Public Printer at House Oversight Comm: "GPO – Issues and Challenges: How Will GPO Transition to the Future?"Submitted by jrjacobs on Fri, 2011-05-13 21:17.
On Weds May 11, 2011, Public Printer Bill Boarman and others submitted written testimony to a hearing of the Committee on House Administration Subcommittee on Oversight (PDF). the hearing was titled "GPO – Issues and Challenges: How Will GPO Transition to the Future?" Here's the GPO press release about the Public Printer's comments (anyone else wish GPO put out their press releases in xhtml rather than pdf?! It's hard to find them after the fact! but I digress). (Unembeddable) Video of the hearing is also available.
- William J. Boarman, Public Printer of the United States, Government Printing Office
- James Hamilton Group Director, InfoTrends
- Eric D. Belcher, President and Chief Executive Officer, InnerWorkings, Inc.
- Eric Petersen, Specialist in American National Government, Congressional Research Service
Full disclosure: I talked last week with Reynold Schweikhardt, Director of Technology Policy for the Committee on House Administration -- Mr Schweickhardt was organizing the hearing -- in preparation for the hearing and to discuss with him some of the issues surrounding GPO, the FDLP and access to govt information in the 21st century.
I shared with him a few pieces that my FGI colleagues and I had written over the last several years to help inform the hearing and future discussions about the GPO and govt information in general. Among them are:
- "GPO must not go" argues for reasons why GPO is important to the govt info ecosystem.
- Public Printer's Letter to President Obama Regarding Open Government argues for a continued need in a distributed model to assure long term access and preservation.
- iConference presentation on the future of govt information
- Critical GPO systems and the FDLP cloud
- Several link rot articles
- Government Information in the Digital Age: The Once and Future Federal Depository Library Program. James A. Jacobs, James R. Jacobs and Shinjoung Yeo. Journal of Academic Librarianship, Volume 31, Issue 3, May 2005, Pages 198-208. lays out roles for GPO, fed agencies, libraries and others in assuring long term access to and preservation of govt information.
"Printing" seems to be a big issue these days -- witness the recently introduced bills H.R. 1626: Prevent the Reckless, Irresponsible, Needless Typography (PRINT) Act of 2011 and S 674: Congressional Record Printing Savings Act of 2011 -- and printing was discussed at the hearing. Yes, "printing" is (mostly) no longer necessary (and mostly no longer done) -- though it remains a far better mode of access for many publications (Statistical Abstract is a case in point ) -- but the role of "producing standard, preservable, authentic information output" still exists and remains critical to an informed citizenry. Drastically defunding GPO because of no need for printing would be throwing out the baby (standard preservable authentic information production) with the bathwater (printing press).
I stressed in our dialog that GPO's role hasn't changed, just the means. It's far cheaper to fund one agency that partners with libraries and provides valuable services to other agencies than to defund that agency, lose the distribution/service/access/preservation that libraries do largely w/o federal dollars, and face the same information budget issues agency by agency -- and the increasing expenditure requests at every agency. Every congressional district has a stake in maintaining funding for gpo/fdlp and should be supportive of the public service that libraries provide to their constituents.
It's also important to note GPO's critical role in cataloging government information regardless of format or FDLP status and the role PURLs play in reducing link rot. Even if printing vanished tomorrow, there is a real need for the active management of description of federal resources, and this is something that only a couple of agencies other than GPO do -- OSTI is one that comes to mind.
In the end, I think a strong argument can be made that 1) GPO is a vital piece of the govt information ecosystem; and 2) GPO should be a focal point within govt for distributing govt information out to the public and to libraries; 3) the issues of digital preservation are too large for GPO to do alone and libraries, as they have done historically, can and should play an active role in access to and preservation of govt information. Libraries and librarians hopefully will continue to have a key role to play in govt information and transparency processes.
That is all.
Informative, but non-essential websites are likely candidates for being shut down.
White House says critical websites won't be affected by shutdown, By William Matthews, Next Gov (04/07/2011).
In the event of a government shutdown, federal websites "would remain operational" if they are deemed "necessary to avoid significant damage to the execution of authorized or accepted activities," a White House official told Nextgov in an email message late Wednesday.
...For the duration of a shutdown, agency-operated websites that are not judged to be critical "would not remain active," the official said. That doesn't mean they will necessarily vanish from the Internet. Rather, if they remain available, the information on them might not be up to date, and transactions submitted to agencies through the sites might not be processed until the shutdown ends...
Sites to be closed include the International Trade Administration, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Economics and Statistics Administration, the and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
...Informative, but non-essential websites, such as USASpending.gov, ITDashboard.gov and Data.gov are likely candidates for being shut down...
...Agencies are expected to post notices on their Web home pages about which online features will work and which won't during the shutdown.
Declan McCullagh at CNET reports that many federal Web sites will likely go offline if the government shuts down Friday night. "A 16-page memo (PDF) to federal agencies says their Web sites may stay online only in a small number of situations, including tax collection and handling 'exempted' activities such as payments and other functions that are paid for by previous annual budgets."
So how will permanent public access be maintained in the event of a shutdown? Will the standard notice include information on how to find your local federal depository library? The public won't even be able to find a list of depository libraries on the FDLP desktop (fdlp.gov) but will have to go to Documents Data Miner hosted by the library at Wichita State University. The Washington Post has a list of govt agency shutdown plan details -- including GPO -- but only states, "If the government were to shut down, a [GPO] skeleton staff is expected to stay on to print copies of the Congressional Record and other White House documents." It's unclear whether or not fdlp.gov, fdsys.gov or other GPO sites will remain online in the event of a shutdown.
"The mere benefit of continued access by the public to information about the agency's activities would not warrant the retention of personnel or the obligation of funds to maintain, or update, the agency's Web site" during a shutdown, says the memo, prepared by the White House's Office of Management and Budget.
It adds: "If an agency's Web site is shut down, users should be directed to a standard notice that the Web site is unavailable during the period of government shutdown." The IRS's Web site would likely stay online, the memo says, because tax collection is an exempted activity, "but the entire Treasury Department Web site would not."
Press Release from GPO:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 5, 2011
GSA TURNS TO GPO'S PARTNERSHIP WITH GOOGLE TO OFFER FREE GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS ONLINE
WASHINGTON-The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is working with the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and GPO's relationship with the Google Book Partner Program to make popular Government publications available for free electronic download through Google. The program is making available 100 consumer-related Federal Government publications distributed through GSA's Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC) on Google Books. The public can view and download PDF copies of these publications on desktops, laptops, and various e-readers. The FCIC plans to add more consumer publications to the program. The public can also order hard copies of the publications on Google Books and through the GPO's Online Bookstore. The FCIC will coordinate delivery through GPO's Public Documents Distribution Center in Pueblo, Colorado.
"GPO and GSA have been partners in distributing federal government publications to the American people for 40 years," said GPO's Business Products & Services Managing Director Herb Jackson. "GPO looks forward to expanding that partnership with Google in providing the public with free electronic access to popular consumer publications."
Public Printer Bill Boarman announced his appointments to the Depository Library Council (DLC) by saying,
"I am honored to appoint these talented individuals to the Council and look forward to their advice on how to advance the mission of the FDLP. GPO has a strong partnership with the depository library community, which is also the foundation of GPO's mission in disseminating Government documents and information to the public."
The five new DLC members (who will serve from June 1, 2011 through June 1, 2014) are:
* Stephanie Braunstein, Assistant Librarian at the Troy H. Middleton Library at the Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, one of Louisiana's two regional libraries. Braunstein's outreach with the library community includes presenting at conferences, partnering with GPO to host an online list of Federal agency web sites, and contributing to Browse Topics, an online subject based portal for government information. She currently serves as Coordinator of the Federal Documents Task Force (FDTF) of the American Library Association (ALA) and is the Louisiana Library Association Councilor to ALA.
* Donna Lauffer, County Librarian for the Johnson County Library system's 13 branches in Overland Park, Kansas. Lauffer has a strong track record in delivering government information to the public and in promoting civic engagement. Her leadership in support of government information and relevant programming in her library system led to the Johnson County Library being honored as the 2010 Federal Depository Library of the Year.
* Susan Lyons, Reference and Government Documents Librarian at the Rutgers University Law School Library in Newark, New Jersey. Lyons' professional interests include digital preservation, authentication, and permanent public access to government information. She has served as Chair of the Government Documents Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Librarians (AALL), President of the New Jersey Law Librarians Association, and President of the Documents Association of New Jersey.
* Mark Phillips, Assistant Dean for Digital Libraries at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Phillips specializes in digital collections, knowledge of infrastructure for digital collections, preservation techniques, and web harvesting. He currently serves on the Access Committee in the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC) and the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative's, Dublin Core Library Profile Workgroup.
* Arlene Weible, Government Documents and Technical Services Librarian at the Oregon State Library in Salem, Oregon. Weible has a broad background in technical services and public services, and experience working in state and academic libraries. She currently serves on the National Digital Stewardship Alliance and the regional coordinator for Oregon's intrastate shared regional, a successful shared housing arrangement that serves the depository libraries in Oregon.
The DLC consists of fifteen members appointed by the Public Printer. Its mission is to assist the U.S. Government Printing Office in identifying and evaluating alternatives for improving public access to Government information through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and for optimizing resources available for operating the Program. Members serve three year terms, with five members retiring each year and five new members entering. At least half of the Council's members work in depository libraries and have experience in a Documents department.
Happy 150th birthday US Government Printing Office! And to celebrate, here's a blast form the past: a 1979 report from the Public Interest Research Group entitled "The Peoples' Printer: A Report on the Government Printing Office" by Shawn kelly. This little known PIRG report was scanned and put online by Carl Malamud who said in a tweet that "it was handed to me in a brown paper wrapper at an event I was speaking at. Remarkable 1979 independent analysis." Thanks Carl for for scanning and tweeting about this!
The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) marks a milestone on March 4th when it celebrates 150 years of producing and delivering Government information for all three branches of the Federal Government and the public. GPO opened its doors on March 4, 1861, the same day President Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office. Throughout its history the agency has used constantly changing technologies to meet the needs of the Congress, Federal agencies, and the public. During GPO's early days, employees relied on ink and paper to set the text for The Emancipation Proclamation. Today, as another President from Illinois leads the Nation, GPO employees are using the latest digital technology to document the actions of our Government while carrying out its founding mission of Keeping America Informed.
While GPO's past has been about printing, its present and future are being defined by digital information technologies. In fact, GPO today is the product of more than a generation of investment in digital production and dissemination technologies, an investment that has yielded stunning improvements in productivity, capability, and savings for the taxpayers, savings of 66% on the cost of congressional printing alone. Employing just 2,200 staff, fewer than at any time in the past century, GPO now provides a range of products and activities that could only have been dreamed of 30 years ago: online databases of Federal documents with state-of-the-art search and retrieval capabilities available to the public without charge, Government publications available as e-Books, passports and smart cards with electronic chips carrying biometric data, print products on sustainable substrates using vegetable oil based inks, and a public presence not only on the Web but on Twitter, Facebook, and You Tube.
Sometimes there's too much happening and things get missed. That's what happened this time as I totally missed the *October 2010* press release from the GPO about their new federated search engine called Metalib AND the Oct 29 post from the Pratt Library Students, our guest bloggers -- though I shouldn't feel so bad; only 45 libraries have cataloged it according to WorldCat.
Metalib federates the search of 53 seed resources and counting including such databases as the Catalog of Govt Publications, Agricola articles, EPA publications and newsletters, GAO reports, National Technical Information Service (NTIS), USGS library catalog and much much more.
I haven't had a chance to put Metalib through its paces, but if any of our gentle readers have used it, please leave a comment and let us know what you think.
GPO’s MetaLib Released
Thursday, 14 October 2010
The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has released MetaLib, a federated search tool that is a service of the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications. Use MetaLib's federated searching to retrieve reports, articles, and citations by simultaneously searching across multiple databases. The initial release of MetaLib contains fifty-three Federal Government databases. Over time, the collection will grow based on recommendations from the GPO MetaLib team as well as public suggestions.
Learn more about MetaLib and how it can be used in Federal depository libraries in Accessing Federal Information Using MetaLib's Federated Search.
Here's some good news on this stormy day (at least in NorCal). GPO and the Library of Congress are set to work together on better digital access for the historic United States Statutes at Large and the United States Constitution. Anyone want to add this to the the Conan the Librarian wikipedia page?
The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and the Library of Congress (LOC) recently received approval from the Joint Committee on Printing (JCP) to proceed on two collaborative efforts. One project involves the digitization of some of our nation's most important legal and legislative documents and the other involves enhanced public online access to the Constitution of the United States: Analysis and Interpretation (CONAN).
The digitization project will include the public and private laws, and proposed constitutional amendments passed by Congress as published in the official Statutes at Large from 1951-2002. GPO and LOC will also work on digitizing official debates of Congress from the permanent volumes of the Congressional Record from 1873-1998. These laws and documents will be authenticated and available to the public on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) and the Library of Congress’s THOMAS legislative information system.
The other project will provide enhanced public online access to the Constitution of the United States: Analysis and Interpretation (CONAN), a Senate Document that analyzes Supreme Court cases relevant to the Constitution. The project involves creating an enhanced version of CONAN, where updates to the publication will be made available on FDsys as soon as they are prepared. In addition to more timely access to these updates, new online features will also be added, including greater ease of searching and authentication.
GPO authenticates the documents on FDsys by digital signature and these authenticated documents are also available on the Library’s THOMAS system. This signature assures the public that the document has not been changed or altered since receipt by GPO. This digital signature, viewed through the GPO Seal of Authenticity, verifies the document’s integrity and authenticity.
Congratulations to our friend Mary Alice Baish (nee Director of Government Relations for the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL)) for being named Assistant Public Printer and Superintendent of Documents at the Government Printing Office (GPO). This is an important position at a critical time for the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). We look forward to working with Mary Alice on the many issues pertaining to the realization of the digital FDLP. Congratulations again Mary Alice!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 20, 2011 No. 11-04
MEDIA CONTACT: GARY SOMERSET 202.512.1957, 202.355.3997 cell firstname.lastname@example.org
LIBRARY ADVOCATE BECOMES SUPERINTENDENT OF DOCUMENTS
WASHINGTON – Public Printer Bill Boarman has named Mary Alice Baish Assistant Public Printer, Superintendent of Documents, for the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). This position is the agency's lead in guaranteeing permanent public access to Government information published by the three branches of the Federal Government. Baish will oversee GPO's Library Services & Content Management unit, Publication & Information Sales unit and the management of GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys www.fdsys.gov), which is a one-stop site to authentic, published Government information. In her role, Baish will work with more than 1,200 Federal depository libraries nationwide, through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), to ensure Government information is available in all forms to the public.
Link to photo: http://gpo.gov/images/news-media/management/Baish_180.jpg
“Mary Alice has been a strong advocate for GPO and the library community throughout her entire career, which makes her a natural choice to assume this important position for the agency,” said Public Printer Bill Boarman. “Her vision and experience with open Government initiatives will be an asset to the FDLP and GPO’s effort through FDsys in making Federal Government information open and transparent for the American people.”
Throughout Baish's career, she has worked with all sectors of the library community, testifying before Congressional committees on behalf of GPO, and has been a leading voice in developing electronic systems to disseminate Government information. Prior to her appointment at GPO, she previously served as the Director of Government Relations for the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), a nonprofit educational organization that serves the information needs of the legal community. Baish has worked closely with Congressional committees, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Federal agencies and the Administration in developing policies and legislation that promote the needs of libraries, the legal community and the American public. She is among the founding members of OpenTheGovernment.org (OTG.org), an organization created to promote democracy and end Government secrecy. She has worked with OTG.org, the White House and Office of Management and Budget in implementing President Obama’s Open Government Directive and with auditing agency Open Government Plans. She has written and spoken extensively about e-government information policy and is a past member of the Depository Library Council to the Public Printer.
She is a resident of Fairfax Station, VA, and holds a master's degree in Library and Information Studies from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and an Ed.M. from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
GPO is the Federal Government’s primary centralized resource for gathering, cataloging, producing, providing, authenticating, and preserving published U.S. Government information in all its forms. GPO is responsible for the production and distribution of information products and services for all three branches of the Federal Government. In addition to publication sales, GPO makes Government information available at no cost to the public through GPO’s Federal Digital System (www.fdsys.gov) and through partnerships with approximately 1,220 libraries nationwide participating in the Federal Depository Library Program. For more information, please visit www.gpo.gov. Follow GPO on Twitter http://twitter.com/USGPO and on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/gpoprinter.
In December 2010, we received and posted 39 reports to GPO from librarians reporting documents that had seemingly fallen through the cracks of the cataloging process. The reports were originally sent to GPO between October and December 2010.
This month was a great one for cataloging lost documents. Of the 39 reported documents posted by us, 17 (44%) have been cataloged and in the Catalog of Government Publications (CGP) as of this writing. See these records for yourself by visiting lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/category/found/ and looking at the postings with December 2010 dates. We are appreciative of these new records.
From December, 16 items remain listed as "fugitive documents", with four others remain listed as "pending", where GPO has indicated an item will be cataloged, but no public record in the CGP is available.
You can view the pending items lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/category/pending/ and looking at the postings with December 2010 dates. The fugitive items are available at http://lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/category/lost/.
Two documents reported to GPO appeared to already have public CGP records and we classed them as "false positives."
Please remember that our listing of "fugitive documents" reports is only as complete as you make it, since GPO does not yet publish any statistics we're aware of on fugitive documents/document discovery.
If you like the concept of a public listing of fugitive documents reported to GPO, there are a number of easy ways to help us:
- If you report a fugitive document to GPO, send your e-mailed receipt to email@example.com. We welcome any item reported to GPO in the past month. It is best if you can send us the receipt the same day you get it from GPO. Some e-mail programs will support auto-forwarding. If so, please consider autoforwarding items where the subject contains "lostdocs submission."
- Visit the blog at lostdocs.freegovinfo.info and comment on the listed items. Comments can include -- Did your library receive the item? Did you find it in the CGP? Do you think the item is out of scope for the CGP? Did you report the item as well and so on.
- Post the blog link to your website or share it on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media.
- Subscribe to the blog feed at lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/feed/
or better yet incorporate the feed into your website or blog.