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GPO’s Preliminary Requirements (RD) docs now available

I’ve posted several new GPO documents to the FGI Library. These documents are regarding GPO’s Future Digital System (FDSys). GPO is moving quickly into the next phase of the FDSys, so we need to move quickly as well in order to provide comments, questions, evaluation on the system and its effects on the FDLP, libraries, access to and preservation of govt information (both positive and negative). I’m sure GPO will welcome all comments in order to make the future digital system a robust, easy-to-use, free system.

The Government Information Technology Committee (GITCO) has invited Mike Wash, Chief Technical Officer and Co-director of the Office of Innovation and New Technology, to their meeting at ALA Annual Conference on Sunday June 26, 2005 from 02:00 pm – 05:30 pm in the Hyatt Hotel’s Grand Ballroom E. This is an open meeting, and I would encourage everyone to go. If you’re unable to attend (and even if you *are* able to attend), please post to FGI any questions that you might have for Mr. Wash about the future digital system.

Here are the links to the documents:

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


  1. Here are some questions I think should be asked of Mike Wash and others at GPO concerning the Requirements documents:

    The two questions I’d class as technical ones are:

    1) On page 23, 2.5.14, Preservation Process Scenario (Migration) (3); “AIP is kept refreshed.” Are there any current models you are looking at to insure this? If so, which ones?

    2) What sort of business rules will you use to determine whether a publication is in-scope for GPO as described in 2.5.17 (3) on page 24 of FDSys RD v1.0? Is there a current system inside or outside of federal gov’t that has been using business rules to select files? If so, what?

    All my other questions about FDSys RD v1.0 fall under the heading of policy, which may not be Mr. Wash’s province:

    1) On page 10 and elsewhere there are references to users being able to access content based on their rights and privileges. My questions on this concept are:
    a) Will there be different levels of end users besides anonymous and authenticated?
    b) Will anonymous end users have the same access to CONTENT as authenicated users? (I understand and accept that authenticated users have more personalized search functions.)
    c) Will there be a class of paid-subscriber end users who will have greater access to content than other authenticated users?
    d) If the answer to (c) is yes; will depository library access be equivalent to paid-subscriber end users? If not, what level of access can depository libraries expect?

    2) Page 10 states that the proposed GPO system should “support end-to-end tracking of all content during the process of transfer, maintainance in FDLP, processing, preservation, and continuing use” My questions on this concept are:
    a) By “continuing use” do you mean monitoring content while it is in the FDSys, or after it has been delivered to an end-user?
    b) Does FDSys intend to track indentifying information from end-users who download materials from the FDsys? If so, what will it use the information for?

    3) Page 10 also states that GPO should “manage access rights.” Is this the same thing as creating documents with Digital Rights Management (DRM) tools? If so, what will the end-user be prohibited from doing with documents so created?

    4) On page 15 under “Version, Scope, and Certification”, there is a paragraph that reads “The Content Evaluator then determines if the document in in scope for GPO Dissemination Program. Working with a Business Manager determines if the document is in scope for the sales program. An example of GPO Dissemination Program is the FDLP.” Is it a guarantee that anything considered in scope for the sales program would automatically be in scope for FDLP? Does GPO foresee future “repurposed” products that might be within sales but outside FDLP?

    5) On page 17 under “Business Manager Scenario” (2.5.5), the Business Manager is given the responsibility to set pricing levels for GPO services and products based on business knowledge and the system data. My questions about this concept are:
    a) Does GPO forsee charging FDLP institutions for any information, repurposed or otherwise within the system?
    b) If the answer to (a) is no, what, if any, restrictions would GPO place on depository libraries on reusing information downloaded from the FDSys?

    6) In regard to the various End User Scenarios proposed from pages 19 through 22, there appears to be no mention of pushing content from the FDSys to the End User. From this section of the requirements document, it appears users will only have the ability to search the system and have content sent to them at the time of search. Is there some other section of the RD that EXPLICITLY requires some sort of automated delivery (through profiles, RSS feeds, etc) to the End user based on defined criteria (subject, agency, sudoc #, item #, depository profile, etc)? If not, why is this feature not being planned as previously announced?

    Finally I have two suggestions for the “assumptions” (3.1.1 on page 25) of the RD v1.0:

    1) Add an assumption that content will be pushed to depository libraries to assure maximum preservation/access potential.

    2) I question assumption two “Deposited or born digital content will be the primary method of ingest. Conversion of documents is expected to be a transitional activity” for Congressional publications. According to the Law Librarians’ Society of Washington, D.C. (LLSDC) GPO Congressional Publication Releases for 2005 page at http://www.llsdc.org/gpo/2005lists.htm, there were at least five weeks this year where online availability of Congressional publications were below two thirds. Some weeks, less than half of what Congress published was available electronically. Unless the trend improves dramatically, GPO may continue to be in the business of converting Congressional publications for some time to come.

    “And besides all that, what we need is a decentralized, distributed system of depositing electronic files to local libraries willing to host them.” — Daniel Cornwall, tipping his hat to Cato the Elder for the original quote.

  2. This question comes from looking through the Summary of phase 3 document:

    The document describes a requirement document this way:

    A requirement is a structured collection of information that embodies the needs and capabilities
    of a complex system. Requirements serve to reflect back to the customer and users by communicating what the system will do and, also serves to communicate to the developers regarding what needs to be created for the system. Because it is our intention to create requirements from a customer needs perspective, requirements will be more reflective of user functionality than technology. A well-formed requirement consists of:
    â–  Capabilities: features and functions of the system needed or desired by the customer
    â–  Conditions: measurable qualitative or quantitative attributes and characteristics that are stipulated for a capability
    â–  Constraints: requirements imposed on the solution by circumstance, force or compulsion

    A requirements document (RD) is a compilation of the requirements into a standardized format. GPO has chosen IEEE 1233 as the guideline for our RD.
    ■ RD provides a “black box” description of what the system should do in terms of system interactions or interfaces with the external environment
    â–  RD should completely define inputs, outputs and required relationships between inputs and outputs
    â–  RD organizes and communicates requirements to the customer and technical community
    â–  RD is used to construct the system
    â–  RD is used to write verification test plan

    This is one of the places where references to “customer needs” are made. I understand that there are many customer classes being addressed by the RD – GPO Staff, other federal agencies, printing/digital sub-contractors, and the “end-user” (Defined by GPO as individuals, FDLP libraries, and others outside the government.)

    However, if any focus-group from end-users were consulted about the Requirements Documents, it doesn’t seem to appear in the document. Especially if one of the purposes of the RD is to “RD should completely define inputs, outputs and required relationships between inputs and outputs” and yet doesn’t appear to include cherished depository desires such as an explicit requirement for fully functional copies of electronic government information to be deposited to libraries to serve their communities as the library sees fit.

    Were customer groups outside the federal gov’t consulted on the RD? If so who and when? How will future requirements be determined and can they be put in before the system is operational, or will they simply be put on a wish list for some future release?

    “And besides all that, what we need is a decentralized, distributed system of depositing electronic files to local libraries willing to host them.” — Daniel Cornwall, tipping his hat to Cato the Elder for the origina

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