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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.

Digital Deposit, Good for All: Vision, Myths, Reality

As many of our readers know, Depository Library Council (DLC) recommended the creation of a working group to explore digital deposit and there was a session on digital deposit at the 2019 Spring Virtual Meeting of the DLC:

Digital deposit should be part of FDLP for the same reasons paper deposit has been for two hundred years: it guarantees preservation of the information and provides services to users of that information. Discusions of digital deposit, therefore, should focus on preservation and users and the technologies that can enable the best digital services.


We’ve come a long way on preservation. GPO has (more…)

Libraries could outlast the internet … IF …

This article is making the social media rounds so many of you have no doubt seen it — Libraries could outlast the internet, head of British Library says – Telegraph. While I completely agree with Mr Keating, the director of the British Library, he only defined libraries in terms of vagaries like “trust” and “traditional values” and “privacy.” All good terms to be sure, but what was left unsaid — and what I think is most important about libraries and which leads to trust, privacy and sanctuary — is that they’ll outlast the internet … ONLY IF libraries stick to the values that got them this far: collecting, describing, giving access to and preserving information in all its forms.

Stop worrying about whether libraries will survive the digital age, the head of the British Library has said, as he argues that they could outlast the internet.

Roly Keating, director of the British Library, said he was shocked at how many “smart people” still questioned whether libraries were still viable in the modern age.

Saying the institution had countless values worth defending, including trust, he argued that libraries could prove the most “powerful and resiliant network yet”.

“These values predated the internet,” he said. “And if we get it right may yet outlast it.”

via Libraries could outlast the internet, head of British Library says.

“Against the grain: Govt Information at SUL”: Stanford Library Advisory Council presentation

Yesterday, my colleague Kris Kasianovitz and I were lucky enough to be invited to give a presentation to my library’s advisory council about our work with govt information at Stanford libraries (Kris unfortunately had to be in LA for a family event, but we prepared together and made a fun little video of her “in the field” :-)).

Our agenda was straightforward: 1) Describe the universe of govt information in which Kris and I work (including local, state, federal, and international); 2) Talk about 3 trends in govt information and libraries over the last 10-15 years that are worrisome to us; and 3) Describe how Stanford is going against the grain, bucking the trends as it were in order to try and move the documents community forward to a better future!

Our advisory Council is made up of librarians, technologists, academics etc from around the world — like Lynne Brindley, who last year stepped down as the head of the British Library, Karin Wittenborg, from UVA, Bruno Racine from the French National Library, Elisabeth Niggemann from the German National Library, Chuck Henry from CLIR, David Rumsey, Abby Smith-Rumsey, Paul Saffo, Victor Guerra, director of IT from the Mexican Ministry for health, Roger Summitt, founder of Dialog and more. So to get a chance to let these folks know more about what’s happening with libraries and govt information was a rare honor and an important venue for getting govt information issues in front of the global movers and shakers in the library world and beyond.

NOTE: If you want to get to my notes rather than just looking at pretty pictures, click the gear to open the speaker notes.

Lunchtime listen: Barbara Fister keynote at Library Technology Conference 2014

Barbara Fister starts out her keynote — at a library technology conference no less — by saying “it’s not about technology…the work you do really is about understanding people and how they connect to one another and how they share ideas. The way we think about our purpose shapes what we do.” and she was off!

Fister touched on so many issues effecting libraries in the 21st century. The overarching themes of her talk were the universality of libraries — love the slide of the people’s library in Istanbul’s [[Taksim Gezi Park]] — the economics of information, Ranganathan’s 5 laws — which she helpfully updated! — open access publishing, core library values, and pushing back against the corporatization and commodification of information and libraries. Watch the whole way through because she drops knowledge bombs throughout!

“We’ve enabled this mass appropriation of our culture. collectively we need to find ways not just to negotiate better terms of service for ourselves but to provide an alternative to the market-driven philosophies that are distorting and corrupting our information ecosystem.”

Video streaming by Ustream

Barbara Fister has coordinated instruction at the Gustavus Adolphus College library in St. Peter, Minnesota, for over 25 years, but is still learning how to help students (and faculty) learn. She has studied students’ research processes, examined the relationship between writing and research, and teaches an upper division course on how information works.

She has written widely on open access to scholarship and is interested in the future of publishing of all kinds. Popular literacy practices and the ways reading communities form online is the subject of her upcoming sabbatical research. She also is a writer of fiction, having published three mysteries. She is on the board of the non-profit organization, Sisters in Crime, and coordinates a project to monitor gender patterns in reviews and awards within the crime genre.

You can follow Barbara’s generalist tendencies on Twitter (@bfister) and through Library Journal’s Peer to Peer Review or the Library Babel Fish blog at Inside Higher Ed.

via Keynote Speakers | Library Technology Conference 2014.

QOTD: Barbara Fister

Quote of the day: Barbara Fister:

In an age of austerity, survival is the name of the game, but it’s a rigged game and a distraction from what we’re here for. It’s how we ended up with a precarious faculty, a rented library, and indentured students. We need to focus further out, more broadly on what all of this is for, and see how to align what we have to do to survive for one more day with what we want the world to look like five years from now, or ten. Because working toward a healthy future – which may mean sacrificing immediate local need for a longer-term good – is the only way we’ll have one.

— Barbara Fister, Taking a Longer View, Inside Higher Ed Library Babel Fish blog, (January 30, 2014)