Home » Articles posted by rdavis

Author Archives: rdavis

Our mission

Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

FDLP Interactive Community Site

As we all know, the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) consists of libraries throughout the United States. While geographic separation is key to putting our Government’s information into the hands of the American people, Federal depository librarians have been at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to connecting to their colleagues.

All that is about to change! The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has developed an interactive community site that is available to Federal depository librarians.

Currently available in beta mode, I encourage the community to check out the site and provide feedback during the beta period. Located at http://community.fdlp.gov, the site offers the following features:

  • Create an online profile that includes an avatar, contact information, biography, the ability to self-identify expertise, and more. Profiles are not publicly accessible for security purposes.
  • Based on user profiles, members can search for other users. For example, you can search for all users from academic libraries in the state of Kansas who are members of ALA or all those that self-identify themselves as experts in Geography & Earth Science.
  • Create buddy lists.
  • Send private messages to users.
  • Blog about issues that are important to you and the community. Blogs can include images, links, videos, and more.
  • Comment on user blogs.
  • Create photo albums and upload images.
  • Add events to the community calendar.
  • Add links to Web resources on a variety of topics.

As part of the beta launch, users can peruse the site and provide overall feedback, but will be unable to create accounts and populate/test the interactive features listed above. Users that would like to participate in a more hands-on test can sign-up to become a beta test user. We are limiting the closed beta test to the first 30 members of the Federal depository library community that sign up. Accounts for beta testers will be created and sent on or about September 3rd. Testing will be open for two weeks.

To sign up to be a beta tester, complete this form on the FDLP Desktop. To sign up to be a beta tester and to find out more information, complete this form on the FDLP Desktop: http://www.fdlp.gov/latest/betatesters.html

More features are coming to the FDLP Desktop in the coming weeks. As part of my last blog post here at FGI, here is a taste of what is coming:

  • While blogs are great for expressing individual ideas and comments, it is not as conducive to discussion. Listservs, meanwhile, generate a lot of email in our already overwhelmed inboxes. Our next unveiling will be the FDLP Community Forum. Integrated into the FDLP Community site, thus creating a singular login, the forum will provide the community the ability to discuss a variety of issues/topics while also offering the ability to create sub-communities, search threads, bookmark threads/topics, share files, and much more!
  • Also in the works is a redesign of the FDLP Desktop. We have learned a great deal since our initial redesign and are preparing to unveil the next generation. You may notice from the list above of the features of the FDLP Community site mirror several of those on the current FDLP Desktop. The upcoming re-release of the FDLP Desktop will be for library coordinators only and will be focused on disseminating FDL Program-specific content only. Most interactive features are moving to the FDLP Community site.

Stay tuned. We have more up our sleeves as well.

Once again, thank you for the opportunity to be FGI’s guest blogger. I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will share my thoughts here from time to time in the future.

Catalog of U.S. Government Publications Enhancements Coming

Library Services and Content Management is continually working to improve the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications and the services it provides. One of the upcoming services that we are excited about is the creation of a login page for depository libraries that will enable them to take advantage of a range of authenticated services not otherwise available. These include:

  • Selective dissemination of information. This will give depositories the ability to direct the system to send emails when resources in a particular area of interest are cataloged. Depository libraries will be able to set up notifications by item number or by SuDocs stem, for example;
  • “Save records to local pc”. Currently the options are to email records to a defined email address up to twenty at a time, or to search, retrieve, and download up to one thousand records from the CGP per session.
  • RSS feeds;
  • Retained preferences that will persist across sessions;
  • Links to FDLP-related pages including the FDLP Desktop and the Federal Depository Library Directory.

We are anticipating a demonstration of the FDLP login page at the Fall Conference and a subsequent December release of this functionality.

Also on the agenda is an enhanced Federal Depository Library Directory. We would like to ask for input from users for improvements we could make to the FDLD to enhance the user experience. Please submit suggestions through AskGPO at http://gpo.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/gpo.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php. Use the category Federal Depository Libraries, subcategory Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, then CGP Enhancements/Suggestions.

Federal Document Authentication–What level is appropriate?

As I am sure you know, we at GPO have been talking with the library community for several years now about our authentication efforts. This year, we were able to move beyond the discussion phase and implement authentication technology into some of our top GPO Access applications. In early 2008, we integrated an Automated PDF Signing system into our GPO Access workflows, and we successfully released the digitally signed and certified FY 09 Budget of the United States and 110th Congress Public and Private Laws documents on GPO Access. Digitally signing these publications was just the stepping stone for implementing our authentication initiative. Upon approval from publishing agencies, all publications ingested into the Federal Digital System (FDsys) will be digitally signed and certified in the future.

In addition, we will implement authentication technology at the granular level. Granular content, as described in relation to the FDsys, is content that is broken into smaller content units such as chapters, parts, or sections. Our next challenge is to identify at what level of granularity content should be authenticated and digitally certified for each content format. I am very interested in feedback on your thoughts on the level of granularity GPO should authenticate content to share with the team developing FDsys. I am also interested in learning more about your opinions and expectations for the future in relation to GPO’s authentication initiative. For more background on our authentication initiative, please visit http://www.gpoaccess.gov/authentication/.

Identifying Value in Being a Federal Depository library

As one means of seeking input for the strategic plan on the FDLP’s future, I am sending a letter to each Depository Library Director this week asking them to identify the value depository designation creates at the local level for the library, its staff, and users. The letter also actively seeks success stories and anecdotes about the value of the depository to feature on the FDLP Desktop.

What are the various ways your library derives value from the FDLP? How do your users benefit by using depository resources? Do you have success stories to share or anecdotes? What are ways GPO can improve the value of the FDLP? How can GPO assist in improving the value of the depository to you, your library and community?

Subject: GPO and Library Services are Going Green!

GPO’s Library Services and Content Management (LSCM) unit is committed to carrying out our mission of “Keeping America Informed” by producing and distributing a vast array of Federal government information products and has been doing so for over 140 years. LSCM is making strides to, not only keep and strengthen this commitment, but to do so in an eco-friendly manner. LSCM has looked for ways to improve existing services and practices while doing its part to preserve the earth for generations to come.

Reducing paper usage has been one major area of focus within LSCM. As many GPO resources are making an electronic transition, GPO is doing its part to save on paper waste. Some of the important resources that have gone electronic are:

  • The Federal Depository Library Directory (FDLD): Through a new, dynamic online interface The FDLD provides important information on every depository library, such as mailing address, Web site, Director, Depository number and more. Additionally, depositories can edit their own library’s information online.
  • The Federal Depository Library Handbook: Now online as a living document, the Handbook contains legal requirements, program requirements, and guidance for depository operations. Each chapter also includes best practices, tips, and resources for library administrators.
  • At the recommendation of the Depository Library Council to the Public Printer, GPO requested of the Joint Committee on Printing that there be a waiver of the requirement of Title 44, Section 1711 to print the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications and the Congressional Serial Set Catalog. This was approved and GPO has instituted an online replacement using the OPAC module of our Aleph Integrated Library System. The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications with the searchable subsets of serial set, periodicals, and serials records online has proven to be a successful new online resource.
  • The List of Classes: Previously, this publication was published bi-monthly, and two copies were sent to each depository. In current practice, this publication is published twice per year and one copy is sent to each depository. Electronic files of data from the List of Classes are updated monthly and uploaded to GPO’s Federal Bulletin Board on the first Friday of each month.
  • Administrative Notes: Now available in electronic form only.
  • Item selection update cycle materials: Now online functions.

LSCM’s Depository Distribution business unit has undergone some eco-friendly changes as well. Process changes in invoice management have heavily minimized the number of photocopied pages that are produced in the packaging and preparing processes. Also, previous methods for preparing depository shipments formerly utilized upwards of 10 zone sheets per shipment. New processes utilize only one. In regard to box preparation, large boxes were formerly utilized, and filler was added if boxes were not at full capacity. Now, smaller boxes are being used, and fill has been eliminated.

LSCM’s use of the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for answering customer inquiries has significantly reduced paper waste. The CRM provides an electronic record of customer transactions, which previously was recorded via paper logs.

In each of LSCM’s intricate processes in producing and distributing Federal government publications, all materials which can be recycled are recycled. Cardboard, microfiche, printer cartridges, and paper are recycled throughout each process in LSCM. Furthermore, LSCM management has undertaken a mission to educate staff with small tips to reduce waste, such as optimally utilizing paper, electricity conservation, and water conservation.

As we work to help GREEN the GPO, tell us what you think. Any suggestions? How are all of you doing this at your libraries?