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Reflections on DLC Spring ’09 meeting

It’s hard to believe it’s been a week since the Spring ’09 Depository Library Council meeting in Tampa. The live-blogging didn’t work out as well as we’d hoped due to the wifi snafu (note to Hyatt Regency: WTF, there’s FREE wifi at Motel 6’s and their ilk, B&Bs etc, why would you charge a conference $150/day/person for wifi?! And why would you NOT have a T-Mobile Hotspot available for those who paid for wifi in their rooms?! ). On the plus side, I want to thank Shari Laster for uploading her notes to the live-blog interface and the several others (Altair77, reblakeley, danwho, rhonabwy, fakegodort, amyewest, vdglenn) who tweeted along with the conference. I put my notes up online for those who are interested. All notes and tweets have made their way into the live-blog interface.

This has been the first DLC in quite some time where the news and energy (at least for me!) has been more good than bad! Depository Library Council seemed more energetic (no offense intended to past Councils!) and had some very positive recommendations for GPO (see draft recommendations below). I’m most excited about the following:

  1. recommendation to request funding for grants to states for collaborative digitization projects
  2. recommendation to coordinate collaborative digitization projects

I’m not so jazzed on the recommendation to hire an outside consultant (especially a marketing consultant!), but am willing to follow along on that one and see where it leads.

I had lots of fruitful discussions with people. At one point in the Council session, someone on council asked the audience how many libraries were willing to work with GPO on digital deposit and local, distributed preservation and at least 15 hands went up right away!

People are really interested in increased access and cataloging. there’s interest from quite a few depositories to reduce (some want to greatly reduce) their paper collections and only have digital. Toward that end, Chris Brown from UDenver had a great presentation on his nifty item selection tool (way to go Chris!). But there was also equally positive energy in the crowd that paper collections should not be discounted.

The thing that really warmed my heart was that the idea of digital deposit is *finally* gaining real traction. There’s interest in actual digital deposit of those digital docs rather than simply having links to GPO in bibliographic records. AND, GPO officials seem genuinely interested in working on digital deposit as part of a distributed preservation plan (OMG!!! can’t hardly believe that!). I’d love to hear peoples’ thoughts on how digital deposit should work.

On the not-so-good side, the first session on Monday was reserved for statements from University Librarians (ULs) housing FDLP collections. From their statements, I got the feeling that documents librarians need to do a LOT more talking to our ULs. To a person, the UL perspective was that paper collections need to be digitized NOW because documents collections take up space too valuable for documents ghettos, space that they’d like to use for other (sexier?) things. I was disappointed that many of the ULs didn’t stay for the other 2 days of conference because they would have seen that in fact the depository community is doing many positive things to make documents collections more useful and findable, docs librarians are working hard to reduce or save time spent on depository processes and that there are some really exciting collaborative initiatives starting to bubble up and move forward.

I’d love to hear others’ reflections on DLC Spring ’09. Please post in the comments sections.

DLC spring ’09 Tampa NOTES WEDNESDAY

Council recommendations:

These are draft since council has not finished.

1) to meet the goals of providing no fee, permanent public access, Council recommends that GPO hire an outside consultant to deliver a range of models on how libraries can better provide govt information to the public in the 21st century for consideration by council. This consultant report will reconsider the operations of the FDLP in the context of the electronic age and possible future teechnologies. This reconsideration will address how best to maintain and utilize tangible legacy collections and US govt digital assets to best meet the information needs of the American public.

Rationale: based on feedback from the community, council feels it is crucial to have a neutral outside party develop possible new scenarios for the 21st century FDLP.

(Bernadine Abbott Hoduski suggests that GPO request JCP to get GAO to look into this rather than an outside consultant.)

2) Council further recommends that GPO request funding for grants to states (“states” to be wordsmithed) for collaborative digitization projects.

Rationale: as information users rely more and more heavily on electronic resources, it is crucial that the legacy got documents collection be digitized.

3) council further recommends that GPO create a list of libraries willing to participate in collaborative digitization projects and take the lead in coordinating these projects.

Rationale: GPO needs to take a more active role in coordination of the digitization of legacy collection. Council further feels that commercial sector digitization projects with access restrictions do not diminish GPO and FDLP responsibility to provide no fee, permanent public access to digital versions of govt publications.

4) Council further recommends that GPO report at fall 2009 meeting on efforts to simplify the discard process.

Rationale: depository discard process is extremely time consuming and burdensome for both selectives and regionals. As pressures grow both in large and small selectives to reduce collection size, the process needs to be speedier and less staff intensive.

There will be other recommendations (currently drafting) regarding item selection, quality control, dark archives, and weeding material.

Council adjourned.

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