UPDATED 9/27. GPO staff kindly sent me the link to the original GPO RFQ, which I added below. JRJ
Many of our readers will have already seen this announcement yesterday that Ithaka S+R (the “strategy and research” arm of the Ithaka group which also includes JSTOR academic journal database and Portico digital archive service) has been contracted by the Government Printing Office (GPO) for a project to “develop sustainable models for the FDLP in the 21st century” (see FedBizOpps award notice and GPO Request for Quotation (RFQ) here). Those interested may track the project on their Web site fdlpmodeling.net. While we have had spirited discussions with Ithaka regarding the future of the FDLP in the past, we look forward to tracking this project, participating in the discussions, and analyzing the outcomes.
Because so many of us WILL participate in this project, I’d like to take this opportunity to point out a recent article by Barbara Fister in her Library Babel Fish column entitled “Assessing the (Enduring) Value of Libraries” (Inside Higher Ed, September 17, 2010). In the article, Fister points out that “library values – such as the preservation of knowledge and the protection of intellectual freedom – are bigger than any one library or any single community’s local needs.”
“If we focus so exclusively on how we contribute to the bottom line of a single institution, we may lose sight of the fact that libraries are cultural institutions that have something to contribute to society beyond our campuses and beyond this fiscal year. Somehow “return on investment” sounds like the kind of managerial thinking that shortchanges the future. And that worries me.”
I hope that Ithaka and my government documents and library colleagues will have Fister’s words in the front of their minds as they discuss and plan for the future of the FDLP. And I hope Ithaka will share their draft survey instrument, list of participants, and draft report(s) as they work through this FDLP modeling project.
On behalf of the Government Printing Office, Ithaka S+R is launching a project that will develop sustainable models for the Federal Depository Library Program in the 21st century. The Program plays a critical role in making federal government information available to the American public, preserving it, and providing services to help the public and specialized user communities to make effective use of government information. We’re currently reaching out to libraries of all types – public, government, academic, and law libraries, and both participants and non-participants in the Program – to alert you of the launch of this project. We hope that the FreeGovInfo community will choose to engage with us regularly during the project’s six-month duration, to ensure that your experience and perspective is incorporated to the greatest extent possible.
Engaging the community – including non-participating libraries that may rely on depository libraries in providing government information services to their constituents as well as members of the Program – is a priority for this project. We will rely on the input of the library community in our efforts to model a FDLP that meets the needs of depository libraries as well as of the broader library community and those they serve. Towards this end, we’ve just launched a website – fdlpmodeling.net – to serve as a venue for community engagement, providing updates on the status of the project, offering a variety of mechanisms for community input, and sharing drafts and interim deliverables for comment. We’d encourage you to visit the site, learn about the project, and share your thoughts with us at this early stage. While you’re there, please subscribe to our RSS feed or sign up for email updates so you can be alerted of new posts. And of course, please share this information with any colleagues or others who might be interested.
We hope to hear from you over the course of this project, either via fdlpmodeling.net or directly by email.
Roger Schonfeld & Ross Housewright
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