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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.

2 upcoming events for docs librarians: CRL’s Leviathan & GODORT panel @ #GPODLC14

We just wanted to give everyone a heads-up about two upcoming events of import for documents librarians.

This thursday and friday (april 24-25, 2014) in Chicago is “Leviathan,” the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) Spring forum on government information. There will be much discussion and agenda-setting for CRL member libraries about how to continue to collect govt information in the age of big data. Our FGI colleague JIM Jacobs (James A. Jacobs :-)) will be speaking at the forum, helping members think laterally about collecting and preserving born-digital government information. I’m told the panels will be videotaped and made available after the event.

Even if you can’t make it to Chicago, I would highly recommend reading Jim Jacobs’ report prepared for Leviathan as it maps out the lay of the land and the issues at hand:

James A. Jacobs, Born-Digital U.S. Federal Government Information: Preservation and Access, March 2014. Prepared for Leviathan, the Center for Research Libraries Global Resources Collections Forum.

NEXT week (April 30 – May 2, 2014) is the 2014 Depository Library Council meeting and FDLP conference held at GPO’s big red building in Washington DC. You can get Conference updates by following the twitter hashtag #GPODLC14.

And if you ARE attending DLC, please be sure to join yours truly and others for the GODORT panel “Digitization and preservation of government documents” held during the DLC meeting. It’s sure to be a lively discussion!

GODORT Panel Discussion
Depository Library Council meeting in D.C. April 30, 2014 from noon until 1 pm
GPO, 710 North Capitol St. NW, Washington, D. C.

Moderator: GODORT Legislation Committee: Bernadine Abbott Hoduski, Chair


  • Library of Congress: Mark Sweeney, Director for Preservation
  • National Library of Medicine: Walter Cybulski, Preservation Librarian
  • Stanford University Library: James R. Jacobs, Federal Government Information Librarian
  • University of North Texas Libraries: Suzanne Sears, Assistant Dean for Public Services and Chair of GODORT

Here’s the blurb for Leviathan:

Research libraries have always played an important role in ensuring the survival and integrity of government information. In the print era research libraries acquired and preserved the publications and historical archives of U.S. and foreign governments. CRL, for one, preserves the records as diverse as the files of the notorious Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia and the archives of the French colonial government in Senegal.  

The digital revolution, however, radically changed the ways in which government information is produced and distributed, upending longstanding library models of preservation and scholarly access. Therefore new ways must be found to ensure that the information governments gather and provide to their constituents—and the records of the workings of governments—remain available to researchers for the long term. 

CRL’s 2014 Global Resources Collections Forum will bring together representatives of national archives, government agencies, publishers, historians, and members of the research library community, to explore what role  libraries, collectively and individually, can play today in ensuring the long-term integrity and accessibility of the electronic records, data and publications of domestic and foreign governments.

via Center for Research Libraries – Global Resources Collections Forum.

GPO to seek Trustworthy Digital Repository (TDR) Certification for FDsys

This is good news that GPO is going to go through the Trustworthy Digital Repositories (TDR) audit process for FDsys! The audit process looks at a repository to assure both its technical AND organizational infrastructure are in place for the long-term preservation of its digital objects and assets.

To my mind then, 2 of the most important pieces of the TDR audit process are “digital object management” — including especially ingest of content — AND “appropriate, formal succession plan, contingency plans, and/or escrow arrangements in place in case the repository ceases to operate or the governing or funding institution substantially changes its scope.” I hope that the process looks at GPO’s participation in the LOCKSS-USDOCS program as one of its key pieces in terms of “appropriate, formal succession plan, contingency plans, and/or escrow arrangements.”

For more details about the elements and measures see Trustworthy Repositories Audit & Certification: Criteria and Checklist.

In January 2013, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) will begin an audit process for GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) to become a certified Trustworthy Digital Repository (TDR).

GPO completed an internal audit of FDsys in 2011. It is very imp>rtant to ensure FDsys stakeholders, including Federal depository libraries and the general public, that GPO’s official system of record provides permanent public access to Government information ingested into it. TDR certification from an external party offers such assurances, and other benefits as well.

The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) is conducting the audit. They will use metrics and criteria published by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Research Libraries Group (RLG), and CRL, which are the basis for ISO Standard 16363 for Trusted Digital Repositories.

During the audit CRL will examine elements such as organizational infrastructure, governance, policy framework, funding, digital object management, ingest, access, preservation, metadata, and technologies, technical infrastructure, and security. For more details about the elements and measures see Trustworthy Repositories Audit & Certification: Criteria and Checklist.

Completion of the CRL audit is expected by September 2013. GPO is the first Federal agency to seek external certification as a Trustworthy Digital Repository.

Read more about the audit and certification process from fdlp.gov.

HathiTrust Certified as Trusted Repository by CRL

An important milestone for digital preservation of government information: CRL has completed its audit of HathiTrust, which contains digital copies of many printed government publications, and certified it as a “trusted repository.” The audit uses the Trustworthy Repositories Audit and Certification checklist (TRAC), which is based on the Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS).

(Full disclosure: I participated in the audit by providing technical support for the site visit and the assessment of HathiTrust repository systems and architecture.)