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Daniel’s Take: Deploying Expertise and Conclusion

The comments below reference the Deploying Expertise section of the September 2005 Depository Library Council publication The Federal Government Information Environment of the 21st Century: Towards a Vision Statement and Plan of Action for Federal Depository Libraries. Discussion Paper

Prior comments on this discussion paper:

The Deploying Expertise section of the DLC discussion paper has much to recommend it. It acknowledges that the web hasn’t made our expertise obsolete and offers a number of practical ways we can reach out of the “documents ghetto.”

I like the idea of a national chat reference service, though I would encourage GPO and the depository community to explore piggybacking onto FirstGov’s toll-free phone number to serve the 66 million largely older and rural Americans not using the Internet. I’d also like to encourage an IM based reference service for the over 50 million IM users in this country.

I especially like the idea of Federal Depository Libraries (FDLs) earning printing and training credits for serving nontraditional audiences. I’m not convinced GPO is well funded enough to make this happen, but it’s worth asking for.

I only have two mild criticisms of this section. I wonder if either agency roles or library school roles belong in a final vision document. GPO, the Depository Library Council and the library community can be held accountable to what we write, but I personally don’t see agencies or schools being bound by our commitments.

One other small problem with this section is the suggestion GPO:

Partner with various Internet organizations to create systems like a “Google/Uncle Sam Plus” portal to market a government information link and resources in a memorable way for the general citizenry. This portal can be another “entry point” for users to attain government information and be referred to specialists or experts.

No. Please, not another separate “one-stop government information portal!” Either build on the content in GPO Access or partner with FirstGov, which is fairly citizen-friendly. While I am a zealous believer in redundant content, I think multiple “all-in-one” portals from governments are confusing.

In terms of training, I’d like to suggest that GPO and FDLs consider using Online Programming for All Libraries (OPAL) that many libraries, including the Library of Congress, are using for virtual training rooms and lecture halls.

As I conclude my commentary on the DLC discussion paper, I would like to once again to thank the Depository Library Council for drafting this paper and putting on the table for comment. I believe they have succeeded in their threefold goal of:

1) define the current situation; 2) suggest new and reinvigorated roles for federal depository libraries; and 3) challenge others to do the same.

It goes without saying that the authors want more feedback and I hope many of you will give it to them — whether on the vision blog, govdoc-l, or at next month’s DLC meeting. But please do comment. The Council needs to hear from us — whether or not we agree with the points made in their paper!

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

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