index of CRS issue briefs and reports to be made public.
A post just now about recommendations for book scanners on code4lib reminded me of a comment from a Council member last week at Spring '09 DLC. The Council member said that his relatively small academic library might not have the technical or monetary means to gear up a large scale digitization project, but that he was more than willing to pitch in with small projects or one-off digitizations if there was, for example, a list of items of importance from which he could pick and choose.
I commented then and will repeat now that digitization doesn't necessarily mean a library has to purchase a high end digitization unit (aka the Scribe) from the Internet Archive for $15k -- although I *love* the work that the Open Content Alliance (OCA) is doing!
A small project could easily be done with off-the-shelf hardware and open source software (The Scribe's software is in fact freely available under a GPL license on SourceForge!). One such project that I'd recommend you look into is the Book Ripper project (bkrpr for short!). (Disclosure: my friend Karl Fogel is involved in bkrpr). They've even got instructions for building the camera mount. All the hardware is cheap and/or easy to build and the software is free and open source (they're experimenting now with OCRopus for character recognition processing). Check it out!
It's hard to believe it's been a week since the Spring '09 Depository Library Council meeting in Tampa. The live-blogging didn't work out as well as we'd hoped due to the wifi snafu (note to Hyatt Regency: WTF, there's FREE wifi at Motel 6's and their ilk, B&Bs etc, why would you charge a conference $150/day/person for wifi?! And why would you NOT have a T-Mobile Hotspot available for those who paid for wifi in their rooms?! ). On the plus side, I want to thank Shari Laster for uploading her notes to the live-blog interface and the several others (Altair77, reblakeley, danwho, rhonabwy, fakegodort, amyewest, vdglenn) who tweeted along with the conference. I put my notes up online for those who are interested. All notes and tweets have made their way into the live-blog interface.
This has been the first DLC in quite some time where the news and energy (at least for me!) has been more good than bad! Depository Library Council seemed more energetic (no offense intended to past Councils!) and had some very positive recommendations for GPO (see draft recommendations below). I'm most excited about the following:
- recommendation to request funding for grants to states for collaborative digitization projects
- recommendation to coordinate collaborative digitization projects
I'm not so jazzed on the recommendation to hire an outside consultant (especially a marketing consultant!), but am willing to follow along on that one and see where it leads.
I had lots of fruitful discussions with people. At one point in the Council session, someone on council asked the audience how many libraries were willing to work with GPO on digital deposit and local, distributed preservation and at least 15 hands went up right away!
People are really interested in increased access and cataloging. there's interest from quite a few depositories to reduce (some want to greatly reduce) their paper collections and only have digital. Toward that end, Chris Brown from UDenver had a great presentation on his nifty item selection tool (way to go Chris!). But there was also equally positive energy in the crowd that paper collections should not be discounted.
The thing that really warmed my heart was that the idea of digital deposit is *finally* gaining real traction. There's interest in actual digital deposit of those digital docs rather than simply having links to GPO in bibliographic records. AND, GPO officials seem genuinely interested in working on digital deposit as part of a distributed preservation plan (OMG!!! can't hardly believe that!). I'd love to hear peoples' thoughts on how digital deposit should work.
On the not-so-good side, the first session on Monday was reserved for statements from University Librarians (ULs) housing FDLP collections. From their statements, I got the feeling that documents librarians need to do a LOT more talking to our ULs. To a person, the UL perspective was that paper collections need to be digitized NOW because documents collections take up space too valuable for documents ghettos, space that they'd like to use for other (sexier?) things. I was disappointed that many of the ULs didn't stay for the other 2 days of conference because they would have seen that in fact the depository community is doing many positive things to make documents collections more useful and findable, docs librarians are working hard to reduce or save time spent on depository processes and that there are some really exciting collaborative initiatives starting to bubble up and move forward.
I'd love to hear others' reflections on DLC Spring '09. Please post in the comments sections.
DLC spring '09 Tampa NOTES WEDNESDAY
These are draft since council has not finished.
1) to meet the goals of providing no fee, permanent public access, Council recommends that GPO hire an outside consultant to deliver a range of models on how libraries can better provide govt information to the public in the 21st century for consideration by council. This consultant report will reconsider the operations of the FDLP in the context of the electronic age and possible future teechnologies. This reconsideration will address how best to maintain and utilize tangible legacy collections and US govt digital assets to best meet the information needs of the American public.
Rationale: based on feedback from the community, council feels it is crucial to have a neutral outside party develop possible new scenarios for the 21st century FDLP.
(Bernadine Abbott Hoduski suggests that GPO request JCP to get GAO to look into this rather than an outside consultant.)
2) Council further recommends that GPO request funding for grants to states ("states" to be wordsmithed) for collaborative digitization projects.
Rationale: as information users rely more and more heavily on electronic resources, it is crucial that the legacy got documents collection be digitized.
3) council further recommends that GPO create a list of libraries willing to participate in collaborative digitization projects and take the lead in coordinating these projects.
Rationale: GPO needs to take a more active role in coordination of the digitization of legacy collection. Council further feels that commercial sector digitization projects with access restrictions do not diminish GPO and FDLP responsibility to provide no fee, permanent public access to digital versions of govt publications.
4) Council further recommends that GPO report at fall 2009 meeting on efforts to simplify the discard process.
Rationale: depository discard process is extremely time consuming and burdensome for both selectives and regionals. As pressures grow both in large and small selectives to reduce collection size, the process needs to be speedier and less staff intensive.
There will be other recommendations (currently drafting) regarding item selection, quality control, dark archives, and weeding material.
I don't see a post yet about the latest comment instrument on Recovery.gov -- the "Recovery Dialogue: Information Technology Solutions" site here . The premise is --- What ideas, tools, and approaches can make Recovery.gov a place where the public can monitor the expenditure and use of recovery funds? Also with this entertaining u-tube intro
This seems like a thread that documents librarians can really sink our teeth into. See the latest post by scholar Katy Borner from IU on semantic web enhancements
"Recovery.gov should adopt semantic web technologies as key enablers for promoting an agile, transparent data ecosystem in which federal agencies and other recipients of stimulus monies can share spending and performance data in a way that is truly transparent, readily available, and useful to anyone who wants to view, consume, or analyze the information. "
Come on - help them out this week!
This web site, TweetCongress, makes it easy to find your U.S. Senators and Representative, see if they tweet, and follow them and tweet them.
We believe transparent government is better government. Twitter enables real conversation between lawmakers and voters, in real time. Find your representatives in Congress, follow them and give them a tweet full!
Thanks to Sunlight Labs!
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) now has three accounts on Twitter:
According to The UK Telegraph, "The three feeds focus on investor education, general news, and job opportunities" and "SEC_Investor_Ed is little more than a rolling feed from its own newssite which details the enforcement actions."
There seems to be a lot of overlap between "Investor Ed" and "News" in the few items I have scanned. Perhaps time will make it more apparent the differences between the feeds.
One of the things I think documents librarians can do to market their resources is to try and match current events to their collections.
A case in point is the current outbreak of swine influenza. Did you know that there was an outbreak in the 1970s that threatened to explode into a pandemic? Emergency supplementals were made and vaccines were rushed out into the field -- possibly too early, according to some reports.
United States. (1976). Emergency supplemental appropriation bill, 1976: Hearing before a subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, Ninety-fourth Congress, second session ... swine influenza immunization program. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
United States. (1976). Emergency supplemental appropriation bill, 1976 Swine influenza immunization program : hearings before a subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, Ninety-fourth Congress, second session, Subcommittee on the Departments of Labor and Health, Education, and Welfare. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
United States. (1976). National swine flu immunization program of 1976: Report to accompany S. 3735. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
United States. (1984). Patty Jean Tipton and her husband, Ronald Tipton: Report (to accompany S. 1488). Washington, D.C.?: U.S. G.P.O.
United States. (1976). Preventive health services and employment programs emergency supplemental appropriations Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Swine Influenza Immunization Program, Department of Labor, Community Services Administration, Public Employment and Summer Youth Programs : hearing before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, United States Senate, Ninety-fourth Congress, second session, on H.J. Res. 890. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
United States. (1976). Proposed national swine flu vaccination program: Hearing before the Subcommittee on Health and the Environment of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, Ninety-fourth Congress, second session ... March 31, 1976. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
United States. (1976). Public Law 94-380: 94th Congress, S. 3735, August 12, 1976 : an act to amend the Public Health Service act to authorize the establishment and implementation of an emergency national swine flu immunization program and to provide an exclusive remedy for personal injury or death arising out of the manufacture, distribution, or administration of the swine flu vaccine under such program. Washington: For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
United States. (1977). Review and evaluation of the swine flu immunization program Hearing before the Subcommittee on Health and the Environment of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, Ninety-fifth Congress, first session ... September 16, 1977. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
United States. (1978). Review and evaluation of the swine flu immunization program: Hearing before the Subcommittee on Health and the Environment of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, Ninety-fifth Congress, first session ... September 16, 1977. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
United States. (1976). Supplemental appropriation for production of swine influenza vaccine: Communication from the President of the United States ... March 29, 1976. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
United States. (1976). Supplemental appropriation for production of swine influenza vaccine: Message from the President of the United States ... March 29, 1976. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
United States. (1977). Suspension of the swine flu immunization program, 1976: Hearing before the Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Labor and Public Health Welfare, United States Senate, Ninety-fourth Congress, second session ... December 17, 1976. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
United States. (1977). Suspension of the swine flu immunization program, 1976: Hearing before the Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, United States Senate, Ninety-fourth Congress, second session ... December 17, 1976. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
United States. (1976). Swine flu immunization program, 1976 Hearing before the Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, United States Senate, Ninety-fourth Congress, second session ... April 1 and August 5, 1976. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
United States. (1976). Swine flu immunization program: Supplemental hearings before the Subcommittee on Health and the Environment...Ninety-fourth Congress, second session...June 28, July 20, 23, and September 13, 1976. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
United States. (1976). Swine flu immunization program: Supplemental hearings before the Subcommittee on Health and the Environment of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, Ninety-fourth Congress, second session. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
United States. (1977). The swine flu program: An unprecedented venture in preventive medicine, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare : report to the Congress. Washington: U.S. General Accounting Office].
United States. (1976). Swine flu vaccine. FDA consumer memo. Rockville, Md: U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
For a hyperlinked version of this list, please see http://www.worldcat.org/profiles/dcornwall/lists/697063/.
As far as I could tell, none of these items are currently available on the internet. So now we've not only highlighted stuff in depositories by creating and posting this list, we've made some basic metadata accessible to the web for researchers who may never visit a catalog or worldcat.org.
Finally, I'd like to point out that this list was easily compiled because we have structured databases with controlled vocabulary and the ability to easily limit by date. Try searching "swine flu 1970s hearings" on Google and see if you get authoritative results. Cataloging matters!
NPR.org has a brief article and audiocast entitled "21st Century Crowbars Help Pry Open Government" by Andrea Seabrook. It is the second of a two-part series, of which the first part is entitled "Follow the Money: Web Site Tracks Stimulus Dollars".
Both stories highlight several "watchdog" websites such as OpenCongress.org, OpenSecrets.org, Filibusted.us, and Legistalker.org. Filibusted.us recently won the "Apps for America" contest hosted by the Sunlight Foundation.
Clay Johnson, described by NPR as a 21st century government watchdog, of Sunlight Labs states:
We live in a society now where if it's not on the Internet, it doesn't exist. The more transparent we make government, the more people can participate in it. And when people participate in it, they're no longer apathetic about it. So transparency kills apathy.
This week's Guide of the Week from the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange Wiki will be useful in stimulating critical thinking about public policy:
Public Policy Matrix (Grace York, University of Michigan, 1999) CC Last updated 5/12/2008 - Noncommercial copying and adaptation of this guide is permitted if the original author is cited as stipulated under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License
This guide is structured differently than many of the librarian produced guides we have highlighted before. Instead of the usual list of resources with or without annotations, we have a guide that this broken down by types of questions:
WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? | WHAT'S THE SOLUTION?
Legislative Process | Influences on Legislators
EXECUTIVE BRANCH SOLUTION
Executive Branch Options | Influences on Executive Branch
MONITORING THE RESULT
For each question or type of solution, subsets of the session are offered along with resources that might answer that question. For example, for "Who is influencing Congress?" We have:
- Journal and Newspaper articles
- Political Parties
- Committee Chairmen
- Congressional Hearings for Lobby Group and Executive Branch Testimony
- Executive Branch
- Interest Groups
- Campaign Finances
Along with resources that help people document these influences. At the end of the guide is an alphabetical listing of resources and an annotated list of related University of Michigan guides.
All in all, it looks like a good citizen resource despite its understandable reliance on some propriety resources. The questions and pointers are great in their own right and many free resources are included. If you have someone trying to wrap their brain around a policy problem, Grace's guide would get them asking good questions. Good questions are the first step to good answers.
Next Saturday (May 2nd) is my 17th wedding anniversary, so there will be no "Guide of the Week" next week! So you'll want to take part of your morning next Saturday to explore the Handout Exchange on your own.