While the heart attack, coma and subsequent death of my mother sent me to Los Angeles instead to the Spring DLC meeting in Seattle, I was fortunate to meet with a librarian who did attend the Depository Library Council meeting. In addition to talking with this librarian, I got to review the librarian’s notes and make copies of handouts, most of which can be found inside the 72 page council handout, which I want to commend GPO for posting in a timely fashion.
Over the next week or so, I’m going to write about what I heard and read. Bear in mind this is second hand, except for the handouts. If you have any first hand notes, please send them to admin AT freegovinfo or comment on these entries.
Today I want to express my disappointment over the handout and presumably session on “Transition to a Mostly Electronic FDLP collection.” This handout is on pages 47-52 of the council handout. I’m disappointed because the Council Briefing Topic makes it clear that GPO STILL believes that one can be a depository without deposits. The entire four page document only talks in terms of linking to library-external gov’t resources. Doing so is a good idea and provides a public service, but it is not being a depository in the sense of having physical custody (though not ownership) of publications. Linking to external resources does not protect the end user from information disappearing or being quietly reclassified. It doesn’t help them when the ‘net goes down. A library that only links to external resources cannot operate independently if something bad (terror attack, killer hurricane, etc) happens to the servers providing the information.
You can have decent government information service certers without deposit, but you can’t have the century and a half worth of depository protection without deposit. If our society doesn’t want dispersed information storage anymore, we shouldn’t confuse people by implying that we have that by calling non-collections “depositories.”
UPDATE 4/22/2006 – GPO has posted what looks to be complete proceedings. This is a better link for the Electronic Depository document discussed above. There is also a “tips” document on how to “build” an “electronic collection” that makes no mention of building local digital collections. It’s just advice on getting rid of locally owned copies in favor of links to external resources.
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