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Internet preservation: what do we do now?

I’m at the International Internet Preservation Consortium General Assembly and Conference this week in beautiful Reykjavik, Iceland. Follow the flow of the conversation from the #IIPCga16 and #IIPCwac16 twitter hashtags.

Here are a few pieces of the week that have especially hit me as important:

  • The technologies and tools to collect, preserve and use Web archives are technically challenging, but getting better every day. The twitter stream includes MANY links to great tools and use cases for Web archives. I really appreciated British Library’s Andy Jackson’s presentation about his work “Building tools to archive the modern Web”, Brewster Kahle’s “Distributed Web” proposal, Harvard Library’s “Web archiving environmental scan”, but there’s a lot of amazing work going on in this space!
  • 30 national libraries are crawling and preserving their own domains. Government information is of great interest, and many countries have legal deposit laws that put them on sound legal footing to collect and preserve their countries’ Web content.
  • The US .gov/.mil End of term crawl 2016 is coming up quickly and we’re making plans. There will again be a link recommendation tool and perhaps other non-technical ways for the community to help.
  • Despite the great tools and very smart technologists, this group could really use input from subject/domain specialists. We’re the ones who have the specialized knowledge to know what to collect. It’s clear in my mind that the world needs MORE govt information librarians, not less! I highly recommend attending IIPC next year in Lisbon, Portugal (I’ll be there I hope!!) or in the future if the conference is in a city near you.

New Depository Library Council members named

Congratulations to Thomas Fischlschweiger, Cass Hartnett, Kirstin Krumsee, Lori Thornton, and Stanford’s own Beth Williams for being named to Depository Library Council to the Public Printer (which is now called the “GPO Director”). This group works hard to advise GPO on FDLP library issues.


WASHINGTON — Davita Vance-Cooks, Director of the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO), announces the appointment of five new members to the Depository Library Council (DLC). The DLC is composed of 15 members, each of whom serves a three year term. DLC members advise the Director on policy matters relating to the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). In addition to experience working in various types of libraries, the new DLC members have experience with and knowledge of current developments in the fields of library science and U.S. Government information. With the increasing dissemination of information in electronic formats, these new members will help position the DLC and the FDLP for the GPO’s ongoing mission of Keeping America Informed.

“For more than 50 years, the Depository Library Council has been committed to working with GPO in adapting to the latest technologies that ensure the public continues to have free public access to U.S. Government information. I am proud to welcome these outstanding leaders in their field to Council and look forward to their contributions,” said GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks.

These five new DLC members will serve from June 1, 2016 – May 31, 2019.

Thomas Fischlschweiger currently serves as a Senior Librarian and the Depository Coordinator at the Broward County Public Library in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He has worked at the library for 23 years, with an emphasis on U.S. Government information. He brings to the Council extensive experience with public libraries and has participated first-hand in the evolution from print to digital information. Fischlschweiger earned his Bachelor and Master of Arts in History from The University of Florida and his Master of Library and Information Science from Florida State University.

Cass Hartnett has worked with U.S. Government information for 27 years. She is the U.S. Documents Librarian at the University of Washington Libraries and worked at the University of Michigan and Detroit Public libraries previously. She is an expert in Federal depository library collections and operations. Hartnett has taught Library and Information Science (LIS) programs for more than two decades and co-authored a textbook, Fundamentals of Government Information, now widely adopted by LIS programs for Government information courses. She currently serves on the Government Documents Round Table of the American Library Association. Hartnett earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Smith College and her Master of Information and Library Studies from the University of Michigan.

Kirstin Krumsee works at the State Library of Ohio as a Reference Librarian and as the Regional Depository Coordinator for Ohio. She works extensively with Federal depository libraries in Ohio, leading FDLP initiatives and providing training and instruction on a variety of topics. She is a member of the Special Libraries Association, the Ohio Public Library Information Network Content Advisory Committee, and the Ohio Government Documents Round Table, currently serving as chair of the State Plan Revision committee and a member of the Marketing Task Force. Krumsee earned her Bachelor’s degree in English from The Ohio State University and her Master’s degree of Library and Information Science from Kent State University.

Lori Thornton serves as the Depository Coordinator and the Public Services Bureau Chief for the New Mexico State Library’s Department of Cultural Affairs. Thornton brings more than three decades of experience in Government documents to the Council. She is active in the American Library Association’s Government Documents Round Table and Map & Geospatial Information Round Table. Thornton earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Western Washington University and her Master of Librarianship from the University of Washington.

Mary Elizabeth (Beth) Williams serves as the Library Director of the Robert Crown Law Library at Stanford Law School in Stanford, CA. She is an expert in digitization and preservation issues and is the current Chair of the Education Committee for the Legal Information Preservation Alliance (LIPA) and a member of the American Association of Law Libraries. Williams earned her Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from the University of West Florida, Master of Arts in Philosophy from Marquette University, Juris Doctor from Syracuse University College of Law, and Master of Library and Information Science with Certificate in Law Librarianship from the University of Washington Information School.

Digital Preservation of Federal Information Summit

I’m excited and honored to be attending the Digital Preservation of Federal Information Summit this weekend in San Antonio. Dr Martin Halbert of the University of North Texas has invited government information librarians, archivists, technologists, and administrators — including my FGI colleague Jim jacobs! — to mobilize efforts at preserving digital federal government information. If you’d like to follow along, raise issues and ask questions, the twitter hashtag is #govpreserve. Stay tuned as we forge ahead!!

The Digital Preservation of Federal Information Summit will focus on the important topic of preservation and access to at-risk digital government information. This meeting will be held as a pre-conference just before the Spring 2016 CNI conference in the Madero Room of the Westin Riverwalk hotel in San Antonio, Texas…Our intent in convening this summit is to initiate a call to action and develop an agenda for mobilization of efforts well in advance of the inauguration of the new president. This will require careful preparation by high level figures who care about our shared national information heritage.

Stakeholders attending will include leaders of major libraries, thought-leaders in information technology, and program directors of major cultural memory organizations. The summit will bring together a select group of organizational and technical leaders interested in collaborating on of community-based efforts to preserve digital federal information, and developing solutions to the most pressing problems that we face as a nation in ensuring preservation and access to several emergent types of the most at-risk digital government information. These categories of information include, but are not limited to:

  • Born digital government information
  • Large-scale web archives, including the End-of-Term Crawl content
  • Metadata for these types of digital government information aggregations
  • Other categories of digitized government information

The aim of this meeting is to 1) engage in a structured and facilitated dialogue with national leaders on these topics, and 2) to begin the development of a national agenda to address the preservation of access for the most pressing categories of at-risk digital government information. The focus of this meeting is sustaining digital, not print, collections of government information.

Meeting Outcomes

The facilitated sessions of the meeting will be structured to result in several outcomes: 1) group consensus on priorities and practical next steps to addressing these priorities, and 2) this information will be used to write up a report after the meeting for broad dissemination and community response and engagement.

Here’s a list of attendees for the meeting:


Congressional Data Coalition: open Congressional information and make Congress work better

Yesterday, FGI, along with a group of citizens, public interest groups, libraries and trade associations comprising the Congressional Data Coalition, submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Committee regarding legislative branch funding priorities for fiscal year 2017.

The group made recommendations on where the House should focus next or what kinds of data should be released:

  • Extend and Broaden the Bulk Data Task Force
  • Release the Digitized Historical Congressional Record and Publish Future Editions in XML
  • Publish all Congress.gov Information in Bulk and in a Structured Data Format
  • Include All Public Laws in Congress.gov
  • Publish Calendar of Committee Activities in Congress.gov
  • Complete and Auditable Bill Text
  • CRS Annual Reports and Indices of CRS Reports
  • House and Committee Rules
  • Publish Bioguide in XML with a Change Log
  • Constitution Annotated
  • House Office and Support Agency Reports

Recognizing that accomplishing these ends will take funding, the group also urged continued financial support for GPO and LC to maintain and develop congress.gov, fdsys.gov, and their successors.

For the fifth year in a row, today members of the Congressional Data Coalition submitted testimony to House Appropriators on ways to open up legislative information. The bipartisan coalition focused on tweaking congressional procedures and releasing datasets that, in the hands of third parties, will strengthen Congress’ capacity to govern.

via A Guide for Appropriators on Opening Up Congressional Information and Making Congress Work Better — Demand Progress.

Classroom Deliberation: Should the United States Senate Conduct Confirmation Hearings for a Supreme Court Vacancy in a Presidential Election Year?

As part of C-SPAN’s “Classroom Deliberations” site (produced by C-SPAN’s Senior Fellows, designed to engage students in classroom deliberations about current issues being debated in the United States) a new lesson:

  • Should the United States Senate Conduct Confirmation Hearings for a Supreme Court Vacancy in a Presidential Election Year?

    Following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on February 13th, 2016, the Republican controlled Senate and leading Republican presidential candidates stated that a Supreme Court vacancy which occurs in the same calendar year as a presidential election should be left vacant until the newly elected President can make a nomination. President Obama believes the President has a Constitutional responsibility to make a nomination when a vacancy occurs.

    Democratic Senators, currently in the minority, argue that no Supreme Court nominee sent to the Judiciary Committee by a sitting President in the last 100 years has been denied a hearing. Senate Republicans argue that Democrats are on record in the past as having supported the idea of not holding hearings on potential candidates nominated by President Bush in the last year of his Presidency.

    Is the Senate violating its Constitutional responsibility to provide “Advice and Consent” to President Obama’s nominee?

    Should a lame duck president be allowed to make a lifetime appointment in the final months of their administration?


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