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Happy Birthday National Park Service

Today is the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service.

Our friend Gary Price has a nice collection of 10 Digital Resources to Help Celebrate 100th Birthday of the National Park Service over at infoDocket. Thanks Gary!

NPR has a series celebrating the National Parks: national park service centennial as well as a good overview of The National Park Service Plans For The Future.

Unfortunately, Congress has cut the funding for the National Park Service by 15 percent over the past 15 years.

“Open Government.” Register to use?

The Sunlight Foundation notes that when an agency like the Department of State publishes a draft of its Open Government plan, the public should not have to provide the agency with personal information in order to read the draft and provide feedback.

Sunlight is providing a a PDF of the State Department’s open government plan so you will not have to agree to the terms of service or privacy policy to read it.

Read about what is going on here: State Department requests feedback on draft 2016 Open Government Plan

Get the Department of State plan here.

Watercolors from USDA

A fascinating niche site: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Pomological Watercolor Collection!

It “documents fruit and nut varieties developed by growers or introduced by USDA plant explorers around the turn of the 20th century. Technically accurate paintings were used to create lithographs illustrating USDA bulletins, yearbooks, and other series distributed to growers and gardeners across America.” It has 7,584 watercolor paintings, and 3,807 images just of of apples!

Hat tip to The Scout Report (August 12, 2016 Volume 22, Number 31) — which is always excellent!

Analysis of the Regional Discard Policy: What you need to know about implementation

Now that GPO is testing the implementation of implementing the Regional Discard Policy, it is time to finally get answers to the important questions that GPO has not addressed over the last two years.

Although we have asked many questions about this policy, our concerns boil down to one simple question: Will FDLP — and more importantly, the public! — lose information when Regionals discard their historic collections? To answer that question, we just need to know if GPO’s implementation of the Policy will ensure that the paper preservation copies of discarded volumes and their digital surrogates are complete and accurate.

We now know that the implementation will not prevent loss of information.


In October 2015, GPO announced that it would begin testing processes and procedures of the new Regional Discard Policy with six regional depositories in January of 2016. GPO provided little description of how the policy would be implemented beyond the policy itself, leaving many important questions unanswered.

GPO has now provided links to three draft implementation documents, a recording of an information webinar, and some other “informational resources.” This provides the FDLP community with the first indications of how GPO is interpreting its new Policy and how it intends to implement it.

There are still many unanswered questions, but we now have the first solid indications of how GPO intends to balance preservation of (and access to) the FDLP Historical Collections while discarding them.

We analyzed GPO’s earlier implementation statements in a previous post. We also asked specific questions about implementation in an open letter to GPO, and, in a separate post, we review the few answers to those questions that we can infer from this new batch of documents.

In this post we focus on the big picture and the most important things FDLP librarians need to understand about GPO’s implementation of the Policy.


Update on Questions about GPO’s Regional Discard Policy

In December of last year, sixteen librarians wrote an Open Letter to GPO regarding the Regional Discard Policy in which we asked twelve questions about the approved version of the Regional Discard Policy.

Now that GPO has released several new “informational resources” about progress of the “testing phase” (now referred to as “implementation phase one”) of the implementation process, we have some answers to some of those questions.

More than half of the open letter’s questions focused on one of the five titles originally slated for use during the testing phase, the “GAO Reports and Comptroller General Decisions” (GAO/C-G). We chose that collection because it is a relatively small and well defined collection and is easily browsed on FDsys. It provided an easy opportunity to address broad questions with specific examples.

GPO has now released a new and growing spreadsheet list of titles eligible for discard (strangely dated September 2016!) that includes four of the original five test titles, but not the GAO/C-G collection. So, several of our questions that were specific to those reports remain unanswered and, as far as we know, unaddressed by GPO. Many of the “answers” that we now have to our questions are preliminary because GPO has not addressed them directly. Rather, what we have below is what we can glean and infer from a series of policy documents and draft procedural documents released by GPO in July.

Below, we list the answers we infer from the new documents released by GPO. In a second post, we further analyze and go into the details of what we’ve learned from those documents and the reasoning behind the inferences below.



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