Home » post » 200610251030 FDLP/DLC : Plenary Council Session : Digital Distribution : Virginia Rigby’s summary

Our mission

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.

200610251030 FDLP/DLC : Plenary Council Session : Digital Distribution : Virginia Rigby’s summary

Digital Distribution to Depository Libraries: Exploring the Issues

with Ted Priebe Planning and Development @ GPO October 25, 10:30 am

(Final Plenary Council meeting)

Pick up Certificates at the desk. Council always has a secretary, Ann Miller will be the new sec. During the fall meeting, new class of 2008 caucused and the new chair elected. Thank the folks at the registration desk. Reminder: The next meeting will be west of the Mississippi, in Denver April 15th through 18th.

Don’t have the production from Judy Russell’s farewellmeeting. Electronic dissemination took off after Judy was involved. We have a gift for Judy plus tribute. (Poem read by member to Judy Russell.) Small token gift, she challenged council (standing ovation). She opened the gift and thanks us for it.

In the digital information age, distribution of FDLP publications in intangible, digital form to Federal depository libraries is an evolutionary step in transforming the 20th century model of distributing tangible publications. Over time, as information deliver technologies have advanced, GPO has offered depository libraries additional choices in format. From a strictly ink-on-paper program through the 1960’s, the FDLP has evolved to encompass microforms in the 1970’s, tangible electronic products in the early 1990’s, and to provide access to online resources such as GPO Access, beginning in 1994.

Not only have these additional choices improved the comprehensiveness of the program, the transformative characteristics of the Internet have brought an unprecedented expansion in public access to U.S. government information. Today, publishing to the Web is rapidly becoming the preferred means of disseminating information, and with nearly all government information born digital, there has been a related decrease in the number of tangible products available for distribution through the FDLP.

At present, some depository libraries download digital files from GPO Access or use GPO assigned PURLs to identify and obtain files for local storage and public access. GPO expects to continue to offer this capability for libraries (and others) to download digital files for local use, but we are also seeking information that will help us develop more specific FDsys requirements for affirmative distribution of published digital content.

GPO is exploring the topics that go with digital distribution. Today’s discussion is about what GPO needs to do.


In the digital information age, distribution of FDLP PURLs in intangible, digital form to Federal Depository libraries is an evolutionary step in transforming the 20th century model of distribution of tangible pubs.

Distribution has evolved

1960s on

Positive effects:

Improvement in comprehensiveness

Expansion to public assess

The results

Increase in information born digital

Decrease in tangible distribution products

Presently files can be downloaded for local use and storage

GPO access


GPO is seeking information for FDsys requirements

Continuous ability to download

Develop new specific requirements

General Assumptions

  1. Consistent with other formats, GPO will distribute authentic digital publications in formats intended for public access.
  2. Characteristics of digital publications vary so significantly from tangible products that new, more flexible, guidelines for managing them in depository libraries will need to be developed.
  3. Preservation of the source files, called Archival Information Packages in FDsys, will be the responsibility of GPO and its preservation partners.
  4. For a majority of content, digital distribution represents another format choice that can be selected, in addition to print, microfiche, and tangible electronic products.
  5. Libraries receiving FDLP digital publications would be responsible for providing sufficient infrastructure, including bandwidth and storage, to provide timely and effective public access.
  6. Libraries would need to ensure that they are providing access to the same version(s) of a digital publication that is/are available from GPO.

Q. Assumption #1 may not be entirely accurate. In business model, it may not be in the same format for public access that allows an academic institution to scan documents for research.

A. Copy should be specific to end user

Q. Assumption #6 says provide access to the same version. Question is, are they all planning to push out a new version every time something comes out or will there be an update to the document?

A. About the inner workings, he doesn’t know how it will work at this point. If it is definitive, how it is pushed out…doesn’t know.

Q. Follow-up question: As a policy are you planning to create a system so the library or the end user can access to locate the most current issues of documents?

A. Whether it is the one time thing or on a constant basis or catalog records. This is a good question.

A. They envision pushing the information out to the end user.

Q. Some of us want to track the different versions, Assumption #3 what do you mean by preservation partners?

A. We are designing a system with significant redundancy for Marcive and congress to support them and their access. But we also are considering how to have external non-governmental sets of information that might be done other organizations … it might be done with partnerships with other institutions or part of the content. We don’t have an answer to that but we are looking beyond the governmental redundancy.

Q. Assumption #2 need for new and more flexible guidelines. Agree with that assumption. Also need guidelines for that metadata. We will need new guidelines, the word flexible makes speaker uncomfortable because it isn’t as flexible when you get down to assumption # 5 or # 6. In the beginning flexible releases to increase flexibility and functionality.

Q. Assumption # 6 same versions of the digital, is that all the same versions? Do you need all the iterations of the document?

A. Most current version available through GPO.

Q. This would not allow superceded.

A. This needs more exploration to allow more current version from the older version. You have an older version, then you don’t have the most current version. We need to someway mark those as superseded. We don’t quite know how this will work. We know in general we have to address this but don’t know how.

This could get really complicated.

Q. Everything is lumped together. We don’t have the ability to separate and then put back together.

Q from Audience. Is there an underlying assumption that where appropriate the previous version will be kept in the system?

A. That is definitely an assumption for the permanent collection. Ann Miller says its like taping the holes in the fire hose. She wants to see all the versions. Larry won’t need all that.

Dave Morris Utah; Assumption #6. I think it would be helpful if it was the most up-to-date version. Frustrating if we point to the items and the most up-to-date version isn’t there for the end user. What about current version with the metadata.

Q. How automated this will be? Will the newer version delete the older version?

Ann Miller: in a digital deposit, the library is taking responsibility for ownership. That is what digital library is to be. We need to be careful in ingesting in our libraries or ensuring they are the authoritative source for the GPO.

Q. Dan Barkley hears his mother in the assumption #5. The balance storage if any of us plan on continuing

A. System sizing document and those types of information like bandwidth.

Q. Assumption #6 we would want an official copy if GPOs copy is hacked. In terms of selectivity, if my library wanted to store some selectivity. I don’t want to use our library for materials not relevant.

A. Yes.

Questions for Discussion:

1. Access

  1. Is the major goal of digital distribution to improve public access to fdlp publications, and if so, how is that goal facilitated by libraries providing local access to a digital copy?
  2. Should libraries receiving digital districution be expected to offer no-fee, anonymous public access to local copies of FDLP digital publications, and to minimize any restrictions such as user registration, location, etc?
  3. Should depository libraries take active steps, such as including metadata in their catalog or developing appropriate web pages, to enable users to identify and link to FDLP digital publications in their collections?

Q. I don’t think my library will provide better bandwidth for government publications. Maybe have the digital objects work better for my clients. That would improve public access. We re doing things in my library I never dreamed of 20 or 30 years ago. We are working on that.

Q. Is GPO working on just the FDLP or other [gov info] public access?

A. What our mission is, is to free and open access for the public.

The answer is yet to be determined. We have been talking about this since 1996. We started out by saying that anybody can download the information and digital distribution where they will be exclusive, but we won’t be pushing this. There might be a time when non-depository libraries can download the same content as the depositories.

Q. Should libraries receiving digital distribution be expected of offer no-fee, anonymous public access to local copies of files?


Q. Should depository libraries take active steps, such as including metadata in their catalog or developing appropriate web pages, to enable users to identify and link to FDLP digital publications in their collections?

A. YES. Hopefully not limited to catalog.

2. Infrastructure

  1. a. Who determines sufficiency for local infrastructure to provide timely and effective public access?
    1. What are the criteria?
    2. Should GPO develop guidelines as it did for workstations?

Q. Ann Miller: we need to know what will be required but I like knowing. Make the guidelines minimal to function, but let the libraries go for the more functionality for the future. If we don’t know the minimal function we end up not providing adequate access. I.e., ‘If you plan to take and manage this much stuff it will take this much work to do that.’

A. The minimal guidelines, when we look at digital deposits, we all have very different systems.

Q. Do I need a t3 line or a DSL? If I have two people downloading video files and it crashes the system….

A. standardized. Receipt but it is also a storage and transmission question. What type of a glass you pour into depends on the type of glass you go it out of.

Q. Penn. Take into account that many libraries need to take these specifications to other departments. There needs to be a gradation of the specifications and most IT people like guidelines. Do I need this certain bandwidth and line for taking in and sending out?

Q. Mark. What level of specificity will you give? Your institution may have some but the library may only be allowed a small amount.

3. Regional Responsibilities

a. What are the responsibilities of regional depositories for the digital publications GPO distributes?

  1. Should they be required to accept and maintain all digital publications that GPO distributes? NO
  2. Should regional depositories be allowed to accept digital content as an alternative to the print or microform version?

A. More complicated response. This goes back to essential titles. Should libraries be allowed to substitute? Yes, within guidelines.

This scares a lot of regionals. This might push them over the edge. We don’t have much experience in this I hope we keep enough flexibility.

Agrees with all that is being expressed, but I’ve been in conversations with regionals re: a mirror site that allows them to have access to the information they need.

A. yes we are mindful of this.

4. Metadata.

  1. Should GPO distribute bibliographic and other metadata as well as the digital publication? YES
  2. What other metadata should be routinely distributed?

What other kinds of metadata will be needed? There is a prior question and that is what are we required to do with this stuff? If we are saying that there is digital distribution over time then there is another level of metadata. If we are saying that this is what we have received and it hasn’t been altered, then other metadata is needed.

Ann: In some ways I am trying to balance what the library will be doing with the data. They need to decide the metadata structure they can use.

Probably won’t spend a lot of time. It would be part of the profile of delivery?

To what stand is GPO going to require for metadata for version control? To make things functional?

Once upon a time, the people who set the system up, to save space on the server, they threw out a lot of the metadata. What makes sense, is that everything should be accessible and we should be able to take what we need from that.

5. Selectivity

a When can a selective library/regional select only the digital version of a publication? Yes

b. Are there expections?

She can’t think of any exceptions.

6. Version issues/synchronization

a. If a library no longer selects similar publications, will it need to manage its collection to ensure that it is not providing access to a superseded version?

  1. if yes, how could this be accomplished?

Ann works with nerds and they want to know how this stuff was managed for the past 60 years. Sometimes it is appropriate to look at superseded versions. Deselection. Are users who are looking at the superseded version, are they aware they are looking at a superseded version? Yes. Like how Medicaid rules have changed over time. Example, How are legislative histories being tracked over time? If it is a current version on the server, then a pop-up would come up to download the most current version. This may not be the most current version and validate that it is the version they want.

Just double checked that if you are choosing one version or another, if a library decides not to select something.

Metadata may need to be modular to add more later on.

7. Ownership

  1. Do digital publications distributed under the aegis of the FDLP remain the property of the U.S. Government, including back up and other copies maintained on library systems?
  2. What are the implications of an agency requesting the recall of an FDLP electronic title?
  3. If an agency does not want older issues to remain available on-line, how should this be handled?

If a government copy is downloaded they own that copy. copyright issue.

What about security issues with certain documents that have been reclassified?

Much of this has been discussed widely, potential email, potential documents, look at what has been done before.

Q. Something that isn’t here is a 5 year retention rule for electronic documents.

A. He thinks NO. This is also linked to the ownership issue. Most shift and print a copy to use and then throw it away.

Ann disagrees. She thinks that we need to get to the point that the library ensures some form of commitment. I want to be sure that it isn’t going on to a server and then getting lost. There has be a commitment as the receiving library, there needs to be a way that the receiving library is upholding its end of the bargain.

I.e.,this is stuff that is available through GPO.

Judy: Assumptions are not just distributing these to people for use down the road but that there is a commitment to the system. We are at the early stages we re probably going to make the rules. Why push items that aren’t being used by the public? Recalling a document that has been published to the web has been a futile effort. We need to be talking about it. This is a commitment to service in a particular area. Whether we make the 5 year rule or not, we need to make the commitment.

The digital files if we choose not to retain, doesn’t want to create an exchange list for digital documents.

Q. Notre Dame: If the documents are recalled… sending them back to GPO? Come on! We need to meet end users needs. Yeah, we need that , but it is really stupid to send back all the bits of information back to GPO.

A. There are reasons to return the documents back to GPO. They need a way to redact out social security numbers or something else from these documents. If we are scraping them off their web site that if there is an oops. Can we be doing this in this electronic era?

Q. 5 year rule for electronic for a small depository if there is an electronic document to that item number, link to gov’t web sites. They need to go into the catalog Are we required to keep these items?

A. No one is expected to take digital deposits but have the capability to change this. 5 year rule, if it is electronic only. Unless we pull all the records into our opac, who are we going to use to find them to remove them? No library is required to download and catalog.

Q. Very interested in digital deposit as a regional so she is in a position to help. Let her know.

Meeting adjourned.

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

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.