Have you wondered how many items get submitted to the Government Printing Office as fugitive documents through GPO’s Lost Docs form at http://www.fdlp.gov/lostdocs? We have.
Have you thought that a public “lost docs” list might be a good collection development tool? We have.
Have you wondered how long it takes GPO to act on fugitive documents reports? We have.
To answer these questions, Free Government Information (FGI) has established a new stand-alone blog called the Lost Docs Blog at http://lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/. You can also get to the blog by clicking on “Lostdocs” in the upper right-hand corner of the FGI home page.
We think that the Lost Docs blog, if well utilized, will provide several important services to the Government Information Community:
- It will provide an indication of the volume of fugitive documents discovered by the community.
- It will reduce duplicate reports of fugitive documents, optimizing the time of GPO catalogers.
- It will allow depository libraries and other interested parties the opportunity to acquire materials found to be out of scope of the FDLP.
- Since blogs are indexed by Google and other search engines, lostdocs blog posts will raise awareness of government documents in search results.
Participating in this blog is easy. All we need you to do is to send us your e-mail receipt from GPO to firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s it. If you’re new to reporting fugitive documents, you might want to check out our instructions at http://lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/2009/07/how-to-report-a-fugitivelost-document/.
We know there have been many respectable efforts at tackling the issue of fugitive documents. What we think makes this project different is the public listing of possible fugitive documents acknowledged by GPO’s reporting system. If enough lost docs reporters forward their receipts to email@example.com, then we’ll have a good handle on what the documents community is finding and reporting.
Because some will ask us why we didn’t ask GPO for copies of their receipts, we wanted to let you know we did. GPO is involved in a number of worthy projects at the moment and was not able to commit to providing us copies of their lostdocs e-mail receipts. We appreciated the time they gave to review our proposal.
Now it’s up to you. If you have some lostdocs receipts on hand, send them to us. And start forwarding receipts for items you report to GPO in the future. Together we can create a new collection development resource that will benefit librarians and documents users alike.
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