From an FDLP E-Mail:
The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has received the final report from Ithaka S + R (Ithaka), who was contracted to develop practical and sustainable models for the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). GPO appreciates the comments that were submitted by members of our community during Ithaka’s study of the FDLP. We plan to build on these comments as we continue our future visioning and modeling process.
GPO has reproduced an archived version of the Ithaka study Web site in PDF format on the FDLP Desktop and has posted the previously released draft documents, public comments, and final modeling report to GPO. We look forward to obtaining comments and feedback from more participants in our depository library network. We plan to use these comments as part of the foundation to build on as we continue our future visioning and modeling process.
The deadline for submission of comments is September 16, 2011.
Comments submitted through this site will be made available on the FDLP Desktop in preparation for the Thursday, October 20, 2011 day-long discussion, "Creating Our Shared Vision: Roles and Opportunities in the FDLP." We also encourage you to join us for the Fall 2011 Federal Depository Library Conference and DLC Meeting.
I need the help of the FGI community in a strange way. I need you to link to the now official copy of the State Blue Book guide I originally created in 2005 and updated with great assistance from Jennifer Manning of the Library of Congress.
That link is http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Blue_Books. Please post it whereever you can.
Why? Because if you do a Google or Yahoo search on the term "state blue books", the page that comes up isn't the one hosted by ALA GODORT and patrolled by several eagle-eyed sysops (Hi James R!), but the former well-meaning host. I haven't actively looked at old page for over a year.
And that was a mistake. Ugly spammers got to the former page from the history, it looks like they've been there awhile. I had forgottened to watch the page and only found out the problem because of someone who had been planning to show off the page as an example collaboration, but thought twice. Then I realized that I hadn't updated my personal web page to reflect the shift to GODORT, so not only were the search engines going to an outdated page, *I* was telling people to go to an outdated page.
No more. I have redirected my links to http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Blue_Books. If you've got a link to my guide, please update your link. And if enough of us do that, the search engines will direct to the page where we've got the guide's back.
And accept my apologies for not updating the community sooner.
FGI wishes to extend a belated Happy Anniversary to the Oregon Documents Depository Program, which turned 100 this month. To celebrate, the Oregon State Library has established a centennial anniversary website. Their introduction covers all the high points:
The State Library celebrates the Oregon Documents Depository Program Centennial!
The Oregon Documents Depository Program was founded in 1907 on a principle that still can be found in our state documents depository law today:
"It is a basic right for citizens to know about the activities of their government, to benefit from the information developed at public expense and to have permanent access to the information published by state agencies."
For 100 years, the State Library, depository libraries, and state agencies have made information about our state government available to citizens, and have preserved it for future generations.
This exhibit celebrates the Depository Program's centennial.
We hope you enjoy it and visit us often!
There are four sections to the exhibit displaying scanned documents either distributed by the depository program or about the program itself: Documents that changed Oregon; History of the Oregon Documents Program; New Oregon Documents Repository and Fun Stuff.
The Fun Stuff collection has a 1937 document called Are Young Drivers Good Drivers? Then as now, the government concluded no and used bar charts to prove its point.
This looks like a great way to celebrate state documents and our hats are off to Jey Wann and the rest of the Oregon Documents folks for sharing this.
Sadly, doing a centennial exibit on the Alaska State Documents program probably isn't in the cards for me. Our program was established in 1970, so I wouldn't be able to put on an exhibit till I'm a 105 and by then I hope to have moved on to other things. :-) But I could do a forty year anniversary in 2010.
Having found no published statistics for numbers of digitized books in Google Books, and especially nothing about digitized government publications, I was left with coming up with them on my own.
So I went to the Advanced Book Search screen for Google Books. Looking at the search options provided there I decided that the only way I could get reasonably useful statistics was to search for books published by GPO. As you are all aware not all government documents are actually published by GPO. Many are merely distributed by them. So I knew that my numbers would not be exact. Another problem was that over the years GPO listed themselves as publishers using a variety of abbreviations and phrases.
My first try was to use GPO in publisher and on August 8th I retrieved 141,600 hits. However just now when I ran it again, I only got 117,600. Hmmm.
Next search was for Government Printing Office, which retrieved both today and on the 8th, 43,600 hits. This was followed by gov't, which on the 8th retrieved 2,322 titles but today only retrieved 2,258.
The grand total for using these three searches on August 8th was 187,522.
Today as I was double checking my results, I also tried gov. print. off. and got 4,420 hits. So as of this morning the grand total is 167,878. I find it rather disconcerting that the number as dropped so much in nine days!
I have a hard time trying to figure out where to begin this blog, so I have decided to start at the beginning even though I have written a bit about this in a message posted to GOVDOC-L on August 8th. So here goes...
I was asked to find out how much government information is available in the various Googles. Over the past few months I had saved posts from GOVDOC-L that had Google in the subject line; so I thought this would be an easy assignment. Turns out that the messages did not give statistics, instead they were questions about Google's practice of making the full text of all books published after 1923 unavailable.
Well I was a bit disappointed but I still thought that I would find the information on Google's website. I figured that Google would be tooting its own horn about the growth of this infamous project. Not so. There are no statistics anywhere, and there was very little that described the scope of the project.
Next I went into research mode. I checked for articles in EBSCO's Academic Search Premier and Lexis-Nexis. I found some interesting news articles on the project but again no statistics. I then tried to search the web pages of a few library partners I looked at the University I had a little luck on Stanford's web site on Robotic Book Scanning. There was a page a few statistics listed there but alas they dated from June2004.
I even Googled such keywords that I hoped would bring up statistics. But considering how many different way one might refer to statistical information, it was frustrating to do. I didn't find any statistics this way but I did find some intersting Blog entries about the full-text copyright issue.
So I was on my own.
There's a very interesting article in Wired about a data mining tool developed to discover instances of whitewashing (e.g. editing in one's self-interest; presumably inappropriately) of Wikipedia entries. As has been noted before, Wikipedia has no authority control over the entries and is therefore particularly subject to self-serving or highly partisan edits. Now a clever grad student has developed a tool to identify those instances based on the version tracking built into wikis. While it doesn't necessarily identify a particular person, just knowing that, as described in the article, someone at Diebold HQ removed negative information about Diebold voting machines is adequate because it forces Diebold to prove they weren't the ones to make the changes. In short, it provides accountability by making use of the Wikipedia equivalent of the historical record.
I mention this story because I think that this kind of activity is going to be increasingly important in determining what constitutes a real and/or official government publication. Traditionally, you held a government accountable by getting offiical documentation of its activities and holding on it for comparison with other official documentation. However, government information published electronically has made this a lot harder because of the changable nature of digital files. A longstanding concern of government information librarians with respect to electronic govnernment information has been how to know when changes have been made, what the changes consisted of and who made them.
In this respect, the surging popularity of web 2.0 -style tools may be a great boon for government information. These tools -- wikis, online collaborative software like Google Documents or Zoho and so on -- derive their value from their ability to be shared. Government agency personnel are no different from anyone else - they've got work to do, a limited patience with messing around with how to do it and a desire to take the path of least resistance. So, for government employees, i.e. the folks creating government information, there's just as much reason to use these kinds of software as there is for me right now writing this post.
And that means that neither the historical record nor legal accountability is necessarily lost, although it will entail expanding the definition of preservation of the historical record to include methods of acting on databases (creating data mining software to run against databases) in addition to the collection of objects (finding that last copy of a Serial Set volume) and any other activities that may become necessary as technology evolves.
As with everything, the possibilities are not limitless. The Wikipedia Scanner was developed in cooperation with Wikipedia and required a full download of the whole database. Allowing that level of access is an option that individual agencies could turn on or off and certainly some agencies would never allow those levels of access to their publications. However, the agencies unlikely to play well with others in this scenario probably already don't provide much access to their information. For agenices that would be amenable to this kind of datamining, a benefit would be not just automated archiving (which the version tracking amounts to), but no-cost-to-the-agency management of those archives since they'll be allowing others to do it for them.
Mark Simpkins, who works for the BBC and describes himself as someone who also works "hacking for democracy in his spare time," will present this session at the 4th Annual O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference that will be held March 14-17, 2005 in San Diego.
Simpkins notes the disadvantages of governments releasing documents in PDF format only -- particularly the difficulties the format creates for online discussion of parts of those documents.
Simpkins also points to the interesting blog consultationprocess.org
which has the slogan, "opening up public documents to the blogosphere."