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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

FDLP Interactive Community Site

As we all know, the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) consists of libraries throughout the United States. While geographic separation is key to putting our Government’s information into the hands of the American people, Federal depository librarians have been at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to connecting to their colleagues.

All that is about to change! The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has developed an interactive community site that is available to Federal depository librarians.

Currently available in beta mode, I encourage the community to check out the site and provide feedback during the beta period. Located at http://community.fdlp.gov, the site offers the following features:

  • Create an online profile that includes an avatar, contact information, biography, the ability to self-identify expertise, and more. Profiles are not publicly accessible for security purposes.
  • Based on user profiles, members can search for other users. For example, you can search for all users from academic libraries in the state of Kansas who are members of ALA or all those that self-identify themselves as experts in Geography & Earth Science.
  • Create buddy lists.
  • Send private messages to users.
  • Blog about issues that are important to you and the community. Blogs can include images, links, videos, and more.
  • Comment on user blogs.
  • Create photo albums and upload images.
  • Add events to the community calendar.
  • Add links to Web resources on a variety of topics.

As part of the beta launch, users can peruse the site and provide overall feedback, but will be unable to create accounts and populate/test the interactive features listed above. Users that would like to participate in a more hands-on test can sign-up to become a beta test user. We are limiting the closed beta test to the first 30 members of the Federal depository library community that sign up. Accounts for beta testers will be created and sent on or about September 3rd. Testing will be open for two weeks.

To sign up to be a beta tester, complete this form on the FDLP Desktop. To sign up to be a beta tester and to find out more information, complete this form on the FDLP Desktop: http://www.fdlp.gov/latest/betatesters.html

More features are coming to the FDLP Desktop in the coming weeks. As part of my last blog post here at FGI, here is a taste of what is coming:

  • While blogs are great for expressing individual ideas and comments, it is not as conducive to discussion. Listservs, meanwhile, generate a lot of email in our already overwhelmed inboxes. Our next unveiling will be the FDLP Community Forum. Integrated into the FDLP Community site, thus creating a singular login, the forum will provide the community the ability to discuss a variety of issues/topics while also offering the ability to create sub-communities, search threads, bookmark threads/topics, share files, and much more!
  • Also in the works is a redesign of the FDLP Desktop. We have learned a great deal since our initial redesign and are preparing to unveil the next generation. You may notice from the list above of the features of the FDLP Community site mirror several of those on the current FDLP Desktop. The upcoming re-release of the FDLP Desktop will be for library coordinators only and will be focused on disseminating FDL Program-specific content only. Most interactive features are moving to the FDLP Community site.

Stay tuned. We have more up our sleeves as well.

Once again, thank you for the opportunity to be FGI’s guest blogger. I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will share my thoughts here from time to time in the future.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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