With North Korea once again pushing its way to the front of the headlines, this is a good time to show off a librarian produced resource guide from the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange Wiki on this pariah nation:
North Korea Country Guide (University of Colorado at Boulder Government Publications Library, 2008)
Like the other excellent country guides produced by the UCB govpubs library, this guide is broken into the following sections:
- Government Information
- Country Profiles
- Articles & Databases
- Diplomatic Relations
- Peacekeeping & Military Information
- Resources in the Catalog
- Related Topics
The Government Information section indicates that the main official page for North Korea is a dot com and appears to be linked to an organization called the Korea Friendship Association. In addition there are two unlabeled portraits on the North Korea home page. I suppose they are current leader Kim Jon Il and his father Kim Il Sung. But I guess the North Korea web authors feel that only people who know that for sure will be visiting the North Korea web site.
As mentioned in other highlights of UCB country guides, the Country Profiles section features profiles of North Korea from many international organizations and a number of individual countries. If you question the impartiality of US assessments of North Korea, this section may give you a more well rounded view.
One of the resources featured under "articles and databases" is the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Declassified Documents database at http://www.foia.ucia.gov/. Typing in North Korea yields 1,154 results. Some of them serious and some of them light-hearted like "Agency hosts movie premier and sneak preview" which talked about a showing of the movie In the Company of Spies at CIA headquarters. This particular document also shows the ridiculous secrecy practice by the CIA as this movie press release has a number of redactions, including this bizarre one in the following paragraph:
No visit to the agency would be complete without a trip to the [REDACTED] reports that between 9:30 and 10:55pm, guests spent 2/3 of an average day's sales, carting away cart-loads of t-shirts, caps, and infants/children's outfits.
The secret's out. The CIA has a gift shop. The redaction would look somewhat less silly and pointless if they had just redacted the gift shop manager's name.
But I digress. The good librarians at the University of Colorado at Boulder have provided a wealth of resources for anyone who wants to take a peak behind the screaming headlines of this deeply insular and often confusion producing country.
Are you a librarian with a handout or guide to an issue in the news? Then link it to the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange Wiki.
A fair amount of news coverage has revolved around the regulatory activity of the Obama Administration -- whether it is to keep Bush era regulations or to propose new regulatory schemes. Today's Guide of the Week from the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange Wiki will help you keep the process straight and help you find regulations past and present:
Administrative Law: The Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations (Hui Hua Chua, Michigan State University, 2008)
Hui Hua's excellent guide starts out at the beginning, by explaining what a regulation is. Then she links people to four separate places that explain the complex federal regulatory process. Chances are at least one will make sense to you. Then she moves on to provide tips on searching for regulations online (1996-present) and in print.
I've worked with documents for well over a decade, but this guide taught me something new (or helped me to remember). You can get from the US Code to the Code of Federal Regulations(CFR) by using the index volume of the CFR, labeled "CFR Index and Finding Aids." The "Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules" to link a US Code Section to a section of the CFR. She also tells us what I did know, that sections of the CFR will state their statutory authority, linking us back to the US Code.
Hui Hua concludes her guide with ways to keep with proposed regulations. If your work or study touches on federal regulation in any way, you'll want to take a close look at this guide. And if you're a librarian with a guide or handout of your own, please link it to the Handout Exchange.
see this link for chat logs and more details on GITCO
TOPIC: GITCO committee structure and our impact within GODORT and beyond
Accessing government information electronically is now common in both US and international contexts. How can GITCO best position itself withing GODORT/ALA and beyond to provide leadership on issues associated with electronic government information?
This session is meant to be a brainstorm -- to collect ideas and examples, rather than to follow each contribution to its conclusion. The room will be open after the session if you would like to add things after the planned session. There is also a brief participant survey which includes a place for feedback.
Agenda for Today's Forum:
* reflections on past projects
* reflections on committee structure within GODORT
*take the survey
Yesterday Library Journal published its annual list of notable government documents, "Looking Back, Moving On: 2008 Best Notable Government Documents" written by Jim Church and his team of selectors and judges on the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT) Notable Documents Panel. Every year since 1983, the panel has pulled together and highlighted state/local, federal and international government documents in order to "promote awareness and acquisition of government publications by libraries and use by library patrons."
This year's list highlighted such publications as Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports as well as free statistical databases from the United Nations (UNdata), the European Union (Eurostat) and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAOStat). Plus there was a special shout out to Carl Malamud and his Yes We Scan! campaign for Public Printer of the Government Printing Office. Check out this year's list of notable documents. You'll be amazed at the depth and breadth of publications by the various levels of governments. And by all means, if you have a favorite government document that you'd like to highlight, the Panel is always interested in nominations!
(Full disclosure: I'm the chair this year of GODORT's Publications Committee, which oversees the work of the Notable Documents Panel.)
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.
see this link for April chat logs, upcoming May date and more details on GITCO
TOPIC: emerging issues in ADVOCACY for electronic government information
Accessing government information electronically is now common in both US and international contexts. How have communications with government providers, with users and communities changed?
This session is meant to be a brainstorm -- to collect ideas and examples, rather than to follow each contribution to its conclusion. The room will be open after the session if you would like to add comments after the planned session. There is also a brief participant survey which includes a place for feedback.
Agenda for Today's Forum:
*how have communications with government information providers changed? US/international, etc.
*what are the most important things users need to know now to gain access to electronic gov info -- how should librarians be supporting these needs?
*How can GITCO help librarians with electronic gov info advocacy? What resources, or tools should we be producing?
*take the survey
Patent research is one of more obscure things one can do. It is hard enough to determine whether there is a US patent for a given invention, and today's globalized world often requires looking at international patents as well. Where to begin? One place to start is this week's Guide of the Week from the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange Wiki:
Patent and Trademark Information (Univ. of California--Berkeley, 1999) Last updated 2/9/2007
This guide is divided into the following sections:
- Pre-1872 Patent Information
- Foreign and International Patent Information
- Other Patent Collections
- Bibliography of Patent & Trademark Sources
- CD-ROM Sources
- Internet Sources
- Step by Step Patent Research
They use a mix of print and electronic resources with varying date coverage. A small set of the resources they highlight include:
- Japan Patent Office: A searchable database of Japanese patent abstracts, which includes the patent number, title, inventor, company, and abstract of the patent.
- Foreign patents: a guide to official patent literature by Francis J. Kase. 1972.
- Code of Federal Regulations, Title 37: Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights.
- Finding List for United States Patent, Design, Trademark, Reissue, Label, Print, and Plant Patent Numbers. - Gives the volume number of the Official Gazette in which a given patent number will be found for the years 1872-1993. Includes information on earlier patents.
- Google Patent Search - Access over 7 million patents from 1790-2006. Does not currently include patent applications, international patents, or U.S. patents issued over the last few months. Includes tips for advanced patent searching.
Finally, since the librarians at Berkeley realize that no one has all the answers, they end with links to several other helpful patent searching guides:
- Searching for pre-1976 U.S. patents via University of Maine
- Patent Search Tutorial and Information via University of Texas
- The 7-Step Strategy via the U.S. Patent Office
- U.S. Patent Searching via Oregon State University
The ALA GODORT Handout Exchange has librarian-produced guides using resources from every level of government, from international to local. Today's guide is a case in point:
Official Links for Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County (Mary Finley, California State University-Northridge, 2008)
This guide is broken up into six sections:
- Official Links: City of Los Angeles - Los Angeles County
- Directories and Guides: Services & Help - Business Assistance - Transportation - Education & Culture
- L. A. City/County Statistics & Facts: Economic/Demographic - Crime - Environment - Education - Health - Other - Budgets
- Election Issues & Results
- Politicians: Who represents you? - Contact the politicians - Lobbyists and Campaign Contributions
- Local Codes and Regulations
I am particularly impressed with the "statistics and facts" section as it draws Los Angeles related information from several levels of government. Sources here include:
- American FactFinder (Census Bureau)
- Airport Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data (Federal Aviation Administration) - Reports include data on several Los Angeles area airports.
- California Department of Finance - Site includes demographic as well as financial and economic data.
- Residential Vacancy Data (City of Los Angeles Housing Dept.)
- Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services Statistics - Statistical reports, caseload characteristics, and various research reports about social assistance programs and welfare reform from the Research, Evaluation and Quality Assurance Division of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services.
When you take all of the linked resources together, there are dozens of them. So if you have any interest in Los Angeles or large urban areas, go check out Mary Finley's guide.
Are you a librarian with a guide to local government information? Then post a link to the Handout Exchange. Don't know of a guide to your area? Then go create one. Your patrons and your peers will thank you.
For historic background and access to current foreign policy information, try this week's "Guide of the Week" from the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange Wiki:
Government Documents on U.S. Foreign Policy (Bert Chapman, Purdue University, 1999) Last updated 3/10/2008
Bert truly starts his guide at the beginning with The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States (6 vols.) and moves on to such current resources such as:
- Foreign Consular Offices in the U.S.
- United States Contributions to International Organizations
- Legislation on Foreign Relations Through (year)
- Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba
- European Union "Common" Foreign and Security Policy
If you want a quick way to find International Government Organizations or their publications, start with today's Guide of the Week from the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange Wiki:
International Documents Collection (Northwestern University Library, for the GODORT International Documents Task Force, 2008)
Northwestern is attempting to keep a comprehensive list of International Government Organizations (IGO) that maintain a web presence.
They currently list many IGOs from the African Development Bank to the World Tourism Organization (WTO). To facilitate access to the publications and other IGO information, the guide maintains a Google Custom Search Engine.
Northwestern staff use the following criteria to add IGOs to their list:
Criteria used to maintain the Northwestern University Library IGO list:
- The primary audience for the site is the Northwestern University community.
- The international organizations included in the list are intergovernmental organizations (IGOs).
- International Documents staff intend the list to be comprehensive. They include all the IGOs of which they are aware. However, an IGO must have a web page to be included in the list. If any person recommends an IGO to add to the list, staff add it to the list.
- The list links to sites in English, when available.
- In general, the list links only to the main page (i.e. welcome or home page) of the IGO's web site. The list links to web pages that are located within an IGOs web site if:
- it is the web page of the IGO's statistical division or statistical publications.
- it is the web page of the IGO's publications, if there are a substantial number of full-text publications available there.
- it is a web page that is often used.
- it is a web page which had been used by staff or a patron as a source of information, but which is extremely difficult to locate using the site's navigation functions.
- If you have any questions or suggestions please email them to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
While I think this guide would be even stronger with either a one or two sentence annotation next to each organization or a link to the organization's about page, the comprehensiveness of the list makes it worth visiting. Check it out. And if you're a librarian with a handout or guide of your own, please post it to the Handout Exchange!