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Spring 2006 DLC: Biennial Survey Update – hundreds of libraries still waiting

In the GPO Update offered at the Spring 2006 Depository Library Council meeting, an update of the biennial survey was offered that included new data on questions 65 & 66, better known as the “digital deposit” questions. As of March 13, 2006, 1,214 libraries have responded as follows [Number of libraries is my calculation] and was not reported by GPO:

65: My library systematically downloads, stores online publications identified from GPO Access or through GPO-created PURLS, and makes them accessible to the general public from local servers. This past year my library downloaded the following number of digital publication files (this does not include shipping lists, Web pages, or datasets):

Percentage of tabulated responses / number of libraries:
0 81.06%
1-25 10.91% / 132
26-100 3.05% / 37
101-500 3.53% / 42
501-1000 0.64% / 8
1001-5000 0.80% / 10
More than 5000 0.00%

66. My library is willing to receive Federal digital publication files on deposit from GPO, store them, and make the accessible to the general public from local servers. My library is willing to receive the following number of digital publication files per year (this does not include shipping lists, Web pages, or databases):

Percentage of tabulated responses / number of libraries:
0 72.52%
1-25 15.31% / 186
26-100 4.77% / 58
101-500 3.25% / 39
501-1000 1.93% / 23
1001-5000 1.12% / 14
More than 5000 1.12% / 14

Since GPO only reported percentages and since SuDoc Judy Russell did not bring up this topic in her prepared remarks, I assume that the take home message from GPO is something like, “libraries don’t want to maintain local digital collections, get over it.”

If you look at the raw numbers of libraries responding to this survey, a different picture emerges. I cannot deny that in the absence of any distribution mechanism from GPO, most depository libraries neither locally store and serve electronic documents nor plan to do so in the future. However, even in the absence of such a mechanism, 229 libraries are ALREADY locally storing and serving federal electronic documents. 334 libraries are willing to take at least some federal electronic documents without knowning what the distribution mechanism might be. In short, we have hundreds of libraries with existing local collections of federal digital documents and accompanying expertise and hundreds of libraries willing to rise to the challenge if only they had a distribution channel. This is a testbed that GPO shouldn’t dismiss so lightly. If they were more willing to work with these groups of libraries to demonstrate the feasibility of digital deposit, others would follow.

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


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