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LC Consultation with States regarding digital information

This past week I was in Baltimore for the second of three workshops provided by the Albany-based Center for Technology in Government and sponsored by the Library of Congress. This was in support of the Library of Congress Collaboration for Preservation of State Government Digital Information.

My feeling about the workshop is that it was better than I expected, but did not live up to its inital announcement. That announcement convinced a number of us state documents folks that the workshop was going to be mostly toolkit and that we would take it home and let LC know how it worked out.

Still, I found the workshop as structured to be helpful and encourage anyone going to the final workshop to keep an open mind.

The workshop turned out to be an information gathering exercise for the Library of Congress. The day consisted of reports and discussions among state representatives. During the last 15 minutes of the workshop we were given a binder containing “Building State Government Digital Preservation Partnerships: A Capability Assessment and Planning Toolkit,” along with a short overview briefing. The toolkit identifies 19 capabilities needed by successful digital preservation partnerships. The toolkit was developed by the Center for Technology in Government and reviewed by libraries and archives at the state level including the Illinois State Library and the New York State Archives.

The toolkit may be of some use in building a digital preservation plan, but does not offer enough technological advice to suggest a particular approach. The usefulness will come in identifying institutional strengths and weaknesses among State Libraries, Archives, and other possible state information partners. I would characterize the toolkit as a way to plan the planning process rather than a document that leads directly to a digital preservation plan. This characterization is based on skimming the toolkit all the way through and thoroughly reading the first half. If my feeling changes, I will let you know.

Information sharing among states was helpful. New York State Library has devised a system to receive documents from agencies and post the files to the documents program web server, solving some naming convention problems that have kept me from implementing a similar service. Kansas is using the Dspace technology to provide a digital repository of state publications called Kspace. Florida has created a statewide union catalog for digital objects.

The LC and CTG representatives said that information from this workshop and the other two “consulatations” would be compiled and possibly provided to all states in some form of followup message. I hope they follow through. I enjoy any opportunity to learn from other states.

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