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Tuesday April 19th – Plenary Session

To contribute your own take on the Tuesday Plenary session, please either comment below or e-mail your notes to dnlcornwall@alaska.net. Please let us know whether FGI can use your name and institution.


The following notes were contributed by Sharon M. Partridge of the Jefferson County Public Library in Lakewood CO. Any hyperlinks were added by FGI staff.

All interpretations of documents and comments made are my own and do not reflect on my institution. These were typed on the day noted and subsequent days may have changed things. All mistakes are mine and feel free to post corrections.

Things I forgot from yesterday. The Essential Titles list is viewed as a dynamic document. It doesn’t mean that everything missing from the list will never be seen in paper again. It means that something that isn’t on the list now can be added in the future. GPO was also asked to negotiate with any agency that decides to quit producing one of the Essential Titles in paper. We asked that GPO tell the agency that the FDLP considers this title to be so important that we would like them to reconsider such a decision.

Public Printer Bruce James spoke about the future of the GPO. He was talking to the head of the National Library of Medicine, which has digitized almost everything in the library. The director was telling James that within the next few years, they expect to have a THOUSAND TIMES more information. Mr. James next told a story that I think has been seriously misconstrued. He talked about Jack Valenti from the movie industry talking about music piracy. When he asked Valenti why he was paying attention to this, he said it was because he had just gotten a 2 1/2 hour movie from overseas that had been downloaded via Internet2 within seconds. Valenti said that he believes Internet2 (100 times faster than the regular Internet) will be the standard in homes within 1 ½ -2 years. The point I think Mr. James was making with these stories is that the acceleration of technology is even faster than we’ve thought.

Mike Wash gave us a textbook presentation on how to design a technology project. The basic assumptions of the plan are that the new FDSys system will be rules based, policy neutral, modular and adaptable. He showed us the steps in the planning process, the testing and checks built into the process, the fact that they may be working certain steps in more than one phase at a time and they have over 1,100 requirements in the plans for the system. The work group has grown from a core of 10 to embrace 80 people bringing in expertise in the segments being worked. (This is the overall GPO computer and includes every aspect of GPO’s internal and external work; ILS is a part of this system.) Mike used the analogy that they are redoing the plumbing in GPO while they still have to use the old plumbing. Part of what makes this such a complex project is that they can’t build in real down time. Risk mitigation is also a major requirement. The final system is viewed as having three primary components: Submission, Processing, and Dissemination. Underlying and controlling all of the components is the Administration/Infrastructure Mode. They are almost finished with Phase 3. Phase 7 will be Sustainment with feedback. Mike spoke of the every accelerating “velocity of technology.” Question were answered that interoperability and open interfaces are required. The system could be complete by Oct. 2007. The plan requires $25 million more than GPO’s existing funds and the multiyear budget was of concern. James explained that he expects funding to come from 1) reductions in production costs without reducing the request from Congress, 2) Congress is devoted to the concept of an informed citizenry and we are good lobbyists for the GPO budget, and 3) the money from selling the GPO building and the savings in having a modern building with much lower operating costs. James said there are no guarantees but part of the legislation that will allow GPO to sell the building allows GPO to spend the money from the sale and savings from the new building. It is expected that Senator Lott will be the new chair of the JCP when it moves to the Senate. In the best of all possible worlds, GPO could be in the new building by the end of 2007. James introduced the new Council members (see the FDLP homepage) and thanked the outgoing members. When asked where the depository libraries would see the parts of the 1,100 requirements that pertain to the FDLP, Wash said that we would be part of working groups and focus group. The ILS and FDSys are integrated. When James was asked about POD, he said that he thought they needed more experience with the POD before they could revisit the ambitious allowance, system-wide allowance concept. Perhaps a pilot project would be more appropriate. When asked what he saw as the role of libraries in the new system, he said that is evolving but that GPO has already noticed a huge increase in the percentage of the FDLP budget that goes to education. He said that if NLM is expecting a 1000-fold increase in information that GPO would have much more. There will be an even greater need for intermediaries. (I felt he answered the question as if it were about librarians rather than libraries.) A question was raised about privacy only showing up in the security part of the FDSys plan but Wash said it has redundancies built in throughout the system. Someday the system will be able to push bib records and content. They currently have embedded links in the GPO files to allow harvesting by any public or private organization and this was designed to encourage web crawlers. Someday the system will also allow us to pull information we select. The FDLP will have major changes in the Regionals. There may be shared Regionals with some electing to specialize rather than holding everything. There may be fewer Regionals with different responsibilities. GPO has consulted with foreign government printing offices as well as the EU. Austria has already become electronic only (I’m not sure I heard this correctly.) James pointed out that the American concept of the FDLP with citizens watching government and expecting to be informed is unique.

The new FDSys is expected to interact with legacy systems and GPO doesn’t foresee any need for updates in the libraries’ or any other end user’s technology. The systems are so embedded that authentication and identification (cataloging) will be part of harvesting. The need for alternative languages (one of the reasons they looked at the EU) for the information is a political decision and James said it is on the back burner. James said there are some ideas that are pretty universal including the printing of official journals of the government as a governmental function, in our case the Congressional Record and the Federal Register. He also talked about documents that look like paper but are really electronic such as passports and the tickets that were printed for the inaugural.


The following notes on Mike Walsh’s presentation were contributed by Arlene Weible of the University of North Texas:

GPO’s Future Digital Content System – Mike Wash

New description of plan has more specificity

System will:

  • verify and track versions
  • assure authenticity
  • provide permanent public access
  • rules based
  • policy neutral
  • modular and adaptable

6 phases of design process

  • vision (completed)
  • concept of operations (completed)
  • preliminary requirements
  • implementation planning activity – detailed
  • design and implementation, beta testing
  • roll out

constantly review market needs, feed into each phase

requirements need to reflect customer needs, descriptive for development community

identified over 1,000 requirements so far

structured against functional areas

documentation of requirements being completed

Functional Reference Model

System Administration/Infrastructure (storage and workflow, security, privacy)

submission –> content processing –> dissemination

Phase 4

  • Detailed implementation plan
  • Design specifications
  • Concept selection
  • Updated project plan
  • Project cost
  • Design validation
  • Monitor risks

Currently funded by C&P budget and S&E. Mostly internal staff costs.


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