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Majority of Depositories want digital deposit according to GPO survey

Update 10/25/2005 – GPO has posted their definitions of “push” and “pull” at the FDSys Blog.

Results from a GPO survey of depository libraries show a majority of those responding expressed a high interest in digital deposit. Hundreds of depository libraries said that they were interested in delivery of digital information to depositories.

question interest: very high/high (number) interest: very high/high (percent)
Ability to “pull” content from GPO 299 85%
Automatic “push” of content from GPO 228 65%

From the GPO Future Digital System (FDsys) Library Survey Results web page:

In August 2005, GPO submitted a survey to all Federal Depository Libraries to obtain valuable input from our library partners regarding proposed features and functions of GPO’s Future Digital System (FDsys). More than 400 of the approximately 1,250 depository libraries responded to GPO’s request for feedback.

Partial results from the survey are contained in this one page pdf file: Library VOC Responses Sorted on Library Interest, High Interest (Top 2 Boxes).

A copy of the survey is available here: Library Voice of User Survey.

Those who filled out the form were asked to rate their “level of interest” on a 7 point scale (1=Very high 2=High 3=Neutral 4=Low 5=Very low 6= Don’t Know 7= Not Applicable).

Two questions in the lengthy list of “GPO services” dealt with digital deposit.

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


  1. Hi Jim,

    I mostly agree with your interpretation of the survey, but I’ve heard from a few people who beg to disagree. They say that while they personally support the concept of digital deposit, their institution will not accept files from GPO. My first thought was that I couldn’t picture people indicating high interest in digital deposit if their institutions were not going to accept it. But now that I’ve had a few days to think it over, I see how that could happen.

    [If any of our readers did express high interest in push or pulled content, but don’t expect his or her institution to actually store pushed or pulled content, would you explain why in a comment? Thanks!]

    But we shouldn’t then draw the conclusion that there aren’t libraries willing to take digital documents. After all, some librarians, myself included, indicated high interest because we will accept digital deposit, especially if it is an expansion of the GPO LOCKSS pilot, as that has been painless for us so far. But perhaps GPO and FGI should be asking the question more directly: “If FDLP provided deposit of electronic documents, would your institution accept them?” As our surveys are informal, a GPO or possibly REGIL/GODORT study would be better. But the question should be asked.

    If GPO were to make digital deposit an option, libraries could make a choice. Right now there isn’t a realistic choice. We and I’ll say “many librarians” until I’m proven wrong with survey data, want that choice.

    “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. Daniel,

    You are right, the survey only asked about “interest” so we don’t
    know what respondents meant when they expressed interest.

    But that’s ok! Because…

    1. At this stage, it is hard for libraries to judge what digital deposit would mean for them. (push or pull? required or optional? special software needed? etc. etc.). “Interest,” though, means at the very least that folks want to know more.

    2. “Interest” may mean no more than “GPO should offer deposit.” And that’s good too! I forsee innovative collaborations between libraries and innovative ways of dealing with digital information.

    I don’t think we have to worry about what “interest” means at this stage — we need for GPO to say it will.

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